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Best Local Foods in Dong Hoi, Quang Binh, Central Vietnam

Lying on the North Central coast of Vietnam, Dong Hoi is the capital city of Quang Binh Province. It’s a rather lesser known fact among travellers that this beautiful coastal city has some of the best seafood in Vietnam, along with numerous other signature Vietnamese dishes that’ll make you fall in love with this quaint city.

Dong Hoi is a major fishing hub with its character fishing boats lining the river banks and horizon. 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:

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.

Here are the most delicious Vietnamese Seafood to try in Dong Hoi:

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

This is dry shredded squid (or dry cuttlefish) mixed with fresh mango! Sounds unusual, right? It tastes heavenly and goes well with a beer, as you’d find the locals doing. 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 Bao 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 – that’s around USD 5!

2.  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!

3.   So Diep Nuong (Grilled Scallops)

This dish of grilled scallops is one very popular seafood dishin 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.

4.   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.

Addictive Vietnamese Street Food

 

Enjoying the street food in Vietnam is an experience you just can’t miss! 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.

Since these are street food dishes, you can find them almost everywhere in Dong Hoi city. Look out for shops that have signs with the names of these dishes.

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

1.   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 Loc may 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!

2.   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.

3.   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!

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.

1.     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.

2.     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 Banh Canh. This can be found in most local eateries in Dong Hoi city for USD 1.5 – 3 per dish.

3.     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 restaurant on Phan Boi Chau street, Dong Hoi city. You will pay around USD 2 per dish!

Dong Hoi will welcome you with some of the most beautiful sights seen in Vietnam, friendly locals, gorgeous beaches and delectable Vietnamese food. Dong Hoi is fast becoming the seafood capital of Vietnam.

In addition to all this, you can also visit Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO natural world heritage site, only 30km away from Dong Hoi city. You can refer to useful information and enjoy some unique activities in Phong Nha to fully enjoy the incredible culture, cuisine, people and certainly breathtaking natural landscapes that’ll stay in your heart forever.

Visit Dong Hoi and enjoy food like never before! If you have any suggestions for any other best dishes in Dong Hoi please let us know!

Oxalis Adventure Tours Activities

ONE DAY TOURS

If you are seeking a taste of the caves and really don’t have enough time then we recommend a one-day cave and jungle trek. We currently have three tour options for you to select, each with a slightly different style and suitability.

• Phong Nha National Park 1-DayOur family adventure in the Phong Nha offers a great taste of untouched jungle and impressive wild caves. It is the easiest level of adventure but there is still 5km of trekking and 2km of caving, and optional swimming during warmer weather into one cave. It’s suitable for kids from 12 and above with good fitness, and so this makes for a great day for everyone! It costs VND 1,650,000 per person (USD 72).

• Tu Lan Experience – 1 DayThis is one of our original one-day tours and still one of the best adventures in Vietnam. This one-day tour includes rock scrambling, 50m swimming through a wild river-cave, and up to 9 km of trekking through the lush jungles. You will also strap yourself in for a 15m decent down a ladder. It costs VND 1,800,000 (USD 78) per person.

• Hang Tien Discovery – 1 DayThis one-day tour is perfect for trekking enthusiasts eager to see the largest cave of Tu Lan but without time for the two-day experience. Hang Tien is a dry cave so no swimming required, but still includes up to 4km of trekking through mostly flat jungle and about 500m exploring this incredible cave that will no doubt impress with its grandeur. It costs VND 2,000,000 per person (USD 87).

TWO DAY TOURS

Our most popular cave adventures start from two-days providing an immersive jungle and caving adventure, each targeting a slightly different kind of adventure-seeker, or perfect for those who want to combine a couple of tours to see different caves and areas on one trip to Phong Nha.

• Tu Lan Cave Encounter – 2 DaysOur most popular tour exploring the famous jungle area of Tu Lan. On this overnight camping excursion, you will trek through a number of different dry caves, swim up to 500m through a couple of river caves, witness outstanding cascading waterfalls underground as featured in National Geographic, and spend the night at our jungle camp beside a gorgeous waterfall. It includes 12km of trekking and 3km of caving in total and is for those with good adventurous spirit. It costs VND 5,500,000 per person (USD 239).

• Hang En Cave Adventure – 2 DaysFor two days, this is our best-value-for-money tour that includes one of the most jaw-dropping natural landscapes you will see in this lifetime. This cave is considered the second largest cave in Vietnam and third largest in the World, and it also makes up one night of the original five-day Son Doong Cave Expedition being so close to the largest cave in the world. It includes visiting Ban Doong Ethnic Village, located in the jungle, and a magnificent campsite on a sandy beach inside the cave. It includes 22km of jungle trekking at times quite rocky, multiple knee-deep river crossings, and elevation change of 400m (the ‘hill’ you won’t forget), and 4km of caving. This is a level 3 adventure on a scale of 1 to 6. It costs VND 7,600,000 per person (USD 330).

