Hands down, food in Vietnam is very delicious! Way better compared to California. A couple of my friends had just visited Vietnam (HCMC specifically) before I did and recommended a bunch of restaurants. As much as I love a good and fancy meal, I would trade it all for some traditional Vietnamese dishes that makes you feel at home.
The best food I had in HCMC was at Cho Thai Binh Market, located by the "Backpackers' street" (Pham Ngu Lao Street). Just outside is a wet market where all the food vendors are situated. Getting here is very easy - by taxi. However, make sure to arrive as early (7am) as possible because they sell out fast.
I was in gluten heaven when I found a lady making banh xeo and banh khot. I was amazed with the huge wok she used to cook it. It is freshly made and veggies is served with it. The nuoc mam (fish sauce) is as delicious as the banh xeo and banh khot.
A couple vendors down, another lady served Banh Cuon and Banh Tam Bi. Banh Cuon is topped with shrimp, chả lụa, fried onions, veggies and nuoc mam drizzled all over. The serving is small, leaving you wanting to try other dishes.
Lastly, Banh Tam Bi. This was a first for me. It's a thick rice and tapioca noodles tossed in veggies and coconut cream.
I was stuffed after that big breakfast, but it was totally worth it considering each dish was 20,000VND - 40,000VND ($1 - $2).
Chợ Thái Bình Market
Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam