Food & Drinks
Food and drinks are two of the best parts of Halong, and it could be regretful if travelers cannot taste some of those. Here we introduce many of the best dishes and beverages at the bay, which are symbols of eating culture of Halong Bay. The information is not only what is the dish, how is made and what is made from, or how tasty is it with unique flavor, but also how to enjoy them in the best way, or what make these dishes special. Moreover, we also suggest where travelers should come to taste the dishes, as well as some tips in case that tourist wants to cook that food by their own hand. For the drinks, we recommend some places to purchase them with ensured quality and good price, and also some of cautions for drinkers to use those beverages in a completely safe way.
1. Ngan (Ngán)
Ngan (Ngán) is a mollusk species which is popular in the Northern Vietnam coastal area. Although it can be seen along the coast of the country, Quang Ninh Province, Halong City is where this seafood gets its fame.
Besides, Ngan is best enjoyed when grilled or steamed. While it is being steamed, the chief usually tie up its shells in order not to waste the juice and the blood inside, which are the most nutritious parts. Grilled and steamed ngán both have salty taste at the beginning then turning into sweet taste of seafood and this deliciousness stays in your mouth till the next time you taste. Ngan porridge is an excellent choice for breakfast or for a happy ending for your lunch or dinner in Halong. With just only two to three pieces of Ngan, your bowl of porridge would become more alluring than ever.
Visiting Halong, you may have many more chances to taste other attractive variables of dishes from Ngan like Ngan sushi, Ngan salad, Ngan soup, deep fried Ngan with vegetables, etc. You should not miss the chance to feast on this unique seafood when you come to Halong Bay.
2. Halong Snails (Ốc)
Visiting any random snail restaurant in Halong, gourmets might be surprised with a very long list of different exotic snails there. Each species possesses distinctive appearance and a very distinctive flavor. Coming to Halong Bay without trying these dishes is just a big waste.
With the diversity of Halong snail, remembering all the names takes forever, not to mention their distinguish appearances, let’s only list some popular dishes such as oc huong, oc dia, oc gai to, oc van, oc mut and oc len. All you can do is being an adventurous traveler, trying a random dish that catches your eyes or going with a local, who can show you the difference among the snail Although Halong chefs have a similar recipe to mix dipping sauce for almost every snail dishes, including fish sauce, rice vinegar, chili, sugar and ginger, you may still feel clear differences if you taste different dishes.
3. Halong Bay Prawn
Halong is not only proud for being one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, but also one of the most famous destinations for high quality seafood. Among all, the most popular seafood that appears in almost every meal in Halong is prawn.
There are two popular methods of prawn processing in Halong, steaming and breaded frying. However, steamed prawn is more preferable because people love to enjoy the natural taste it provides. During the steaming, chefs have to hook up the prawns very carefully in order not to break its small claws, in combination with using additional ingredients like beer or tubers lemongrass to remove its fishy smell.
4. Halong Bay Squid Sausage
Halong squid sausage is well-known not only in all three parts inside the country but also for international tourists. True to its name, the main ingredient is squid. However, it is said that no kind of squid can make the squid sausage as wonderful as Halong Bay squid. It must be fresh squid that is newly caught. The dish, hence, will get the sharp and appealing tang.
The making process requires manual dexterity and experience.Squid is grinded manually and deftly, and then fried in the moderate heat till it turns crispy and golden brown. This dish is recommended to serve with pure peppered fish sauce. The sweet fatty squish sausage will marry with savory sauce to tease your taste buds.
In Halong, there is Squid Sausage Street where cooks do all steps openly in the front of their stores.
5. Halong Bay Lobsters
Lobsters have long been titled as King of highly nutritious seafood. Lobsters’ meat is extremely firm and sweet. Once you have tried it, you will never forget its taste.
Visiting Halong, you will be able to enjoy lobsters in a unique way: drifting on the floating restaurant in Halong Bay, nibbling the dish and feeling the tang of the sea. Many dishes can be made from lobsters: fried lobster with salt, rice gruel with lobster, lobster salad or steamed lobster. Among them, steamed lobster enjoys the greatest popularity since it preserves the original flavor of lobsters.
6. Halong Fried Sea Snails with Chili Sauce
Apart from lobsters, squids, Halong has a less expensive food but sharing the same appetizing taste: Sea Snail. Sea snails vary widely in breed and cooking process; and fried sea snails with chili sauce seems to be the most common.
Unlike its name, this dish’s cooking process does not involve any oil and water. The unusual ingredients of dried coconut, lime leaves and Vietnamese sage leaves (mui tau) are the top significant herbs contributing to success of the dish. Particularly, the sauce served with this dish is the chili sauce used in frying. Otherwise, visitors can use normal sauces.
The steaming and colorful dish is a celebration of spicy chili sauce, fatty snail and typical aroma of Vietnamese herbs. Drink beer (bia hoi) while savoring this dish, this cold ice beverage will be blended surprisingly to give you a lifetime experience.
7. Hoanh Bo Soaked Rice Wine in Halong
This unparalleled drink is a local culinary delight of Halong. Made from a kind of glutinous rice that solely Halong has, Hoanh Bo soaked rice wine tastes sweet and sour. It requires experience and gentleness to produce this wine. Rice, without being ground, is cooked through, and incubated. Then, people soak fermented wine into a special leave of Hoang Bo forest, which helps to differentiate the wine from others.
The wine is very drinkable, light, and hardly causing someone to get drunk. If someone unfortunately gets drunk (usually falling into sleep 2-3 days) due to overdrinking, they will not suffer from headache or tiredness. After sobering up, they even feel better and refreshed.
