Apart from the beautiful sceneries and adventures, Dalat also boasts unique food specialties you should not miss when visiting the hill city. It has become a destination for foodies wanting to experience the local food scene thanks to its unique and delicious cuisine. From the night market to the food stall on the side of the street, Dalat has a lot of options to offer for anyone visiting.
So if you are looking to experience the local specialties or just want to find some varieties, here are the best foods to try and where you can find them in Dalat. This list is a combination of restaurants we’ve discovered during our trip and personal recommendations from our local Vietnamese friends.
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1. Bread Shumai (Bánh Mì Xíu Mại)
If you are looking for a breakfast dish, then look no further than Bánh Mì Xíu Mại. This crispy bread is served with a bowl of flavorful meatballs and is best to enjoy in the mornings. There are plenty of shumai restaurants along Hoang Dieu street but our favorite is this small restaurant. Apart from being affordable, they also have a variety of options you can pair with your bread. This includes fried egg, pate, beef, and cheese. This restaurant gets busy so you should head there before 9 a.m and expect a wait. An order of bread shumai costs around 30,000 VND (1.30 USD).
2. Stuffed Snail with Pork (Ốc Nhồi Thị)
These are steamed freshwater snails that are stuffed with minced pork, garlic, and lemongrass. We love how filling and flavorful this dish is. With a tint of lemongrass and the sweet and sour sauce on the side, the flavors all blend together and compliments each other. You can find plenty of restaurants serving this popular dish in the city but our favorite is located at Hai Ba Trung Street. A bowl of stuffed snail costs around 140,000 VND (6 USD) that consists of about 10 snails.
3. Corn Rolls (Ram Bắp)
This Dalat specialty is fried rice paper stuffed with grated sweet corn, spices, and pork. The crunchy and delicious rolls are served with a side of rich peanut dipping sauce. It also comes with fresh vegetables to wrap your rolls. We recommend getting this specialty food at this local restaurant, Chả Ram Bắp Nem Nướng Tân Long, which is famous for its flavorful and reasonably priced ram bắp. If you want to get it for dinner, head to the restaurant early in the night as it gets sold out easily. A portion of ram bắp costs around 35,000 VND (1.50 USD).
4. Grilled Rice Paper (Bánh Tráng Nướng)
Don't miss out on trying this popular snack, also known as the Vietnamese pizza, when visiting Dalat. Bánh Tráng Nướng is rice paper grilled on charcoal with selections of different kinds of toppings you can choose from. Common toppings include egg, pate, shrimp, cheese, and onions. The best place to get it is at this small shop around 180 Bùi Thị Xuân where the owners grill the rice paper in front of the shop. This place is popular among locals and tourists and can get quite busy so expect a wait. Depending on the toppings, one grilled rice paper costs from 15,000 to 25,000 VND (0.70 to 1.10 USD).
5. Grilled Wild Chicken
Wild chicken is one of the food specialties in Dalat and is a local favorite. To get the most authentic experience, we recommend heading to Quán Thung Lũng Xanh which is about 30 minutes drive from the center of Dalat. Because of its location, this restaurant doesn’t get many foreign visitors. However, it is frequented by local tourists and has become a destination in itself. The restaurant is set overlooking the mountains and their big gardens where they get their fresh produce. Apart from the wild chicken, you can also order plenty of options including pork and beef barbecue. We also recommend ordering a cơm lam, which is rice cooked in bamboo. Dip this with the crushed peanuts on the side and it is the perfect pair for your wild chicken and barbecue. A whole chicken costs around 350,000 VND (15.40 USD).
Due to the cooler temperature in Dalat, visitors crave the warm soup in hotpots. Dalat has many hotpot restaurants that serve a variety but the most popular are beef and chicken hotpots.
One of the most well-known areas to get a beef hotpot is on Hoàng Diệu street. There are plenty of different restaurants serving beef hotpot and a few even have the same names. Our local friends took us to Quán Lẩu Bò Dìn. According to them, it is one of the best restaurants serving beef hotpot in the area and we couldn’t agree more! The portions are big and the prices are also reasonable. This restaurant gets busy for dinner so you might have to wait. One serving of hotpot costs around 150,000 to 300,000 VND (7 to 13 USD) and can be shared among 3 to 4 people.
You can also find wild chicken hotpot in Dalat and we've tried Lẩu Gà Tao Ngộ restaurant. The broth of the hotpot was flavorful with sweet and sour bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and basil leaves. It also comes in a big portion, which is enough for 3 to 4 people. The restaurant is located in a small street which can be challenging to find. Make sure you check the signage at the entrance located along Ba Tháng Tư street. One serving of chicken hotpot costs around 350,000 VND (15.40 USD).
7. Bep 1985 Restaurant (Vietnamese Food Set)
Bep 1985 Restaurant serves your typical family-style Vietnamese food which changes every day. For 99,000 VND (4.35 USD) per person, you will get a big portion of rice, 3 types of meat, a soup, and a salad. The portion sizes depend on how many people are dining. Dine here if you are looking for a great atmosphere, good quality of food and reasonable prices.
8. Bánh Căn (Vietnamese Mini Pancake)
Bánh Căn is a savory Vietnamese pancake made with rice flour batter. It is cooked in batches in a special mold made with clay on what looks like a giant cupcake tray with little lids over each cake. The batter is poured into the molds then usually topped with quail eggs and scallions. Optionally, you can also order your bánh căn with pork or any seafood such as shrimp, squid, and clams. Because it is cooked over low heat, the cakes are not greasy but crispy on the outside and soft and fragrant on the inside. The cake is flavorless but wait until you dip it in a diluted fish sauce with stir-fried green onions, grated green mangoes, and meatballs. Bánh Căn is a popular light snack loved by many locals and the best place to get it in Dalat is at Bánh Căn Cô Chín. There is a minimum order of 5 pieces for just 25,000 VND (1.10 USD).
9. Cửa Hàng Nướng Mậu Dịch (Local Barbecue Restaurant)
Cửa Hàng Nướng Mậu Dịch is a local Vietnamese restaurant and is one of our favorites in Dalat. The prices for the fresh meat are reasonable while the portions are big. They will also provide you with a hot stone for grilling. The restaurant has a great atmosphere and is always busy, especially on weekends. It can get packed, so make sure to make reservations in advance. Prices on their menu range from 30,000 to 300,000 VND (1.30 to 13 USD)
And that are the 9 food spots you shouldn't miss before leaving Dalat. We hope that you find this list helpful and inspires you to try Dalat's food specialties.
Tell us in the comments below which is your favorite and which one you are excited to try the most!