In this post, I’ll be sharing the stops we made during our mini Da Nang Food Tour, plus some extra places worth the calories!
One of my most anticipated activities whenever I travel? Definitely eating! I don’t think I have ever gone anywhere where I haven’t been able to eat at least one truly memorable thing, but before that can happen, my brothers and I have to do loads of research. As it turns out, it’s quite nice to have someone else take you around the good local food spots for a change.
[READ ALSO: Our Hoi An Food Tour!]
The food tour part of our trip was one I was very excited about, and I think this is also one of the unique advantages of hiring a local guide. Our guide Katie handpicked these locations herself and we all went along prepared to be surprised. For her, not only do these eateries make delicious food, they also represent a good mix of well-known and lesser known Vietnamese specialties.
In short, the experience is perfect for adventurous foodies looking to really go beyond phó and banh mi.
I’ll be talking about our Da Nang food adventure following the same sequence we visited each establishment. You are free to follow our footsteps, but do note that these places are spaced very far apart from each other. It won’t be one of those food tours where you only have to walk a little bit to get to the next stop. Most places take at least 5 minutes to get to and some a lot more, so unless you’re on a bike, you better put your walking shoes on!
The second part of this post will feature some food spots we visited on our own. These are places that I think many people will also find enjoyable so I’m sharing them here as well. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Da Nang Food Tour
Bun Bo Hue from Bún Bò Mệ Mui
Our first stop for this Da Nang Food Tour is also my favorite. A lot of it has to do with how much of a noodle-lover I am, but most of it has to with how delicious the Bun Bo Hue they serve here is.
The fact that our guide Katie, who is originally from Hue, calls this place a personal favorite is pretty telling. If I remember correctly, the person who established this restaurant is also from Hue, but she did some modifications to her Bun Bo recipe based on what was more readily available in Da Nang.
According to Katie, the Bun Bo here is slightly different from what she is used to in Hue, but it is by no means any less amazing. She comes here when she gets a craving or feels homesick. After eating here, all I can tell you is that I will DEFINITELY revisit this place when I return to Da Nang. The noodles are SO GOOD, plus they make their own Vietnamese ham or Chả Lụa and they’re super tasty!
Bun Bo Hue is actually a noodle dish that originates from the nearby city of Hue, thus the name. Literally translated, the name of the dish means ‘Hue beef noodle soup’, so when you’re in Hue, they only call this Bun Bo. The soup base of Bun Bo Hue is made by simmering different pork and beef bones with herbs for a long time, creating a soup that has an amazingly deep and rich flavor.
Typical toppings for this noodle dish include thinly sliced boneless pork or shanks, Chả Lụa (Vietnamese ham), and pork knuckles, but the combination depends upon the seller.
As I mentioned, here in Bún Bò Mệ Mui, they make their own Chả Lụa. They make different kinds in fact, so that each piece of topping is a different flavor experience. This bowl is such a flavor bomb I cannot wait to eat it again!
Address: 63 Lê Hồng Phong, Phước Ninh, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam (MAP)
Banh Nam, Banh Bot Loc, and Ram It from Quán Tâm
Quán Tâm is one of those restaurants I never would’ve tried simply because I have no idea what kind of Vietnamese food they serve. Thanks to Katie’s guidance however, I have not only added to my Vietnamese food knowledge bank, I now also have some new favorites!
The place was packed when we arrived so we had to share a table with other customers. The set-up is very straightforward here as well. You sit on these low plastic chairs and eat on small stainless tables, then throw your wrappers into buckets near your feet. I mean, does it get any more authentic than this?!
The first thing we tried was the banh nam. These are Vietnamese steamed rice dumplings with pork and shrimp in the center. They are wrapped in banana leaves like parcels you have to carefully open. Inside is a white dumpling that’s tender but still firm enough to have the slightest bit of bite.
The banh bot loc is also a dumpling stuffed with shrimp and pork, then wrapped in banana leaf. However, because it uses tapioca starch, its skin turns clear after steaming. It’s a lot chewier than the banh nam, but is equally tasty!
Finally, the ram it is an interesting dumpling that reminds me a little of har gao in that half of the dish is made of a dumpling stuffed with shrimp, pork, and whatnot. This dumpling then sits atop a crispy deep-fried bottom. I loved the contrast in textures of the top and bottom part. It made this an even bigger delight to eat.
We ate everything with a splash of nước chấm just to make things even tastier. I have to say: It’s not hard to get a craving for these little delights. It won’t be a surprise if I drop by here again if I get the chance.
Address: 291 Nguyễn Chí Thanh, Phước Ninh, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam (MAP)
Nam Ô Herring Salad and Steamed Mackerel from Quán Cô Hồng
For those who don’t eat raw seafood, this next stop probably won’t be your thing. However it would have felt incomplete to do a Da Nang Food Tour without this Da Nang specialty dish. The Nam Ô Herring Salad is unique to the coastal city of Da Nang and is named after its place of origin, the Nam ô Fishing Village.
The herring used for this purpose must be only about the size of two fingers, and must be from the batch caught in the early morning. The goal is to use the freshest herring possible for best flavor and texture, because they will essentially be eaten raw.
To prep, the herring is cleaned; then the scales are taken off, along with the head, the guts, and the bones. The herring then receives a final wash with water that’s been mixed with a little salt and vinegar to remove any fishy smell.
Nam Ô Herring Salad actually comes in two forms: dry or wet. In the Dry version, the herring meat is mixed with vinegar and lemon, then squeezed and drained to make them as dry as possible. The herring is then marinated in chili and ginger to address any remaining fishy smell, before being mixed with roasted peanuts and roasted sesame. They end up looking like deep-fried pieces of tiny fish.
