Food & Recipes - March 23, 2018 | 05:43 pm PT

Red noodles to chili bread: Take a food tour through Vietnam’s Central Highlands for $3

The diverse tastes of Buon Ma Thuot can be found from street baskets to fancy restaurants.

Red noodles

The red noodle soup is a common dish in Buon Ma Thuot, five hours from the more famous Da Lat, and can be found anywhere from the sidewalk to fancy restaurants.

Thick vermicelli is served in a broth with local cashew nuts. The late afternoon snack costs VND20,000 ($0.88), and is available at many shops on Phan Dinh Giot, Le Hong Phong and Phan Boi Chau.

Roasted quail

Sautéed quail are roasted on charcoal ovens and served from smoking hot pushcarts on the street for VND15,000.

Chili bread

Toasted on a fire with butter and chili, the loaves are pressed flat and found at the corner of No Trang Long and Y Rut for VND15,000 apiece.

Baked sponge cake

There are different versions of the chewy Vietnamese sponge cake banh bo, which is made from rice flour and has a honeycomb appearance.

This baked version is favored for a lazy afternoon snack. It is also less sweet, and many have a weird love for the bitterness of the slightly burnt edge.

The cakes can be found at several shops in the central market for VND5,000 apiece.

Orange cake

What looks like a small orange is a fried cake made from sticky rice powder and filled with mashed mung beans. It is coated with a mixture of melted sugar and sesame seeds.

The cakes are sold along the streets or at the central market for VND3,000 apiece.

Fried sticky balls

Sticky rice balls stuffed with minced pork, mushrooms and seasoning, and deep-fried until golden. The balls are rather fatty, and two are possibly enough for an afternoon snack.

Each ball costs VND5,000.

Di Vy