With so many restaurants and hotels running Christmas specials, it’s hard to find the perfect one for your tastes. To help you along with your decision, City Pass Guide has accumulated a list of some of the tastiest venues to go for your Christmas holiday meal.
They fill up quite fast so it’s recommended to book your reservation in advance.
Love is everywhere this season! Valentine’s Day is approaching fast - do you know what you’ll be doing for you special someone? Check out our lovely Vietnamese Valentine’s Day deals below - we chose the most romantic venues and the best offers so you won’t be running around like mad this February 14th. Moreover, for local insight and extra information about great dining places, lovely sights and cool drinks, see the rest of our website, where you can always find some places to fit you and your partner. Put on your best suit/dress and impress your loved ones with your marvelous preparation.
A detectable candlelit night out filled with roses, indulge in the irresistible flavors of premium culinary cuisine at the unique rooftop dining space.
- Set Menu: VND1,400,000++/pax, 5 courses featuring Duck Breast Stuffed With Foie Gras Served With Melon Salad In Honey Sauce, Grilled Lobster In Orange Butter Sauce, Baked Tenderloin In Apple Sauce...
- Buffet dinner: VND1,600,000++/pax dinner with more than 120 amazingly delicious dishes. Full of choices from fresh seafood such as lobsters, oysters, crabs…to an array of mouthwatering international dishes, freshly made soups, salads and even dim sum.
Hanoi is a foodie’s paradise offering plenty of cheap yet delicious eats. Heartier and indicative of the cooler temperatures of the north, the nuanced flavours of Hanoi cuisine can be a welcome relief to it’s brash cousin to the south. Nowhere is this more indicative than in the Old Quarter. The maze like streets are crammed with makeshift stalls and storefronts that offer one or two dishes handed down from generation to generation. They have spent years perfecting these dishes so when you sit down on that little plastic blue chair, take whatever they give you. You won’t be disappointed. We have listed five must eat dishes while in Hanoi.
Bun Cha Hanoi
You will probably smell this dish before you see it. Sliced pork along with seasoned pork patties are grilled over hot coals and served in a sweet and salty sauce. It is served with a garnish of fresh herbs, noodles, chopped chili and garlic. Beware, once you have this dish, it will haunt your dreams. Local insight: Grab a side of Nem Cua Be, crab spring rolls that are traditionally served with this dish.
You can’t mention Vietnamese food without mentioning the country’s national dish, pho. The pho in Hanoi is very different from the pho from the South. Pho Bac is beefier and tends to be cleaner tasting than it's southern kin, Pho Nam. Local insight: Less is more with Pho Bac so don’t dilute the taste of the broth with extra condiments.
Traditionally served as breakfast, this rice crepe is filled with minced pork, wood ear mushrooms and chopped onion. Garnish can consist of fried shallots, fresh basil, beansprouts and steamed pork pate. Served on the side is the obiquitous nuoc cham dipping sauce. Local insight: Though traditionally served for breakfast, this is also popular late night snack.
Cha Ca La Vong
Served in a skillet, this fish dish combines tumeric, a heavy dose of dill, fish sauce and shrimp paste to create a flavourful dish that is nuanced yet bold in taste. Typical of Vietnamese cuisine, the fish is only a part of the equation with noodles, fresh herbs and nuoc cham sauce rounding out the dish. Local insight: The shrimp paste can be a bit strong and most restaurants will omit it in the preparation if you don’t care for it.
This dish combines yellow sticky rice with ground mung bean and fried onion. Traditionally served for breakfast and lunch, some Hanoi stalls serve this as an afternoon snack. Local insight: Some stalls serve this dish with steamed eggs or shredded chicken breast
Our writer makes you discover his top 3 Vietnamese soups you must try if you travel to Vietnam.
In my opinion, one of the most enjoyable aspects of traveling is the discovery of new cuisines. I guess that’s why I always gain weight during my holiday. Having traveled across Vietnam, I have tasted and discovered many new cuisines which I consider not-to-be-missed. I believe that traveling independently is perfect for me. If I took a package tours which usually has set menus for meals, I would never discover the different tastes (even unpleasant ones) of special local dishes.
My favorite type of soups are the sour ones because they are said to be cooling during hot weather in tropical countries like Vietnam. Furthermore, they are especially nutritious and refreshing. Here are my top 3 Vietnamese soups:
Catfish and Vegetable Sour Soup (Canh chua cá bông lau) - South Vietnam :
Thanks to a wealth of vegetables, this sour fish soup is very colorful. The sour taste comes from tamarind and indian taro, okra, spring onions, along with herbs bring out the taste of the catfish.
