[Reading level: B1 – Intermediate]
Grilled fermented pork sausage, ragout bread and prawn pancake are among the myriad of foods visitors should try in this coastal town, central Vietnam.
Fine rice vermicelli cake with pig tripe – Bánh hỏi lòng heo
This is a typical breakfast dish for locals in Quy Nhon, the capital of Binh Dinh Province, but you can also find many shops selling this dish in the evening.
Banh hoi is similar to rice vermicelli, and is made from rice flour into very fine strands. The cake is most delicious when it is soft and covered with a thin layer of oil to get rid of the raw flour smell. The dish is served hot with a sprinkle of chives on top. Pork tripe and pork tripe porridge are also added. The price ranges from VND25,000 to VND40,000 ($1 –1.7).
Ragout bread – Bánh mì lagu
Mrs. Thom’s food stall on Nguyen Hue Street is considered the best ragout place by many locals in Quy Nhon. The stall has been in business for 30 years. At first glance, the dish looks quite similar to curry but its flavor is very different. The soup is rich and smooth with a large chunk of pork floating in it. Thom said a good ragout should have a nice aroma and the meat should be soft and sweet.
The alley leading to the stall is only large enough to fit one motorbike and the dining space is not large either, but every day from late afternoon to late night there are many guests. The price of a meal is VND35,000 ($1.5), an extra bread costs VND3,000 (13 cents).
Vermicelli with grilled fermented pork sausage – Bún nem nướng
One can find vermicelli with grilled fermented pork sausage easily in the town center. The dish contains fresh vermicelli, grilled sausage, grilled fish, and fresh vegetables, with peanuts, pickled cabbage and cilantro on top.
Its taste depends on the sauce, for which each restaurant has its own recipe. The sauce should be spicy, sweet and sour in equal proportion. A bowl of vermicelli costs from VND20,000 (86 cents). You can also order extra grilled sausage.
Fermented pork skin – Tré
This is the most popular snack on the Binh Dinh Province section of National Highway 1A. The ingredients in this famous dish are pig ear, head and belly. For seasoning, the chef uses sesame, powdered rice, galangal, chili, young guava leaf, and garlic. The meat is fermented naturally for two or three days until the spices are absorbed into the meat, creating a signature flavor. To serve, the chef uses chopsticks to mix the meat pieces before laying them on the plate.
Wonton noodle soup – Hủ tiếu, mì hoành thánh
Visitors can find this dish at a 50-year-old restaurant on Ngo Thoi Nhiem Street. The dish, originally from China, is ideal for breakfast, but you can enjoy it at any time because the shop is open all day. This noodle soup is an all-time favorite for many visitors. The price of a bowl is VND70,000 ($3).
Prawn pancake – Bánh xèo tôm nhảy
This is one of the many specialties of Quy Nhon’s cuisine. The full name of this dish is prawn pancake with sprouts. The main ingredient is the small but firm freshwater prawn, which lies on top of the golden pancake. When cooked, the prawn turns red.
Unlike the rice pancake in the south, the pancake here is just the size of a fist. It is very thin and has prawns, bean sprout and onion on top. It is served with a bowl of dipping sauce made from pure fish sauce and spices. To eat the rice pancake, you can roll it up with sprouts, cucumber and star fruit. Each serving costs VND30,000 ($1.3).
Fish cake noodle soup – Bún chả cá
Famous in Quy Nhon, Nha Trang and Da Nang, fish cake noodle soup is a big part of central Vietnam’s cuisine. The main ingredient in the dish is the fish cake. In Quy Nhon, the fish cakes are made from various kinds of fish like barracuda and mackerel. The broth is cooked from fish bones, usually those of mackerel and flagfish, because of their sweetness. The soup should not have a fishy flavor. Many stalls serve the dish with chili sauce. Visitors can check out the famous fish cake noodle shop on Nguyen Hue Street, where it costs around VND25,000 ($1).
Water fern cake – Bánh bèo
One of the most delicious dishes in Quy Nhon, water fern cake is also a colorful snack with its green spring onion, golden fried onion and pounded peanuts and red shredded shrimp. Water fern cake tastes best when it’s piping hot. The cake has a smooth texture in contrast to the crunchy bread crumbs on top. A plate of water fern cake costs from VND5,000 (21 cents). Ba Xe Shop is one of the famous addresses for water fern cake in Quy Nhon.
Vietnamese udon – Bánh canh
Visitors can easily find a banh canh (Vietnamese udon) eatery in the town center, but a place to look for is Mrs. O’s shop on Bach Dang Street. Here, the broth made from fish bones is especially sweet and fragrant. The dish also has crab meat, shrimp and fish ball. The noodle strands here are softer and thinner than in most places. A bowl costs VND25,000 ($1) on average. Guests can order more side dishes depending on their taste.
Hand tied pork roll noodle soup – Bún cột
This dish, found on the sidewalk on Duy Tan Street, is not very different from fish noodle soup, except for its ingredient, which is a piece of pork tightly tied with a rope. The broth is also cooked from fish and pig bones to achieve its sweetness. This shop is only open in the morning. A bowl costs VND22,000 ($1).
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