Meanwhile, the wet version makes use of a spicy fish sauce-based broth that has a little ginger, some garlic, and some minced chili. The herring must be fully submerged in this broth until such time they develop a good balance of sweet and sour taste. Toasted sesame seeds for extra flavor also do not hurt.
I have to admit this one was a bit of an acquired taste. I love eating ceviche and raw sashimi, but for me the Nam Ô herring salad is something else. The spices and marinades used to flavor the herring are prominent, but some hints of fishiness remain.
Nam ô Herring Salad is traditionally served with a basket of rice paper and vegetables such as cucumber, perilla, herbs, mangoes, cloves. It also comes with a dipping sauce that makes the experience more interesting.
I enjoyed the herring wrapped inside rice paper alongside the veggies, but perhaps not so much on its own. For those curious to try, I think the wet version can be a bit more intimidating or overwhelming so you may want to consider going with the dry. However, the wet Nam ô Herring tastes better inside the rice wraps.
Another thing that tastes great in the wraps is the steamed mackerel served here. The fish is fresh and has a natural sweet undertone, but the sauce adds a lot of flavor to it. This one needs no wraps. You can totally just eat it straight from the plate.
Address: 118 Huỳnh Thúc Kháng, Nam Dương, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam (MAP)
Chuoi Nep Nuong Grilled Banana in Sticky rice from a street vendor
Another one of my favorites from this food tour is this dessert which you can buy just off the streets. Chuoi Nep Nuong is a treat that consists of sticky rice wrapped around a ripened finger-banana, then wrapped once again with banana leaf. This “parcel” now gets grilled until the inside turns golden and char marks are prominent on the leaf.
The seller we approached for this seems famous in the area, because the sidewalk she was waiting on was PACKED with people sitting on low stools, gathered around her. I watched excitedly as the Chuoi Nep Nuong we ordered were cut into small pieces. But because we intended on bringing it back to our hotel, the coconut milk was put in a separate plastic.
And OMG, this was amazing! It was sweet and salty and coconut-y, with contrasting textures of chewy and crispy. It’s a delight I’m actually looking to make here at home!
Other great food spots
Vietnamese favorites at Bêp Cuôn
Our guide took us to this restaurant for lunch during our first day in Da Nang. It’s an open restaurant that has a fantastic atmosphere and interiors that are super pretty! Reminds me of the Asian restaurants here in the Philippines that pull all the stops to make sure they remain memorable to diners.
Of course the real test is always with the food, and I can honestly say the food served here is pretty great. The price is also pretty great, plus their staff is quite friendly! No wonder tourists and locals alike come here to eat.
One of my favorite dishes from our spread here is without a doubt the Bahn Xeo (above). Because we had such great bahn xeo from here from the get go, I became obsessed with banh xeo and ate it everyday! Theirs was my favorite version among all.
Address: 54 Nguyễn Văn Thoại, Bắc Mỹ Phú, Ngũ Hành Sơn, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam (MAP)
Fresh seafood at Phat My Hanh Restaurant
We came upon this restaurant kind of randomly actually. We wanted to eat at another restaurant nearby but it was fully-booked for a private function, but this restaurant was so well-lit and inviting it really drew us in.
Phat My Hanh is one among many restaurants in this area serving fresh seafood in Da Nang. The set-up is very similar to the Filipino paluto restaurants, wherein you can select your seafood in a specific number of grams, then also select how you want it cooked.
As is normal when it comes to seafood, the prices of each item will depend on the kind of seafood you order. Certain varieties of shrimp, crab, or scallops tend to be more expensive than others, so make sure to read through the menu and confirm the prices before making an order. The staff are very accommodating towards questions and they are happy to make suggestions as well.
As you can see, we ended up ordering different seafoods in different cooking styles, trying to keep it as varied as possible. My personal favorite was the crab cooked in garlic-butter sauce. The sauce was totally lick-off-the-plate good and I’m typically not a fan of rich sauces, so that’s something! Now this place isn’t just 100% seafood, mind you. They also have different kinds of rice to go with your choices of seafood, plus meats and veggies you can order to make your meal more complete.
Address: 69 Võ Văn Kiệt, Phước Mỹ, Sơn Trà, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam (MAP)
My Quang at My Quang Ba Mua Danang Local Food
As I understand, this restaurant has several branches in Da Nang. There happened to be a branch just around the corner from Cozy Boutique Hotel Da Nang where we were staying so it was an easy decision for us to drop by as we were feeling hungry one evening.
I was initially hesitant to come here because of the weird mix of reviews on Google. However, we were too hungry to think about looking for other places to eat, so we just decided to give it a go.
What I can say is that the strength of this restaurant is definitely on their noodle dishes. The spring rolls were very forgettable to me, the noodles were just DELISH! We ordered the My Quang Ech (frog) because it was by far the most interesting my quang option on the menu, and we were not let down! The soup was incredibly flavorful and just rich enough to not feel overwhelming with the rice noodles, and the frog was tender. All in all, a recommended dish!
I also really enjoyed the Bánh ướt heo quay (wide rice noodles served with grilled pork, veggies and nuoc cham) they had here, but not as much as the my quang. My quang is CLEARLY the specialty of the house. The prices in this restaurant are really quite low considering the servings, which is one of the best things about eating in Vietnam really. If you pass by one of the Ba Mua branches in Da Nang, give it a try!
Address: 44 Đ. Lê Đình Dương, Phước Ninh, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam (MAP)
Table of Contents
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Places to Visit
- Food Trips
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