The same recipe and process can go with many types of ray-finned fish but Catfish is much better than others. The soup only contains the head and tail of the fish and is served with an array of vegetables and flavorings. The rest of the fish is usually served in combination with the soup on the side so you can experience the combinations of different flavours in one meal. It is usually served simply on a side dish with fish sauce or gets caramelized and served in a clay pot. The tastes will last for a long time in your palate so prepare to drink much water during and after the meal.
Do not feel distraught when you only see the head and the tail in the bowl of soup. The restaurant includes them on purpose. It may look weird to westerners unfamiliar with Vietnamese cuisine but this is the way canh chua is done in the south. This happened to Charly, City Pass's marketing manager. On his first time seeing a fish head in his "canh chua", he complained to the restaurant because he thought they didn’t have any fish fillets to put in the soup so they put in what they had left. But in fact, locals consider the head to be the best part of this soup.
I will recommend you to try this one first if the trio are placed up at the same time. But hey, don’t think that I am region-biased. It is said that this is the traditional dish that welcomes travelers to southern locales, so it’s worth it to have this soup first.
Sour Bamboo Shoot Soup (Canh măng chua) - Central Vietnam:
Fish also features in this soup, but light sour flavor complements due to the pickled salted bamboo shoots. A bit of green onions and dill are added and the soup is served with raw vegetables. This soup is very healthy.
Carp is usually served with this soup to make a perfect combination of sweet from the fish and salty and light sourness from the bamboo shoots. The soup has a light sour taste which makes it different from the strong flavours of the Southern version which definitely puts your taste buds at ease.
Mussel Soup (Canh chua hến) - North Vietnam
A species of small freshwater mussel found on lake-and river-bottoms is used to make this tasty soup. After being cleaned, the tiny mussels are removed from their shells and cooked with tamarind. Spring onions and various herbs add to the sweet and sour flavor.
Mussels aren’t as expensive as fish but in term of taste, they bring a very special flavour to anyone who has not tried them before. The mussels are fried with garlic and other spices until the flavours meld together. Then the mussels are poured into a sour broth of carambola or green banana. Though it has a light sour taste, the inherent sweetness of the mussels make this soup different than the others in the country.
These are my top three Vietnamese Soups, are you ready to try one of them? Share me your top 3 so that I can put on my "must try" list for my next holiday!
Accommodation, transport, sightseeing, food and drinks… budget tourism site Price of Travel has recently estimated a backpacker’s daily expenses in Hanoi at VND500,000. That’s less than the entrance fee to visit the Tower of London—in pounds!
Online institution Numbeo estimates that the cost of living in Vietnam is 45.71 percent lower than in the US.
Food makes up a good part of this. The usual Saigonese office lunch, for instance, offers a range of local specialities from cơm tấm to hủ tiếu at VND35,000, often including a soup as a starter and a small dessert. While portions are not US-sized, this three-course meal does fill you up; and it is delicious!
If you think these bargains are limited to street food, think again. Even more sophisticated eateries up to Vietnam’s dining temples are highly affordable compared to international prices. For local fare, you’ll rarely pay more than VND250,000 per dish.
One simple question arises:
Why Is Food in Vietnam So Cheap?
Vietnamese Food Is Inexpensive by Nature
Vietnamese cuisine is fresh and light in character. Following a deeply rooted food philosophy that aims at harmonising yin and yang through nutrition, nearly all Vietnamese dishes perfectly balance out greens and vegetables, proteins and carbohydrates. Portions are not humongous like in other parts of the world, but stomach-filling.
Image source: migrationology.com
The recipes, on the other hand, have often been passed down from previous generations who lived a simple life, relying heavily on locally sourced ingredients you’ll find on pretty much any street market at prices that truly amaze.
A 10-pack of eggs merely puts you back VND25,000. You could easily buy a whole bagful of vegetables like carrots or local greens, or fruits like bananas or passion fruits and not spend more than VND60,000. And a country with a coastline of 3,440 kilometres is never short of the freshest and cheapest seafood.
Nature is so kind to abundantly provide Vietnamese gastronomy with everything it needs. A trip to the Mekong Delta is enough to understand just how rich and fertile the Vietnamese soil is. This country is quite simply a food paradise on earth!
