Overview of Con Dao
Con Dao, is a peaceful island located in South Vietnam, 97 sea miles (178 kilometers) from its home province, Ba Ria-Vung Tau. Since its recognition as a great destination, Con Dao has topped every bucket list with not only its pristine beaches, marvelous forests, and tranquil atmosphere but also heart-warming local people and scrumptious dishes, especially seafood. Below are my recommendations on where to discover the best places to eat in order to make your island getaway that much better!
Bun Rieu Cua Ba Hai Khiem (Crab Noodle Soup)
Bun rieu cua is a famously savory dish composed of tomato broth, crab cakes, congealed blood cubes, and topped with pounded freshwater crabs. Originally from South Vietnam, this delicacy has spread to not only other regions but also all over the world. Favored by both the locals and foreigners alike, it is easy to understand why this spot in Con Dao always runs out of stock so early in the morning. Moreover, it costs only 30,000 VND (1.4 USD) for a big bowl, so you’d better get up early to successfully taste the amazing flavors.
Bun rieu cua has spread to not only other regions but also all over the world
Google Maps location: Bun Rieu Cua Ba Hai Khiem
Opening hours: 6 AM – 11 AM (but you should come here before 9 AM)
Com Tam Thao (Grilled Pork with Broken Rice)
If you’re missing the irresistible com tam from Saigon, this food store in Con Dao will satisfy your needs! Delectable egg meatloaf, nicely cooked fractured rice grains, and of course, a big pork chop which is skillfully grilled on hot charcoal, this dish prepared at this store has become a familiar spot to enjoy a full breakfast. And when you dip the grilled pork into the sweet and salty fish sauce, take a bite, then fill your mouth with a full spoon of rice, you’ll realize that heaven is nowhere far – it’s right where you are sitting! A dish of com tam can be as cheap as 20,000 VND (85 cents). It’s such a great deal, isn’t it?
Google Maps location: Com Tam Thao
Opening hours: 6 AM – 10 PM
Bun Mam Thi Bich (Fermented Thick Vietnamese Vermicelli Soup)
If you love the unique smell of fermented fish paste, bun mam will definitely be your favorite. A complete bowl of bun mam never lacks tempting shrimp, chewy squid, lean fish or a fish head, and it’s accompanied by a heaping side of eggplants, bean sprouts, cilantro, mint, and other local herbs. This dish is truly a gift from the water which brings you nearer to the ocean, so while you’re in Con Dao, don’t forget to try this specialty at Bun Mam Thi Bich. The food stall opens before sunrise, which also means that they sell out early. To make sure that you grab a bowl of bun mam, it’s necessary to arrive before 7:30 AM. A morning stroll in the cool weather is never a bad idea, so go for it!
Google Maps location: Bun Mam Thi Bich
Opening hours: 4 AM – 7:30 AM
Pho Bac Gia Truyen
Although Con Dao is a small island, pho – the legendary noodle soup of the country, always gets a spot and plays an important role in representing traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Pho Bac Gia Truyen focuses on the flavors of North Vietnam, where pho initially came from, and the generosity of South Vietnam by proving a lot of fresh herbs and bean sprouts. Do you like medium rare beef pho, cooked beef pho, or fatty brisket pho? This store has them all! Spare a couple of dollars for a mouth-watering bowl of pho, you won’t regret it.
Google Maps location: Pho Bac Gia Truyen
Opening hours: 6 AM – 10 PM
Thuy Tien Food Store
Vietnamese people love rice so much that we make it our main carb. During lunchtime, you can easily see people, no matter what age, gender, or occupation, gathering around a lunch spot and joyfully consuming huge portions of rice. At Thuy Tien food store, they sell a variety of authentic Vietnamese dishes to eat with rice, such as stir-fried tofu and tomatoes, poached ribs, fish, and chicken. And for a dish full of delicious food, it only costs you around 1.7 USD (35,000 VND). In addition, if you bought seafood at the market, you can ask the owner here to cook it for you. Isn’t it convenient?
Google Maps location: Quan Com Thuy Tien
Opening hours: from noon to night
Ba Mien Food Store
If you are starving after visiting a few main attractions on the island such as the central market, Con Dao prison, or Con Dao Museum, Ba Mien Food Store is where you should head to immediately! This food store does not only offer different kinds of side dishes with amazing flavors but it also provides a nice space for you to relax after excessive activities. Let’s eat to your heart’s content and feel the hospitality of the local people!
