Explore Five Popular and Delicious Dishes From Dalat

Not only famous for its beautiful sceneries and destinations, Dalat is also well-known for some of its best and significant dishes.
October 05, 2021 | 08:03

Dalat is the capital of Lam Dong province. At the elevation 1,500 meters above sea level, Dalat has cool climate and become the ideal vacation city in the South of Vietnam. Just about 300 km from Ho Chi Minh City and 130km from Nha Trang city, Dalat is a great place for tourists to escape the hot weather of the southern delta.

The best Da Lat dishes are made with fresh produce and meat that are sourced from ethnic farms around the hill town. Blessed with a cool central highland climate, just about anything can be grown there, not just tropical vegetables and fruits. Some of the best foods here include strawberries, asparagus, artichokes, grapes, tea, and coffee.

1. Banh Mi Xiu Mai (Vietnamese Baguette with Meatball Soup)

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

This Vietnamese Meatball Banh Mi (Banh Mi Xiu Mai) makes a delicious and filling breakfast or main meal. The pork meatballs are served with a flavorful tomato sauce and crispy banh mi (Vietnamese baguette).

Banh mi xiu mai is a fast food of Chinese origin but has long been a specialty of Da Lat.

Each portion of Vietnamese meatballs is presented in a small deep bowl, filled with broth, with salads, pickles, grilled pork, and sprinkled stir-fried onions. The bread is also delicious, crispy and fragrant.

Enjoying the sweet taste of the bone broth, with the hot spicy chili in the broth with freshly baked bread with fatty and delicious meatballs make the morning in Da Lat more perfect.

2. Banh can (custard cake)

Photo: Saigoneer
Photo: Saigoneer

Can Cake is a popular cake in Ninh Thuan that originated from the Cham community. It is made from rice powder and steamed on soil stoves. These stoves are produced in Bau Truc, with 10 -15 small holes to cook the cake in. To make this cake, the rice powder is first mixed with eggs and water, and then this mixture is poured into each hole on the soil stove.

When the cake has been cooked, it is taken off the stove and dabbed with onion oil, shrimps, fish or meat. But the most unique factor of this cake is the sauce that is served with it. Each sauce gives the cake a different taste.

Normally, Can cake is used with fish sauce or peanut sauce, but in Ninh Thuan, people seem to prefer the sauce from brined fish. A large bowl of this sauce is brought in, and then the cake dipped freely in this sauce. The flavor of rice, shrimp, oil, onion and fish is combined harmonically to become an delicious and unforgettable taste. One advice to those who want to taste this cake is that Can cake should be eaten right in the restaurant when they are still hot and crispy because this is when the cake is tastiest.

3. Bun Bo (Beef Rice Noodle Soup)

Photo: Dalat Magazine
Photo: Dalat Magazine

Bun bo or beef rice noodle soup originates from Hue, but travellers can find this dish in many Da Lat restaurants. Located along Ly Thuong Kiet Street, local eatery Quan Bun Bo Hue serves the best bun bo in Da Lat. Spicier than pho, this dish consists of rice vermicelli, sprouts, banana buds, beef slices, red pepper flakes, and lemongrass. A small bowl costs VND 35,000 but we highly recommend paying an extra VND 10,000 to get a more substantial amount of beef in your dish.

4. Soy milk

Photo: Toplist
Photo: Toplist

In the chilly evening air, Da Lat appears translucent, shimmering under the flower-shaped lights. Along small streets, many street stalls fill the air with sweet-smelling odors of food. Among these scents, we cannot fail to mention a simple, idyllic drink with unforgettable taste – the hot soy milk.

Besides coffee, the glass of hot soy milk in the early morning or at night has taken root in the life of many local residents. Da Lat residents have their special drinking style, that is, they can drink soy milk or mix soy milk with condensed milk, peanuts, green beans and eat some cakes… Da Lat becomes chillier and chillier at late night, fog covers the city, making Da Lat a mysterious place, and the shoulder pole with two loads on both ends becomes more unique. The seller has a large pot full of soy milk, put on a coal stove, surrounded by small stools, and customers will sit around the stove enjoying hot soy milk. Everybody sits next to each other, sipping hot soy milk, spreading warmth from their heart and feels close to each other, and when tourists leave the city, they bring with them loving souvenirs of this foggy city.

No one has known ever since, when soy milk has become a special drink of Da Lat. The magnet of this drink is quite strange, irrespective of social strata, no age barrier, anyone can enjoy, at any time. The chilly air makes the taste of soy milk in this place so charming, unlike other places where you’ve ever enjoyed this drink.

It is produced from soybeans. Through the skilled hands of the sellers, soybeans are soaked, ground, then filtered to get water from soybean grounds and slightly simmered over the fire, with pandan leaves. Then you will have a sweet-smelling and nutritious soy milk pot. Soy milk is rich in calcium, protein, and meets the needs of Vietnamese people, with prices suiting the expenses of most families.

5. Lau Bo Ba Toa (Ba Toa beef hotpot)

Photo: TravelMag
Photo: TravelMag

Perhaps many people wonder about the meaning of the name "Ba Toa beef hotpot" - a dish that every tourist is advised to try in Da Lat. Ba Toa is a transliterated name from French. The name is derived from the word "abattoir" (slaughterhouse).

During the French colonial period, this area used to have cattle slaughterhouses, so it got that name. After 1975, a few beef hotpot restaurants were set up in this area and they have become very popular since then.

There are dozens of beef hotpot restaurants with the same name Ba Toa in Ba Toa area in Hoang Dieu Street, Ward 5, Da Lat City.

The hot pot sauce is very rich and attractive. Learning how to cook from the French, the chefs at Ba Toa beef hot pot have grilled beef bones for aroma. Then put in the pot to simmer for 2-3 hours. To increase the delicious taste, Ba Toa beef hot pot also uses meat broth. The delicious taste of mountain beef brought a perfect hot pot. Every piece of beef is sliced to a large size, as soon as you bite into it, you can feel the sweetness in each fiber.

Served with delicious Ba Toa beef hot pot are Da Lat green vegetables. These are broccoli, Chinese cabbage, spinach, and Centella Asiatica. Da Lat’s fresh vegetables eaten with an attractive beef hot pot is a perfect combination. Just wait for the hot pot to boil and then add the vegetables. Egg noodles are the noodles used in Ba Toa beef hot pot. Each soft golden noodle in the hot pot brings an irresistible delicious feeling. To make the hot pot more attractive, it is impossible not to mention the dipping sauce. The dipping sauce is made from spicy satay chili to make the dish more delicious.

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