Cheap Work = Cheap Food
Another reason for the cheap food prices is the same as for the affordability of life in Vietnam in general: wages are rising, but still low on an international scale. Consequently, the labour cost that goes into your lunch is considerably lower than in other countries, which beats down the prices and also creates a demand for reasonably priced food. If you earn VND4 millions per month, you won’t spend more than a dollar or two on your daily eating. So there are also vendors who cater to that demand.
Check the video below for cheap and tasty street food under $1 in Saigon:
Video source: Best Ever Food Review Show
A Lack of Food Safety?
Lastly, there’s also a downside to the spectacular prices: food safety is not Vietnam’s strong suit. Paying less attention to hygiene ultimately means a lower cost. The main problems are the use of pesticides, lack of refrigeration and insufficient storage systems, as well as hygiene violations during food processing and cooking.
Image source: cntraveler.com
While any consumer in Vietnam should keep this in mind, it would be wrong to distrust the whole industry—and even more wrong to refrain from indulging in all the goodness offered on the street side! Just use your common sense. If a place looks dirty or obviously lacks proper hygiene standards, don’t go. Well-frequented street vendors and restaurants are usually safe.
The good news is: Vietnam—and especially its urban centres Hanoi and Saigon—gives you all the options. If you want to have lunch for VND20,000, you’ll find that. If you’re willing to pay top prices for top-quality international fare, you’ll also find that, cheaper than in many other countries. However, the best choice is, as so often, the happy medium.
Image source: migrationology.com
Vietnam has plenty of mid-range street restaurants that are fixed in a house or on a street corner. Prices hover around VND30,000-70,000 per dish, food quality is good and the taste is to drop to your knees for. And after all, three dollars for a full-blown, savoury meal is not too bad, is it?
So do look out for those charming little bún chả or cơm tấm, cao lầu or bún bò Huế, mì quảng or bánh xèo places that get crowded at lunch- and dinnertime. This is where you’ll truly experience the culinary genius of Vietnam’s multifaceted, healthy and flavour-bursting cuisine.
Well known for clean beaches and beautiful eco-tourism sites and islands, Nha Trang is also famous for its cheap and delicious cuisine. While the city has amazing 5 star hotels with luxurious restaurants to boot, you can experience authentic Nha Trang food in more local and inevitably delicious places in town. Check out our 5 top dishes to try while in Nha Trang.
Photo Source: llee_wu
Translated as “seafood”, this really isn’t a dish, this means a medley of different seafood. Not surprisingly in this beach town, the selection and quality is top notch. Any number of dishes will have the option of “hai san” which will include fresh fish, crab, shrimp and/or squid. There are abundant seafood restaurants, street stalls and beach resorts offering the best hai san the city has to offer.
Local insight: Most places have seafood on display so you can pick which items you want to have for dinner.
A breakfast favourite of locals, Bò Né is a beefsteak served with pate, eggs, bread and chili sauce in a blisteringly hot plate. It is accompanied with a mix of salad, tomato, cucumber, onion and vinegar. One notable item is the bread which is always served warm and crusty.
Local insight: Check ou the Bo Ne at 41 A Le Dai Hanh. It’s tasty, filling and at VND35,000 a plate, a steal.
The sauce is the key to this dish and simply put, is amazingly delicious. Minced pork is mixed in a sauce that is equal parts peanutty, salty, and sweet. The dish is served with grilled pork, a deepfried spring roll wrapper, and salad wrapped in rice paper. Price ranged from VND40.000 to VND60.000/set.
Local insight: The area of Dang Van Quyen street, near Dam market is the traditional centre of “Nem Ninh Hoà”.
Different from it’s cousin to the south, this spring roll usually served with minced pork meat, called “chả lụa”. It still comes with the prerequisite greens, pickled daikon and carrots along with the smattering of herbs inside a rice wrapper.
Local insight: You can get the best banh cuon at the restaurant located at the corner of Ngo Gia Tu and Bach Dang Streets.
Your trip to Nha Trang wouldn’t be complete if you don’t have this kind of noodle soup. Not many people are fan of jellyfish but this is one of specialities in Nha Trang and fresh tuna or marin is also served with the jellyfish. Dip the fish or jellyfish into a special fish dipping sauce to create a taste sensation not usually found in the country.
Local insight: Bà Năm restaurant, Dam market or the corner of Bach Dang and Nguyen Thien Thuat streets are reliable stops for the best bun ca – bun sua in town. And if it’s too much for you, the jellyfish is optional.
Hope you enjoyed reading out top 5 dishes to try in Nha Trang and feel free to let us know what you think of them!