Da Lat: How to eat like a local

By Tu Anh   November 30, 2019 | 11:09 pm GMT+7

Da Lat, or ‘Le petit Paris’, which gets nearly a million visitors a year, is also a town where 400,000 locals live and work. Here are some tips on where the locals go to eat.

Banh mi xiu mai

Ideally eaten for breakfast or brunch, banh mi xiu mai, pork meatballs in hot gravy sauce with crispy bread, is a distinctive dish in Dat Lat, a resort town in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.  

Pork meatball and pork skin in banh mi xiu mai.

Pork meatball and pork skin in banh mi xiu mai.

Though there are many places that offer this dish, Vi Nguyen, born and raised in Da Lat, refers to a small food stand on Hoang Dieu Street. "Banh mi xiu mai here is served within seconds by a lovely local lady, the sauce is very greasy and savory. She also sells Vietnamese bread (banh mi) that many locals come by to pick up before work every day. The food stall only opens until noon."

You can find the small food stand, Banh mi 79, on the sidewalk every morning from 6.30 a.m. A banh mi xiu mai costs VND15,000 ($0.7).

Fish hot pot

As you walk down Nguyen Chi Thanh Street from Da Lat market, there’s a restaurant called Com Hung Nhat Ly on the right. When asked for a recommendation, the restaurant owner said fish soup made from freshly cut fish cooked with Vietnamese vegetables in a large pot with a little fermented wine.

Sturgeon fish slides in a hot pot.

Sturgeon fish in a hot pot.

To eat with the fish soup is com nieu or Vietnamese white rice cooked in a clay pot.

Aside from this special serving, you can order other Vietnamese dishes ranging from VND50,000 to VND350,000 ($2-15). The restaurant opens all day.

Eating with the fish soup, theres com nieu, Vietnamese white rice cooked in a clay pot.

Eating with the fish soup, there's com nieu, Vietnamese white rice cooked in a clay pot.

Beef hot pot

Lau bo Hanh (Hanh beef hotpot) on 95 Bui Thi Xuan Street is famous among locals. Beef bones are boiled for hours with vegetables for the broth while the meat is carefully chosen to have both fat and lean parts.

Beef sliced in hot pot.

Beef slices in hot pot.

They also serve beef tendon salad to eat with sesame rice pie and chili sauce. Dishes here cost VND180,000 - 350,000 ($8-15). Lau bo Hanh opens from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. 

Grilled chicken

Next to Violet Cafe at 14 Tran Hung Dao Street is a small grill stand that opens from 3 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. However, its signature roasted chili chicken sells out very soon. 

A whole chicken marinated in hours, roasted on organic embers.

A whole chicken marinated in hours, roasted on organic embers.

A whole chicken is marinated for hours and roasted on organic embers. Small free-range chickens are roasted for nearly 90 minutes. Once they are taken off the grill, the owner will cut them for you to take away. A whole rotisserie chicken costs VND180,000 ($8).

Fish porridge

Dinh An Lake in Hiep An commune, Duc Trong District, 13 kilometers from Da Lat, is a regular weekend haunt for locals. Locals visit here to fish, relax and eat delicious snakehead fish.

Snakehead fish Porridge boiling in Van Son Thuy restaurant next to Dinh An Lake.

Snakehead fish porridge at Van Son Thuy restaurant next to Dinh An Lake.

Fish porridge is one of the must-eat dishes for tourists on a cold winter’s day or a rainy day in Da Lat. Fish dishes at Van Son Thuy next to the lake cost VND120-350 ($5-15).

Da Lat is also famous for banh trang nuong (Vietnamese pizza), rice noodles with chicken, banh can (mini pancakes), avocado ice cream, Ba Toa beef hot pot and more.

 
 
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