• Hang Tien Endeavor – 2 DaysA two-day trek into the jungle to see the largest dry cave of the Tu Lan area, exploring 5.5km of this truly stunning cave, with a variety of karst formations. This 13km trek is suitable for those not too keen on cave swimming or a too many hills, but still up for an adventure. This is a level 4 adventure between 1 and 6, with 6 being the most challenging. It costs VND 6,500,000 per person (USD 283).

• Hang Va Expedition – 2 DaysA technically challenging, but equally rewarding two-day caving adventure in the heart of Phong Nha National Park. This tour takes you deep into the jungle to one of the most spectacular river-caves, with formations not seen anywhere else in the world! It involves rock scrambling, wading through an underground river, bouldering and rope-traversing within the cave, to reach the rarest tower cone formations. This involves quite a lot of technical work due to safety, but is not overly difficult, it includes 10km of trekking and 3 km of caving.  This is a level 4 adventure, with 6 being the highest. It costs VND 8,000,000 per person (USD 348).

THREE-DAY TOURS

Now, if you really want to increase the adventure and soak up the wild jungle of Vietnam, with plenty of time to relax and enjoy the area, we highly recommend a three-day caving tour of our Tu Lan or Hang Tien.

• Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer – 3 DaysThis tour incorporates the very best of Tu Lan with two different jungle campsites besides stunning waterfalls, 3km of cave exploring through a number of caves, 1km of cave swimming and visiting some additional areas not included on our shorter experiences. Our three-day tour is very popular and tends to be booked out so get in quick to enjoy this thrilling jungle adventure. It includes 17 km of jungle trekking and with quite a bit of swimming you will need to have a good level of fitness. It is not for the faint-hearted, but still only considered level 3 adventure level compared to level 4 of the Hang Tien 3-day tour. It costs VND 8,000,000 per person (USD 348).

• Hang Tien Exploration – 3 DaysThis three-day tour stands out for combining a taste of Tu Lan with some river cave swimming, before crossing a mountain range to reach the valley for Hang Tien – the most astounding dry caves in the region, where you will enjoy trekking, bouldering over various rocky terrains to witnessing breathtaking patterned calcite walls & ceilings of Hang Tien. It’s challenging and definitely more suited to adventure enthusiasts who have trekking experience and prefer more challenging routes. It includes a total of 22km of trekking, 6.5 km of caving and an elevation change of 150m over one particular hillside. You will get wet, you will be challenged, but you will not be disappointed. Hang Tien is located adjacent to the Tu Lan area so you will enjoy the best of both worlds – a level 4 adventure out of 6 adventure levels. It costs VND 8,500,000 per person (USD 370).

FOUR & FIVE-DAY TOURS

For those looking for the ultimate adventure experience in Vietnam, and thriving for the real grand expedition of the world, you should opt for these 4-day journeys to explore the entire cave system of Tu Lan and the largest cave on Earth

• Tu Lan Expedition – 4 DaysYou will also explore all of the extraordinary caves in Tu Lan, including Kim Cave and Secret Cave that boasts phenomenal natural falls and karst formations inside these two unbelievable river caves. Complete a trek through Hang Tien Cave – famed for its vastness and magnificent formations. Our secluded jungle campsites are spectacular and mostly different from those visited on our shorter treks in the same region. This is a perfect alternative expedition for those who are unable to do Son Doong Expedition, still it’s challenging and not recommended for those without experience. It includes an additional night at Chay Lap Farmstay before the tour to ensure you are well rested and ready to depart early the following day. Level 5 on our 6 adventure levels. It includes 30km of jungle trekking, 5 km of caving, about 800m swimming through caves and one abseil in a cave in the pitch black – highly adventurous! It costs VND 15,000,000 per person (USD 652).

• Son Doong Expedition – 4 DaysBy now you would have seen some pictures of Son Doong Cave, and even they don’t do it justice. The record-breaking Son Doong Cave is hands-down one of the most stunning places on this planet Earth. The expedition is tough, but not too difficult so long as you have a strong resolve to achieve. It is surely one of the newest wonders of the world. Son Doong is not just another cave tour – it is life changing to say the least. It includes 25km of trekking, 9 km caving including rope climbs, and the 90m ascent of the Great Wall of Vietnam using a ladder, elevation change of 400m and many river crossings inside and outside the cave. Level 6 on our adventure levels. It costs VND 69,800,000 per person (USD 3000).

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?  Visit our FAQs section where we have alot of answers for your questions and concerns. https://oxalis.com.vn/faq-general/

WANT TO SEE VIDEOS OF OUR TOURS? Visit our youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/OxalisAdventurTours

WANT TO CHAT LIVE WITH OUR ADVENTURE CONSULTANT? Please look at the green icon at the right cornor on your screen below  to talk to our Adventure Consultant.