We’ve gone on and one about the produce here in Da Lat and it’s time to put our money where our taste buds are. We’d like to introduce you to our Da Lat eats!
Our stay so far has been epic and one of the things that makes it epic is the food! We were lucky enough to have a decent amount of time in this spectacular city to enjoy an array of different eats. We felt it only fair to share them with you.
We’ve got corn, we repeat, we got corn
We’re normally a tad hesitant to take on roadside food without someone that knows what they are doing. But every now and then though, we luck out! Our first roadside experience in Da Lat turned out to one of those times and it was deliciouuuuus!
We walked past this little old lady frying something up on the side of a busy main road. We couldn’t tell what it was but it smelt amazing! It was sweet, but not sickly, fried but not greasy and had us super curious.
At first, we walked right on by but then decided to suck it up and scurried back to find out what it was.
We’re not sure what they’re called but we’ve named them Vietnamese corn fritters. Delectable little deep fried balls of whole corn kernels, coriander, chili and some other elements we weren’t sure of all in a delicate batter. They were soooo goood!
We added two more pieces to the corn fritters but these were slightly wide and flat and covered in the same batter as the fritters. What we had now were slices of sweet potato (kumara), covered in batter and deep fried. Ugh my mouth waters just thinking of it.
Combined, the whole lot only cost us VND 35,000 (~USD 1.00 / ~AUD 2.00).
They were so good, that they disappeared before we could take a picture. Sorry guys! We’ll see if can remedy that on a next visit. Wink-wink.
If it looks like a toastie, it must be a toastie
A few days later we were on our way back to our hotel after a long day on our feet. We stopped in at our new favorite, Lien Hoa Bakery, only to find almost everything sold out.
We pretty hungry by then and still new Da Lat, in an area we hadn’t been in before. There were small restaurants everywhere but we couldn’t tell what they were and didn’t want to risk it.
That’s when we saw the toasted sandwiches! Leon was happy to be guinea pig and ordered one. I was still dubious at this stage as the bread was a weird soft yellow color with brown stuff oozing from the middle.
I should’ve known then I was going to miss out! Leon offered me the last bite and after concluding it seemed safe to eat, I tried it.
Pineapple Lump Toastie!! (Sorry but that will only mean something to the Kiwis and Aussies right now.) But you guys read it right!
A light, sweet batter made with real pineapple and a gooey warm chocolate center, toasted to perfection. It was heaven!! Not to mention only VND 5,000 (~USD 0.20 / ~AUD 0.30)
We contemplated going back for more, but we had a dinner date with our friend Hà and had to get back.
If you’ve read our Delightful Da Lat blog, then the name Ha will sound familiar. Our new friend was kind enough to introduce us to some of his and his brother Duong’s favorite Da Lat eats.
Nem Nuong at Ba Hung (Phan Dinh Phung Street)
Ha decided to introduce us to a Da Lat specialty called nem nuong. Delicious morsels made of seasoned pork, molded on lemongrass stalks and grilled to smokey perfection over an open flame.
Served with rice paper, fresh greens, pickled and veggies and finished off with peanut sauce and deep fried rice paper.
The fun part was making the rice paper rolls with all the ingredients in it. If you want to see how this went down, head on over to our vlog on the experience.
The ingredients don’t look like much, but don’t be fooled, it’s filling and food coma inducingly good! Plus it only cost VND 100,000 (~USD 4.00 / ~AUD 6.00) to feed three of us. Score!
Vietnamese pizza at Banh Trang Nuong Co Hoa (Thong Thien Hoc)
Erm, deep fried what now?
Ok, we’ll be honest and say there was no mention (that we can recall) of lung being on the menu. We were there for a Da Lat pizza! How they were different to other Vietnamese pizzas we weren’t sure, but about to find out.
Hà took us to Bánh tráng nướng Cô Hoa on Thông Thiên Học and introduced us to his favorite pizza. It was just before we ordered the pizza that Hà mentioned the place was famous for their pig’s lung.
We had a previous incident with chicken liver that scarred us for life. The idea of eating pig’s lung didn’t sit well, but we decided to be brave and give it a go.
We got the pizzas first and it was the usual rice paper base with toppings. What made this one so tasty was the selection of toppings. Everything from sausage, peanuts and herbs to green mango adorned the base and it was delicious!! We tried both the flat and rolled up pizza and they were both yummy but not exactly filling.
Hà assured us the main meal would follow. And with that the deep fried pig’s lung arrived.
The little pieces of black something presented on a bed of shredded rice paper with fresh herbs, seemed harmless enough. It looked like pieces of fried mushroom really, except we knew what it actually was.
Hesitantly we both tried it and were pleasantly surprised. I’m not sure what Leon was expecting but I thought it was going to be bitter, hard and/or chewy. It was anything but.
The outside was crispy and the inside still soft and chewy. It was very well prepared and we enjoyed every piece of it. Will I have it again, probably not, but I’m sure Leon won’t be shy about it.V
Skillet food at ChaCha Xot (Duong Bui Thi Xuan)
It was time for the main course. Hà took us to a spot just around the corner from our hotel called Chacha Xot. It’s one of his favorites and we can see why!
Their menu offers a large selection of rice or noodles with meat and/or seafood and veggies, or just veggie options. There is something for everyone!