Google Maps location: Ba Mien Food Store
Opening hours: from noon to night
Che Thao Lien (Vietnamese Sweet Gruel Soup)
If you have a sweet tooth, never miss a chance to try che – Vietnamese sweet gruel soup. It is often prepared with glutinous rice and different kinds of beans or fruit, then cooked in water and sweetened with sugar. In South Vietnam, it is often garnished with coconut creme, which creates a pleasant smell and easy taste that you will never forget. The price is only 10,000 VND (45 cents) which has made Quan Che Thao Lien a popular spot for both travelers and local people, especially the youth. You can also try jackfruit yogurt, organic juice, and tropical smoothie here.
Google Maps location: Che Thao Lien
Banh Xeo Chao Vit Kieu Tam (Vietnamese Sizzling Crepe and Duck Porridge)
Just as inviting as the name, banh xeo (sizzling crepe) wins every foodie’s heart, even the pickiest one. This delicious southern-style crepe is mainly made from rice flour, coconut milk, turmeric, chopped green onion, then stuffed with cooked pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts.
People say that the best place to gobble this dish down on Con Dao island is Kieu Tam food store, and I agree with them! It takes only a dollar to get a scrumptious crepe but if your belly isn’t full yet, challenge yourself with a big bowl of chao vit (duck porridge) which is only 40,000 VND (1.8 USD). Are you up to go all in?
Google Maps location: Banh Xeo Chao Vit Kieu Tam
Opening hours: 2 PM – 11 PM
Thu Ba Restaurant
Thu Ba restaurant always makes it to the top when it comes to the best restaurants on Con Dao island. Whether it’s fish, seven-eleven crab, shellfish, lobster, or squid, this restaurant has them all! Supplied by the local fishermen and prepared by the skillful chef, the delicacies here will satisfy your taste buds starting with your first bite.
Google Maps location: Thu Ba Restaurant
Opening hours: 10 AM – 11 PM
Con Dao Market
A rule of thumb is to never skip the local markets when traveling, especially if you want to dig down into their cuisine, lifestyle, and culture. Con Dao market is a paradise for visitors where you can find the top delicacies, seafood, and souvenirs at a fair price. Apart from muc mot nang (dried squid), hat bang kho (dried country almond) is a specialty of the island. It has the perfect combination of crunchiness, tastiness, and nutritiousness, so don’t forget to give it a try.
Google Maps location: Con Dao Market
Opening hours: mostly all day, but busiest from 5 AM – 10 AM & 4 PM – 6 PM
Con Dao Fishing Village
What does the life of a fisherman look like? Take a morning stroll to Con Dao fishing village and find the answer yourself! It’s such an amazing opportunity to observe the fishermen working and see the joy on their faces at a close distance. Don’t forget to buy some because the best seafood is nowhere else. It’s right here!
Con Son Cafe
If you were to ask me where the local people kick off their day, the answer is Con Son cafe. Just a few steps from the marvelous beach, this cafe will broaden your horizon of Vietnamese beverages. Ca phe sua da (ice coffee with condensed milk) and ca phe phin (filter coffee) are favored by locals the most, so don’t be afraid to give them a try! Sit under the shaded trees, sip a cup of coffee, and admire the ocean view from a distance.
Google Maps location: Con Son Cafe
Opening hours: 6 AM – 11 PM
Not only does it serve food, but Bar200 is also a perfect place for you to meet up with your fellow travelers. This bar also offers diverse food and drinks, from sandwiches, pizza, and salad to cocktails, beer, and alcohol. Live music is also available, so if you don’t know what to do at night, remember to come here.
Google Maps location: Bar200
Opening hours: 6 PM – 9 PM (closed on Sunday)
Infiniti Cafe & Lounge
Another option for a happy day in Con Dao is Infiniti Cafe & Lounge. Don’t worry about the quality at all since Lonely Planet listed this place as one of the must-visit spots on the island! The atmosphere is so cozy and relaxing, and not to mention the food, which is hands-down superb and mouth-watering.
Lonely Planet listed this place as one of the must-visit spots on the island!
Google Maps location: Infiniti Cafe & Lounge
Opening hours: 7 AM – 11 PM
Chay Con Dao Healthy
If you are a vegetarian, finding a place to eat may seem a little difficult. But don’t give up too early, because at Healthy Vegetarian food store, you can tackle every Vietnamese delicacy for a reasonable price. The menu is so diverse, from com tam (broken rice), hu tiu (rice noodles), and banh uot (steamed thin rice pancake) to dozens of other delightful dishes. Come here and try the Vietnamese vegetarian cuisine!
Google Maps location: Healthy Food Store
I hope this article will help you eat to your heart’s content on Con Dao island. Follow our Christina’s Blog for access to information about tourism in Ha Giang as well as the whole of Vietnam. You may be interested in these articles:
A Traveler’s Guide to the Con Dao Islands
2 Days in Con Dao: A Perfect Weekend Getaway!
Top Accommodations in Con Dao for Every Budget!
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!