If you’re planning to travel to Vietnam, you must have stumbled upon some breathtaking photos of Ha Long Bay which has a spectacular landscape with nearly 2,000 limestone islands. Cruise around these limestones islands on green water, explore the colossal caves inside, and partake in various water sports while you’re there. You will have a great time exploring this beautiful land. Discover more about Ha Long Bay via these articles on our blog: Getting From Hanoi to Ha Long Bay, Everything About Ha Long Bay – Vietnam’s Natural Wonder, and The Best Ha Long Bay Tours For Different Travel Styles & Budgets.

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Photo: dulich24.com

Apart from stunning landscapes, Ha Long is also a food paradise in Vietnam, especially seafood. In particular, the seafood in Ha Long is really diverse. There are many distinct dishes that other coastal areas don’t have. Besides seafood, some other local dishes are famous as well. Let’s explore all of these delicious dishes through this article.

Cha Muc – Squid Pie  

As one of the most ten famous dishes of Vietnam in 2013, cha muc or squid pie is a specialty that you must try in Ha Long. I’ll show you how the local people make squid pie. The squid is ground by hand into squid paste. Afterward, it’s seasoned with pepper and fish sauce, the paste is molded into a flat, round shape. Then, these patties are deep fried until they turn into an attractive yellow. The squid pie is ready to serve!

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Banh cuon cha muc

An interesting fact about this food is that the squid in Ha Long is sweet while the squid in central and southern Vietnam is salty. Therefore, the squid pie here is the most delicious in the entire country. Squid pie is usually served with sticky rice (xoi) or rolled rice pancake (banh cuon). I recommend trying this dish for breakfast. 

Ba Yen Restaurant
Address: 36 Doan Thi Diem street, Bach Dang ward, Ha Long city
Phone Number: 0203 3827 086
Opening Hours: 5:30 AM – 1 PM
Price: 40,000 VND

Chao Ha – Acorn Barnacle Porridge

Ha or acorn barnacle has a similar shape to the oyster, but the acorn barnacle is smaller. In Vietnam, acorn barnacle is only found in the sea of Quang Ninh province. Because Ha Long is the city of Quang Ninh province, this dish has become a specialty of Ha Long. Acorn barnacle cannot be cultured in a farm, it’s a wild animal! Acorn barnacles cling to rocks deep in salt water. The local fishermen need to use a hammer to separate them from the rock.

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Photo: vntrip.vn

There are a few different dishes made with acorn barnacle, but chao ha or acorn barnacle porridge is the most popular dish. The fresh acorn barnacle is marinated with pepper and fish sauce, then stir-fried with onion. After the rice is cooked, the acorn barnacle is stirred into the rice. Once the rice cooks down into a porridge, you just have to add a few garnishes. Add some spring onion, coriander, and pepper on the top. Local people like to eat a hot bowl of this delicious porridge at night. 

Co Hang Restaurant
Address: 42 Tran Hung Dao street, Ha Long city
Opening Hours: 5:30 PM – 12 AM
Price: 40,000 VND

Sam – Horseshoe Crab

Sam or horseshoe crab is another crustacean that cannot grow in a farm. It survives less than three days after being caught, so not many restaurants sell this delicacy. The horseshoe crab usually lives in pairs. The female carries the male on its back, so fisherman will catch both of them at one time. When local people sit down to eat, they eat this “crab couple” together. In this area, it is believed that you must consume two crabs at a time, in order to prevent a chill.

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Photo: travelz.vn

There are many delicious dishes made from horseshoe crab such as sweet and sour claws,  stir-fried crab with chilli and lemongrass, crispy fried egg, pie, and salad.

Sam Ba Ty Restaurant
Address: Alley 6, Cao Thang street, Ha Long city
Phone Number: 091 541 18 77
Opening Hours: 7 AM – 11 PM
Price: 20,000 VND – 100,000 VND

Sa Sung – Peanut Worm

Sa sung or peanut worm lives in deep caves under the sand. It is reddish brown and looks like a giant earthworm 10 to 15 centimeters long. In northern Vietnam, dried peanut worm is used to sweeten the broth of pho or other noodles. Sweet and sour peanut worm, grilled worm with chili sauce, and salad are the most favorite dishes made from peanut worm. You may be scared of its ugly shape at first, but try a bite. Traveling is all about adventure!

