Specialties, restaurants in Dong Hoi and Phong Nha

DONG HOI CITY

Dong Hoi is a major fishing hub of Quang Binh Province. When you’re there, you’ll find that Dong Hoi restaurants offer a wide variety of popular Vietnamese specialities that hare hard to find in such quantity anywhere else in Vietnam.  Your Dong Hoi travel itinerary would be incomplete without letting your taste buds relish the irresistible and brilliantly cooked food here; and so, we’ve compiled a list of the top dishes in Dong Hoi City that you must try: 

1. Vietnamese Seafood Dishes 

As mentioned, Dong Hoi City undoubtedly has the best seafood in Vietnam, due to the way it’s ideally located. You’ll get all kinds of popular and exotic seafood when you travel to Dong Hoi.

a. Muc Bop Xoai (Dry Squid with Mango Salad)

This dish has a sour tinge to it, as the mango used isn’t ripe. You’ll find that the dry squid is properly mixed with thin and small slices of mango, seasoned with some chilli, squeezed lemon and Nuoc Mam (fish sauce). 

You can find this dish in Dong Hoi fairly easily. Just head to Nhat Le Beach or Bar Ninh Beach and grab a chair at one of the countless stalls where you can chill out and enjoy some Muc Bop Xoai. You can expect to pay no more than VND 100,000 to VND 150,000 per dish – thats around USD 5!  

b. Ca Duoi Nuong (Grilled Stingray)

Ca Duoi Nuong is a grilled stingray usually around 1-2kg and with a fragrance that will lure just about anyone. The meal consists of green banana and lilac leaves, some onions, garlic, fish sauce, pepper, fresh turmeric and chilli, all grilled together with the stingray and served with some rice paper to roll the best Fresh Vietnamese Spring rolls you have ever tried! You’ll feel an explosion of flavours with every bite of this culinary masterpiece. 

You can try this dish at most beachside shacks and shops near the Nhat Le beach in Dong Hoi for around VND 200,000 per dish – that’s less than USD 10!  

c. So Diep Nuong (Grilled Scallops)

This dish of grilled scallops is one very popular seafood dish in Dong Hoi. It is prepared by grilling the scallops still within their shell for about 20-30 minutes, and then adding dry onions, peanuts, vegetable oil, chilli sauce and scallion. All the flavours combine with the freshness of the scallop to create one of the most delicious meals in Vietnam. The So Diep Nuong is slightly chewy, but very easy to savor and eat, while you watch the sunset at the beach. 

The best we have found is at Minh Ha Restaurant on the river near Nhat Le Beach. The price is around USD 8 – 10 for a dozen or more of these scrumptious beauties. 

d. Cua Hap Bi Dao (Steamed Crab with Gourd)

Cua Hap Bi Dao in English means ‘Steamed Crab with Gourd’. In the hot summer days, this delicious combination of braised river crab with squash is an ideal dish to enjoy and helps you to cool down. The dish is simple, nutritious and very tasty! Thinly cut squash, minced onions, non-aromatic oil, spices, seasoning seeds, chilli, salt, pepper and of course, crab meat are the main ingredients of this popular Vietnamese dish. 

You can try this dish at the Chang Chang Seafood restaurant in Dong Hoi or any floating restaurant by the Nhat Le riverside for around USD 15 – 20 per dish.  

2. Addictive Vietnamese Street Food

Even though Dong Hoi restaurants serve incredibly tasty cuisines, make sure you also spend a couple of hours roaming around this lovely city and try out some amazing Vietnamese street food on your Dong Hoi travel plan; very affordably priced and a taste you’ll remember for a long time. 

Here are the most tempting street food dishes you get in Dong Hoi: 

a. Banh Loc  (Flour Cake)

Banh Loc translates into ‘Filtered flour cake’. Cassava flour is used to make this cake; filtered to starch and a small part of the flour is boiled. This dish usually contains shrimps mixed with spices or a combination of shrimp, pork, wood ear and shoots combination. These delicious cakes are wrapped in banana leaves, and then steamed before they’re ready to eat. Banh Locmay be plain, steamed or even fried. 

You can have the best Banh Loc in Dong Hoi City at a small shop called Banh Loc Me Xuan. Hop on a cab and you will experience this signature dish in a glance. You’ll pay only USD 1 for a dish of 10 pieces!  

b. Banh beo

Banh Beo is a kind of cake that’s highly popular across Vietnam and especially in the central region of Vietnam. The main components of this street food are flour, minced shrimp, fish sauce (with or without chilli) and crispy pork crackers.  

This scrumptious local dish is sold widely across Central Vietnam and you can surely enjoy it at Dong Hoi. While Banh Beo in other places are made one portion in individual tiny plate, the Banh Beo in Dong Hoi brings the dish up to another level, what surprises you is, there are layers (many of them) on one plate and people end up having at least two plates of them every time! 

