Eating Nha Trang

The north of Vietnam has invented lots of dishes, including the most famous of all Vietnamese food, pho.  However it seems they get dolled up and fancied up in the south, which is how I’ve seen most of my Vietnamese food.  So now I am seeing some familiar dishes (finally, pickles in my banh mi!) as well as the continuing stream of things I’ve never seen before.  Throw in a good dose of seafood because I’m near the sea.  The only downside is that this is a vacation resort town, so many of the best restaurants are meant for sharing with large boisterous groups and not your lone, intrepid traveler.  I found this site pretty helpful for describing Nha Trang specialties.

As I’ve traveled through Southeast Asia I’ve seen rice used in all ways and rice noodles everywhere.  Things are getting different while still covering all the old bases.

There are a lot of carts on the street selling sticky rice covered in your choice of, or in my case all of, a slew of various meats.

Com tam is broken rice, or rice that was too small to make the cut. It’s steamed and topped with a grilled fatty piece of pork, fish or shrimp cake, fried egg and pickled vegetables.

Being by the ocean, one of the dishes to try here is jellyfish rice noodle (bun sua). While I like the texture of jellyfish, this just wasn’t very flavorful.

Why only use rice flour to make thin noodles when you can make a variety of different shapes and put them all on one delicious plate? I particularly liked the stuffed ones.

Banh hoi are rice noodles woven together into mat sheets and topped with sauteed green onions. Mine came with offal and blood sausage. That’s a filling breakfast!

This is banh can, a rice flour pancake like thing made on a cast iron brazier set over charcoal. To make them one ladles in watery looking batter and adds scrambled chicken egg or whole quail eggs before covering them to steam. They come out fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside.

When done cooking, they end up looking like those browned little sandwiches. I should’ve taken a picture of the fish sauce with fish still in it. These banh can were served with a huge bowl of fish sauce, chiles, scallions and green papaya dipping sauce.

I’m a big savory food person, particularly for breakfast. This is my dream: steak and eggs. A thin steak, one fried egg, tomato sauce, sandwich vegetables and a crusty baguette. It doesn’t get more perfect than this, especially with the cow shaped cast iron plate. It’s called bo ne, so my five year old self made so many jokes.

When near the ocean, the seafood is cheaper than the meat. Here are some delicious grilled abalone and tiny conch in coconut milk & butter. Also, a rarity these days, a whole plate (well, a half eaten plate) of vegetables! I do love my okra.

I don’t really eat in restaurants that often, so this is my on the beach meal. You even get a tarp for the sand. That lime juice with salt and pepper is delicious.

When in big towns I have the opportunity to get some not local food as well. It may be telling that I don’t miss burgers and skipped the Texas bbq but got this sushi and Indian food. I did get a microbrew or two where I got this sushi. The beast on the bottom is a sushi pizza, a tempura fried disk of rice slathered in fish and sauce.

I’m really quite excited as each new town I’ve been in Hue surprises me with what seems like an endless amount of new foods.


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