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Photo: www.vietfuntravel.com.vn

Cua Vang Restaurant
Address: 32 Phan Chu Trinh street, Bai Chay ward, Ha Long city
Phone Number: 033 3819 919
Opening Hours: 10 AM – 10 PM

Bun Be Be – Noodles with Mantis Shrimp 

In the past, mantis shrimp was not a popular seafood in Ha Long. However, it has become a favorite seafood of local people recently. And bun be be or noodles with mantis shrimp is the most popular dish. The mantis shrimp is boiled and peeled. The shell is cooked with pork bone to make the broth tastier. Then, boiled mantis shrimps are placed on top of a big bowl of noodles and broth. Squid, squid pie, shrimp, fried tofu, and vegetables are also added to the noodles to enhance the flavor.

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Photo: Huong Hai Sealife Cruise

Dong Bac Restaurant
Address: 6 Hai Phuong street, Hong Hai ward, Ha Long city
Opening Hours: 6 AM – 11 AM
Price: 30,000 VND

Bun Xao Ngan – Stir-fried Noodles with Mud Clam

Mud clams are bigger than a clam, and they have a grey and white color because they live deep under the sand. Mud clam is mostly caught naturally from March to October in the lunar calendar. Did you know that Vietnamese fisherman and farmers usually use the lunar calendar for their work? This is because the moon affects the tide and the tide affects the lives of plants and animals.

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Photo: www.baodulich.net.vn

 

There are many ways to cook mud clam. Grill ‘em, steam ‘em, make ‘em into porridge, serve ‘em with noodles, or you can even use these little guys to make wine! Among these options, stir-fried noodles with mud clam is the most favorite dish. The mud clam is washed and cut into small pieces. The noodles are seasoned and stir-fried in the pan for a few minutes. Then, sliced wood ear and Chinese black mushrooms are added to the mix. Lastly, stir-fry the mud clam for a few more minutes before the dish is ready to serve.

Cua Vang Restaurant
Address: 32 Phan Chu Trinh street, Bai Chay ward, Ha Long city
Phone Number: 033 3819 919
Opening Hours: 10 AM – 10 PM

Ga Loi Am Nuong – Loi Am Grilled Chicken

This grilled chicken is named after Loi Am pagoda because this dish can be found at the foot of the pagoda which is 15 kilometers away from Ha Long city. You need to take a ferry across a huge lake to get to Loi Am pagoda which gives you access to this delicious food! The trip may be a little arduous but it’s worth it to chow down in beautiful scenery.

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Ga nuong Loi Am

These chickens are released on hillsides to search for their food, so their meat is firm, not fatty, has a natural yellow color and delicious scent. Another highlight is that the chicken is still alive before you order the dish. After the order is received, the chicken is cooked and grilled immediately. The menu only has two dishes: regular grilled chicken and grilled chicken with mugwort. Dipping the grilled chicken into lemon pepper salt and enjoying it with boiled or stir-fried vegetables is the best. 

Dam Da Restaurant
Address: near ferry port of Loi Am pagoda, Dai Yen ward, Ha Long city
Phone Number: 0833 398 268
Opening Hours: 7:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Price: 350,000 VND per chicken 

Banh gat gu or nodding cake looks similar to rolled pho (pho cuon) or rolled rice pancake (banh cuon). The rice cake is curled up into a long roll. When you eat this dish, you must nod your head up and down to finish eating the whole cake. This is where it gets its unique name. The cake is served with a special sauce including a bowl of chicken fat and a bowl of minced meat, fried onions, fish sauce, and chili.

You can easily find these special cakes in food markets such as Ha Long night market, 1st Ha Long market, and 2nd Ha Long market.

Now you know the top eight delicious dishes in Ha Long! Save these dishes and enjoy them during your next trip to Ha Long Bay. There are many more delicious foods in northern Vietnam you should try. Read our articles below to explore them:

If you enjoyed reading this article and would like some more fun info about what to see, do, and eat (and a bunch of interesting cafes!) in Vietnam, follow us at The Christina’s Blog!

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