Hoanh Bo soaked rice wine is a must-try drink in summer.
8. Halong Bay Oysters
An additional well-known seafood in Halong is oyster. Oyster is a nutrition-rich food and provides a plethora of energy for your body. Inside its hard-shell is blood-like red bowel, which carry the most delicious and nutritious part of an oyster.
Similar to lobster, the best way to enjoy oyster is to boil it, which could maintain its taste. Putting some blades of lemongrass into pot, the water must be brought to a rolling boil. Oyster, then, is soaked into pot and taken out right after air bubbles rise. Enjoy it immediately with beer, for example, to get its finest flavor.
9. Halong Bay Tu Hai (Tu Hài)
Tu Hai is the speciality of Van Don Island district, some other places called snail spout. It is a kind of shellfish, but it is very rare and valuable. If you have enjoyed it once time, you will never forget the special taste of it. You can cook soup or salad with “tu hai” or you can steam or bake it.
Steamed “tu hai” is sweet and cool. Its meat mix with spice can attract any visitor when he comes here.
10. Tien Yen chicken
Tien Yen chicken is very delicious because it is fed by rice, crickets, ants, termites. It is said because of the “pedestrian” and the “astronauts” free man and asked him what unique natural food that is sweet-scented, firm, crispy and not chewy.
There are many ways to cook chicken but the most delicious dish is cooked in the simplest way: boiling. Eating chicken in Tien Yen is so great if it is accompanied with nodded cake. Recipes for bread chewy and crispy when it is mixed into the flour milled rice at the rice to cool and when coated with thin thickness does not moderate as rolls, but not as thick as pancake. Whether it is served with chicken or not, nodded cakes is served with a sauce that made from chicken broth, shallots, garlic, chili.
11. Sea Urchin
Season of urchin reproduction and development is from March until June or July according to lunar calendar (from spring equinox weather and ended up collecting more). Especially at the end of the season, it produces urchin meat.
Sea urchin is also used to cook porridge and other kinds of nutritious soup. Sea urchin soup is the dish that most of travelers choose when visiting Quan Lan. Savory soup scented with white rice grains, yellow urchin, green scallions, blended together to create an extraordinary flavor stimulate the taste of all customers. Just a spoonful of porridge urchin, you will feel the original taste of sea. In addition to soup, grilled urchin with onion is also appealing. Grilled urchin delicious that you can’t fail to miss it.
12. Smasher Prawns (Bề Bề)
Smasher prawns are pretty typical seafood of Halong. In Halong, many restaurants serve smasher prawns in variety. There are many kinds of smasher parwns dishes but most of tourists are impressed with roasted smasher prawns with salt.
13. Seafood rice vermicelli and brown noodles
Recently, the dishes of seafood rice vermicelli are quite popular in many Hanoi restaurants. However, when you enjoy them in Halong, you will feel completely different. Seafood rice vermicelli and brown noodles in Halong are well-suited for breakfast. A full bowl of seafood rice vermicelli or brown noodle will be about 40,000 VND, it will have shrimp, crab meat (or tickled), mantis shrimp, fish balls and fresh-vegetable (or water dropwort). Seafood rice vermicelli and brown noodles eaten with raw vegetables are the harmonies between the sweetness of water with the cool taste of raw vegetables. Come to Halong, you can easily find seafood stalls. Some famous addresses of fresh and delicious seafood rice vermicelli that you can refer to are Hai Van restaurant at the beginning of the road into the Dong Bac company, seafood rice vermicelli restaurants at the Cau Trang – Ha Tu, etc.
14. “Sam” – Horseshoe crab
Horeshoe crab is cooked into quite a lot of dishes with very strange and delicious taste, such as sweet and sour stir-frying, fried horseshoe crab eggs, etc. However, horseshoe crab is a kind of seafood with the “cold”, so if you have a “prehistory” of being allergies or cold stomach with seafood, do not eat or eat very little. The most famous horseshoe crab restaurant in Halong nowadays is Sam Ba Ty in Lane 6, Cao Thang street. In the afternoon, at the snack market of Halong 1, there is also a row of sweet and sour horseshoe crab claw, horseshoe crab sausages, etc. Another famous address is Quang Yen horseshoe crab restaurant, located on the road from Halong to Hanoi. Horseshoe crabs are now quite expensive; an average dish is about 150,000 VND.
15. Oyster porridge
Oyster porridge is a very popular snack food; the oyster porridge in Halong is the powder porridge cooked with sea oyster, so it will taste quite different from the oyster porridge in Hanoi, that oysters live in the river. Oyster porridge was eaten with green onion, Chinese parky, dried onions. The address of delicious oyster porridge that you should visit is Halong 1 Market. From the street, coming from the Vietcombank building, it is the first stall on the left. This stall also sell quite delicious patisserie (pillow cake). In the Halong 2 market, the snack area also has a very good taste stall of oyster porridge, which has been selling for a long time. The price of each bowl with cruller is about 15,000 – 20,000 VND.
16. Steam rice pancakes with squid sausages
Steam rice pancakes may appear everywhere, but with the squid sausages may be only here. The deliciousness of this dish depends a lot on the fresh squid sausages; when biting in, there is the feelings of crunchy crunch of the fresh squids. Next is the sauce, mixed with the sour taste of lemon and spicy taste of chili pepper. The steam rice pancakes with squid sausage are best when it is eaten right after it is finished and remains the heat, then it is sprinkled some little dried onions. The stall of steam rice pancakes considered as the pioneer in Halong is Ngan stall next to Bach Dang theater. The prices fluctuate around 40,000 VND/dish.