Photo Credit: René DeAnda at Unsplash
One of the highlights of visiting Đà Nẵng and Hội An is food-tourism: embark on a DIY food-tour to sample all the amazing spicy foods that has made Đà Nẵng beloved by Vietnamese people from all over the country.
Being a coastal city, you’ll have plenty of seafood options, especially along the touristy restaurants strips. But, real Đà Nẵng cuisine is much more than all-you-can-eat fish.
When you visit Đà Nẵng, be sure to add these tasty local meals to your list of “things to do in Đà Nẵng & Hội An”.
RELATED: Our recommended 7-Day Travel Itinerary in Đà Nẵng: Best Things To Do
1) Mỳ Quảng – Flat Turmeric Noodles
This is the first meal that I get when I land in Đà Nẵng. Mỳ Quảng consists of flat yellow noodle served in a delicious, carefully-cultivated broth. In the soup comes several protein items (chicken, pork, shrimp, fish, quail egg, and/or tofu), and fresh vegetables (cilantro, basil, green-onion, spiralized raddish) and topped with ground-peanuts and delicious rice crackers. A light drizzle of lime is the coup de grâce to send you culinary heaven. There are vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions.
Its name refers to its geographic origins: Quảng Nam province, which is just south of the city and include famous towns like Hội An.
2) Cao Lầu – A Vietnamese “High Floor” Delicacy
The Da Nang-signature noodle dish called “Cao Lầu” is legendary: according to local lore, it can only be made in the Hội An area, due to a special ancient well that is rich in lye and herb-flavours from a special local watersheed.
Is that true? In any case, Cao Lầu is delicious and distinct from most Vietnamese dishes, being slightly more reminiscent of Japanese cuisine. It is a mixture of noodle, barbecued pork, herbs and vegetables, topped with deep-fried rice crackers.
In the past, this dish was considered a kind of opulent delicacy for VIP-diners seated at the top-most, high-class floors of restaurants. Hence, the origins of its name “cao lương mỹ vị” which literally translates to “delicacies eaten upstairs.”
3) Bánh Ướt Cuốn Thịt Nướng – Vietnamese Grilled Pork Rolls
Bánh Ướt Cuốn Thịt Nướng is a fun and tasty hands-on meal. It is somewhat reminiscient of a taco, in which you get to build your own roll with amazing grilled ingrediants: you are served grilled pork and veggies, and you wrap these in two layers of rice paper. One layer is soft and the other is dry and crispy.
The dipping sauce is a special peanut sauce made from pork liver pate and sesame. The taste is rounded-out and amplified with a wild mixture of lettuce, mint, cilantro, basil, cucumber, mango, young banana, and more.
Do not miss this indigenous Vietnamese analogue of the taco!
4) Cơm Gà – Turmeric Rice and Chicken
A type of chicken rice that is famous in Hội An and surrounding areas. The rice is yellow because it is cooked with chicken broth and turmeric powder. It is served with shredded boiled chicken topped with a delicious complimentary papaya and onion salad.
5) Hoành Thánh – Vietnamese Wonton Noodles
A type of specialty egg noodle from the Đà Nẵng region with Wonton dumplings. The dish is like the more famous Chinese Wonton noodles, but has a distinctive Đà Nẵng flare. It most often served with shrimp, pork, quail eggs, onion, fresh herbs, ground peanut-garnishing, and homemade rice-crackers.
The way the restaurants make the soup is a closely-guarded secret — a flavourful mixture of sweet, sour, salty, and proteinaceous.
6) Bánh Mì Hội An – Hội An Savory Sandwich
Savory Vietnamese sandwich with a distinctive a Hội An touch. Every tourist coming to Hội An must try its particular banh mi at least once. There are a variety of ingredients: pork liver pate, pork floss, boiled shredded chicken, pork belly, ham, tomato, cucumber, herbs, and much more.
RELATED: See our post on how to make your own authentic Vietnamese Bánh Mì.
7) Bánh Bèo – Steamed Rice Cakes
These are funny little rice & tapioca-flour steamed-cakes that remind me of an un-rolled pierogi, plus an amazing oil-dipping sauce. They are topped with a variety of spicy & savory toppings that could include egg, peanut, fried onion, fried pork skin, sometimes shrimp. You can ask for vegetarian options as well.
Bánh Bèo are most famously from Huế. They are so beloved in the rest of Vietnam that they have become the back-bone of a major Vietnamese franchise. While you are traveling in the Đà Nẵng region, don’t miss out on the opportunity to try the real local Bánh Bèo.
8) Ốc – Snail Dishes
There is a lot of seafood in Đà Nẵng. Don’t settle for yet-another-shrimp or squid-dish. Instead, try some unusual Đà Nẵng delicacies that are based on snails.
There are a wide variety of Đà Nẵng snail dishes. Some of the more famous ones include stir-fry snails with tamarind sauce (Ốc Xào Me) and barbecued snail (Ốc Nướng).
9) Chè Hội An – Vietnamese Random Sweet Pudding
Sweet Chè for dessert. Every different region in Vietnam has a unique Chè. Chè is like a sweet pudding with jelly, fruit, taro, red beans, lotus, banana, and sometimes random fruit in season. This may sound like a strange concept for dessert, if you come from a cake-loving culture or chocolate culture. However, Hội An Chè is surprisingly good on a hot tropical night — it is not to be missed!