‘Banh Beo’ is found nearly everywhere in Dong Hoi. You can try it at Tu Quy restaurant (near Dong Hoi Market) for the best flavours. Again, only USD 1 for a plate.  

c. Banh xeo

While on your Dong Hoi travel journey, you must try the famous Banh Xeo! It’s a crepe or pancake made of rice flour, coconut milk, and turmeric, which you can fill with vermicelli noodles, chicken, pork or beef slices, shrimps, sliced onions, beansprouts and mushrooms.

This yummy dish is usually eaten in the afternoons or during supper. However, you can try it in anytime during the day at plenty of street food stalls in Dong Hoi. It costs only USD 2 for one dish which includes spring rolls wrappers! 

3. Authentic Local Dishes

When in Vietnam, eat like a Viet! The authentic local dishes mentioned below are foods that the locals enjoy as a part of their culture. Full of nutritious values, lip-smacking taste and balanced ingredients, these local dishes of Vietnam can be found in Dong Hoi as well.  

a. Com Nieu (Claypot Rice)

Com Nieu stands for ‘claypot rice’. This is eaten with lots of different locally cooked dishes, with a multiple choices in dishes made of beef, pork, chicken, and a variety of fish. If you’re out with a group of friends or with family, this is a great dish to enjoy in Dong Hoi. The way the rice blends with the flavors of the other dishes is quite fascinating to feel and eating this will surely be one of the highlights of your Dong Hoi travel. You would want to order some river fishes, vegetable soup and fried egg to have with the claypot rice. 

Minh Phuong restaurant or Com Nieu Minh Phuong is one of the most popular claypot rice restaurant in Dong Hoi, and you will pay about USD 3 for a pot.  

b. Chao Banh Canh

Chao Banh Canh is one of the most popular specialties of the Quang Binh Province. This locally made broth primarily contains snakehead fish, ribs, prawns and noodles. Everything is boiled and then served to enjoy. 

The local people usually like to have this as a breakfast meal or an early evening meal to bring in the night with a stomach full of healthy and tasty Chao BanhCanh. This can be found in most local eateries in Dong Hoi City for USD 1.5 – 3 per dish. 

c. Sup Luon (Eel soup) 

This ‘Eel soup’ is a very famous dish in Dong Hoi City. The components of this amazing soup are eels, pork ribs broth, garlic, Rau Ram (Vietnamese mint leaves), sugar, noodles, fish sauce and chilli powder to garnish the soup. You would love to have a baguette bread with this, every single bite and sip of this soup makes you like it more and more. Don’t forget to try this while travelling in Dong Hoi! 

One of the best Sup Luon (eel soup) in town is Thuy Duong restauranton Phan Boi Chau street, Dong Hoi City. You will pay around USD 2 per dish!  

PHONG NHA – KE BANG NATIONAL PARK

As a popular tourist destination, Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park has a multitude of restaurants and bars serving Asian and European cuisines, as well as ethnic local dishes.

1. Western restaurants:

  • Capture Vietnam – Phong Nha Town Center
  • Paradise Pizza – Phong Nha Town Center
  • Phong Nha Underground – Phong Nha Town Center
  • Bamboo Café – Phong Nha Town Center
  • Gecko Restaurant & Bar – Phong Nha Town Center
  • Victory Road Villas – 1 km from Phong Nha Town Center, Bo Trach District.

 

2. Vietnamese restaurants:

  • Chào Việt Nam – Phong Nha Town Center
  • Lantern Restaurant – Phong Nha Town Center
  • Thang Nhung BBQ – Phong Nha Town Center

 

3. Local cuisine

  • East Hill Phong Nha – Bong Lai Valley, Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park 
  • Vung Hue Restaurant – Phong Nha Town Center
  • Moi Moi Restaurant – Bong Lai Valley, Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park
  • Len Con Restaurant – 32m road, about 1 km from Phong Nha Town Center

 

4. Other special dishes:

  • Phong Nha Veggie Box (Vegetarian Restaurant) – Phong Nha Town Center
  • Phong Nha Vegan (Vegetarian Restaurant) – 4 km from Phong Nha Town Center, Bo Trach District
  • Omar’s Namaste (Indian Restaurant) – Phong Nha Town Center

 

Most of the restaurants in Phong Nha are located in the town center, visitors can take a short walk to the aforementioned places. For further places such as Bong Lai Valley, you can rent a motorbike at Phong Nha Backpacker Services (Phuong): +84 (0) 98 828 9807; Thang’s Phong Nha Riders: +84 (0) 164 659 0719 and reach to selected locations by yourself.

Note:

Please ensure your safety and other people when traveling. Oxalis Adventure will not take responsibility for any price disputes or incidents occurring in these areas.