Eating and Drinking in Da Lat

While visiting Da Lat, you will be surprised to discover restaurants and street food stalls with dishes representative of all three regions of Viet Nam. For breakfast in the morning or a quick meal at night, you can enjoy phở (rice noodle soup) from the north or bún bò Huế (Hue beef noodle) from Thua Thien Hue Province in central Viet Nam.

The phở restaurants are clustered at the back of the Hoa Binh Quarter. Some popular restaurants here are phở Tùng, phở and cơm tấm (rice noodle soup and broken rice) Bắc Hương, and phở Hiệu. There are also   phở restaurants in other places, such as: phở Vi on the corner of Nguyen Du Street and Tran Quy Cap street, phở Ha Noi on Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street near the crossroads of Phan Chu Trinh Street, phở Quang on Ha Huy Tap Street, andphở restaurants on Hoang Van Thu Street.

Another popular Vietnamese dish, bún, can also be easily found in Da Lat. Bún is rice noodles. It is used with different ingredients to prepare a variety of tasty dishes. The most common one is bún soup. You can have a good bowl of bún at Bà già tóc bạc (Grey-haired Old Woman) restaurant at 44 Hung Vuong Street or at Tung Nghia Bus Station at the back of Hoa Binh Quarter. If you want a real taste of bun from Hue City, go to bún Cong Restaurant on Phu Dong Thien Vuong Street. There also are good bún restaurants at the Thung Lung Tinh Yeu (Love Valley) Tourist Site.

The price of a bowl of phở or bún varies from place to place, depending on the quality of the dish. In general, you should expect to pay from VND 6,000 to 8,000 for a bowl.

Mì Quảng, a specialty from Quang Nam Province, has also found its way to Da Lat. Don't mistake it for the same dish from Guangdong Province of China, because these two kinds of noodles of different origins are sold on the same Nha Chung Street, and at about the same price. Mi Quang is made from rice flour and is eaten either as a soup or a dry dish,  while Guangdong noodles  are made from brown wheat flour by the Vietnamese Chinese. Restaurants serving Mì Quảng on this street are always crowded with people, most of whom are Da Lat residents.

Some restaurants in Da Lat also serve Chinese foods, such as noodle soup and dim sum. Several of these restaurants are located in the hotel area near the central market. For breakfast, tourists often go to the Quách family restaurant at 217 Phan Dinh Phung Street as it serves many traditional Chinese dishes. The chef here serves hủ tiếu, hoành thánh mỳ, and very attractive dumplings. If you plan to go there with a large group, you can call in advance to ensure a proper reception. The telephone number of the restaurant is (063) 820104. Another good Chinese restaurant to try is Vinh Loi at the end of the Duy Tan Slope.

If you are health conscious, then try dishes braised in traditional Chinese herbs. The flavor may appear strange and strong at first, but many Westerners have become addicted to them after a few attempts. The most popular of these dishes are duck, chicken legs, and pig brain. Then, fried rice. The best restaurants that serve these dishes are Tai Ky and Nhu Y. Tai Ky Restaurant on Bui Thi Xuan Street, which opens from noon to night. A Chinese dish of this kind costs VND8,000 to 12,000.

If you're seeking a quiet and scenic place for breakfast, go to Bich Dao Restaurant on Trieu Viet Vuong Street, on the way to Bao Dai Mansion. The food here is delicious. You can enjoy the restaurant's specialty bò né and sip your cup of Highland coffee.

Hủ tiếu nam vang is another popular dish. You can find it in restaurants in the Hoa Binh Quarter, as well as near the central market.

Another of Da Lat's specialties is bánh canh. Xuân An restaurant at 15 Nha Chung Street is the best known for this dish. The family owners have prepared it for years. The dish, which is like a Vietnamese pork pie with spicy ingredients, tastes rich but it's delicious. For advance bookings, call (063) 827690.

Whether you are trying to buy or eat something, make sure you check the prices beforehand. If a shop doesn't display them clearly, some staff may quote you exorbitant prices.

As for dishes from the Mekong Delta, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner at the cluster of restaurants near the central market, opposite Hai Son Restaurant, on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street. Some restaurants can accommodate a large group. For example, Hung Phat 1 Restaurant can host more than 500 diners at the same time. It has a car park for more than  10 coaches of 40-50 seat capacity. The Mekong Delta dishes include sour soup (canh chua), mixed ingredients soup (canh thập cẩm), pork leg and bamboo shoot soup (canh măng giò heo), salty braised food, fried fish (cá chiên), stir-fried mustard greens, and desserts.

Hung Phat Restaurant in Da Lat is one in a chain of the Hung Phat Restaurants. They specialize in serving large tourist groups. If you leave from Ho Chi Minh City for Da Lat, before you reach Nga Ba Dau Giay on Highway No. 1, you will see three restaurants belonging to this chain: Hung Phat, Hung Phat 1, and Hung Phat 2. There is also a Hung Phat Restaurant in Bao Loc Town, and another one in Lac An commune.

If you do not want to squander your money on food, you can mingle with the masses in the restaurant section on the first floor of Da Lat Market. Here, you can savor rice soup, bún, phở, bánh cuốn, and cơm đĩa, for VND 3,000 to 5,000. Vegetarian food is even cheaper. There also are cheap restaurants for lower income students and workers, such as the Tung Nghia Bus Station (the corner of Phan Boi Chau Street and Nguyen Van Troi Street), and opposite the Transport Police Station on Hung Vuong Street.

Restaurants on Hung Vuong Street specialize in simple dishes cooked in the style of northern Viet Nam. A meal with rice, a salty dish and vegetables costs VND6,000 - 7,000. If you favor peasants' country-style dishes, try dưa chua (pickled vegetables), cà pháo (pickled eggplants) and shrimp paste. You can even try a cheaper meal at the restaurant at the crossroads of Nguyen Van Cu Street and 3 thang 2 (3 February) Street, as a plate with a fixed choice of items costs only VND 4,000.