The fun part is, you chose what you want and they deliver the ingredients on a hot plate ready for you to finish how you like. Almost like your own personal hot plate. But you don’t have to cook everything from scratch as it arrives partially cooked. All you have to do is toss the ingredients like a pro, finish it off with the sauce and get ready for a delicious food coma!
We went back a second time to try two other dishes. Again, we walked out with stuffed bellies and big grins.
At VND 145,000 (~USD 6.00 / ~AUD 9.00) for both of us, it’s what we would consider a good mid-range option.
The service was great, the staff spoke some English but it wasn’t hard to interact with them. The restaurant itself had great ambiance with a fresh vibe, which made the whole experience great.
We look forward to another visit the next time we’re in Da Lat.
Chao Dem (Phan Dinh Phung Street)
Now this was a real treat! On our last night, Hà decided to introduce us to another one of his favorites but this time it wasn’t in a restaurant.
We got to experience an authentic street side specialty called chao dau xanh (green bean soup).
Settled into the customary small plastic table and chairs set up, Hà went straight to work on ordering our dishes. We had no idea what we were in for!
Before long an efficient young man plonked three large bowls in front of us. Each bowl filled with steaming light green goop and it looked mouthwatering.
Another five dishes arrived with some interesting looking condiments. Hà explained that the soup itself, made of rice and green beans, doesn’t have much flavor but that is where the condiments come into it.
These included two selections of cooked veggies, two selections of pickled veggies, anchovies, deep fried tofu, boiled eggs and chili sauce.
The shell on the egg looked very soft and the yolk wasn’t a normal yellow. They intrigued me because they didn’t look like normal boiled eggs and I was right!
Turns out the eggs are left in heavily salted water for five days and then boiled. They were the saltiest eggs we’ve ever tasted but when combined with the green bean soup, tasted delicious.
We sampled all the vegetable on offer with the soup and on a cold, wet night, it was the perfect comfort food option.
If you ever see a sign that says chao dau xanh, don’t hesitate to give it a go!
We just want to say a massive thank you to Ha for taking the time to show us so many of his favorite foods. We had an absolute blast trying out so many different and new dishes! And Duong, sorry we couldn’t spend more time with you, but we thoroughly enjoyed your recommendations too, especially La Viet Coffee!!
Lien Hoa Bakery
Another one of our tricks for eating on the cheap is to look for bakeries. Here in Vietnam there is no shortage of them. Another great French influence that the Vietnamese have mastered.
In Da Lat though, there is one bakery that stands out by a country mile and we know why. Their banh mi rocks!! Welcome to Lien Hoa Bakery, a Da Lat eats institute!
Da Lat is unique in that it offers a different kind of banh mi to any other we’ve encountered so far. What makes the Da Lat version special is that it’s served with pork meatballs cooked to delicate perfection in a light and tasty broth. Add in freshly made pate, herbs and pickled veggies and you have a stunner!
Doesn’t sound like much but the simple things in cooking are usually the best. I devoured seven of these things during our stay by myself and at
VND 15,000 (~USD 0.65 / ~AUD 1.00) a piece, it was both filling and bang for our buck.
One thing to watch out for with Lien Hoa is that you never walk out of there with just banh mi lol. It’s a bakery and it’s a big one to boot too. We can vouch for their banh bao, sweet treats, cakes and coffee lol.
Opening of a brand new Jolibees
If you’ve seen our vlogs, you will know we were big Jollibee fans! When we planned our visit to Da Lat we did look for it, but it seemed Jollibee hadn’t reached Da Lat yet.Only, on day two of walking around, we spotted some Jollibee signs with an upcoming date and we got super excited. That excitement was quickly squashed when we couldn’t find any info on the posters though.Three days before we due to leave, we found out that Jollibee WAS opening a new store in Da Lat. The best part was it was happening the very next day.
We had to do a fair bit of digging on the location as nobody, not even Ha knew where the store was. He gave us a general direction to head in and with that we set of the next morning.
Ha was right! We found a brand new Jollibee and it was having a great big opening party and we were there to celebrate with them.
Cheap Da Lat Eats
We were travelling on a budget and while we weren’t skint, we liked the challenge of making our dong stretch as far as it could. Along with bakeries, we looked for big versions of Super C, Lottemart or Vinmart supermarkets. Why you ask?
Simple, most, but especially the bigger supermarkets, will have a dedicated counter for ready made meals. Here we found chicken and rice with soup for VND 17,000 (~USD 0.75 / ~AUD 1.00) or beef and veggie noodle stir fry for VND 25,000 (~USD 1.00 / ~AUD 2.00). These are the options we tried, but there were many more to choose from.
Their bakery section is another good spot for cheap eats.
So, if you are traveling on a super tight budget, look for these guys as their ready made meals offer value for money.
Da Lat eats we missed out on
Unfortunately, we missed out on the night food market due to bad weather. Everything we read and heard about told us it was worth going to so it’s still on the list of things to do.
If you have been and have a dish or treat you think we should try let us know in the comments.
If this is your first visit to our site, then welcome! Head on over to our Things to do in Vietnam Page where we tell you about more things you should add to your Vietnam itinerary.
Thanks for reading guys and we’ll see you in the next post…