However, we realize our time at each of our SE Asia stops is very limited. We want to make our experiences incredible for our short stay. For this reason, we met up with local food v/blogger, Summer Le, to dine as the locals do in Danang, Vietnam.
Our evening began with a driver picking us and another culinary adventurous couple up from our hotel. Our hotel, the Intercontinental Sun Peninsula Resort, is approximately 20 minutes from town. During our drive, we enjoyed bonding with our new friends who were vacationing from New York City. Once in town, the driver picked up Summer to begin the tour.
Stop #1: Banh Beo, Banh Nam, Banh Loc
Our first stop is to a popular dumpling spot in Danang prior to closing time. Banh Beo (water fern cake) is a tasty afternoon snack. These delicious dumplings are steamed in small bowls or banana leaves. Savory ingredients fill these tasty bites. With Summer’s instruction on how to properly eat these unctuous morsels, we dive in. An incredible beginning to the gluttonous evening!
Stop #2: Mi Quang, Ram, Tre, Nem, and Banh trang
Mi Quang is THE quintessential dish of Danang. A great way to describe this dish is a “salad/soup”. Noodles (“Mi”) is the most important ingredient. It must be fresh and it must be tasty. Summer’s favorite spot in town serves a rich savory broth just covering the noodles. In addition to roast pork, we add a handful of herbs and vegetables. Next, we top the bowl with crushed roasted peanuts, lemons, chili, and crispy rice crackers. Then is time to dig in! I’m not a noodle person, but I devoured the entire bowl. It is that yummy! Additionally, we fill our bellies with fried spring roll, fermented pig ear and skin, and fermented pork sausage.
Stop #3: Banh Xeo and Nem Lui
I call mercy, but there are still 3 more stops! Next, we walk down a bustling alley to an extremely busy restaurant. Within minutes, we secure a table and feast on our meal. Banh Xeo is a savory crepe filled with fatty pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts. We take a piece and roll it in rice paper along with fresh herbs. Finally, we dip the morsel into tuong sauce.
According to Summer, the sauce is the key. An average restaurant serves fish sauce. This restaurant’s sauce is special with over 15 ingredients including liver, hoisin sauce, and garlic. Then we tried some juicy meat skewers. It is so tasty and filling. Still, we have 2 more stops.
Stop #4: Banh Mi, Banh Mi Ga, Banh Mi Que
Banh Mi is a to-go type of food and this stand serves Danang’s best sandwiches. There are 3 variations: the traditional baguette, a grilled round baguette, and toasted bread sticks with pate. We pick up all 3 and head to our final destination.
Stop #5: Sinh To
Traditional Vietnamese desserts are sweet and mixed ice fruits. Tom and I alternate between bites of the icy fruit and savory sandwiches. Our favorite sandwich is the traditional baguette, which contains a bunch of homemade meats and pate. The dessert has nice balance of flavors and textures. It is the perfect way to end the tour.
Tom and I frequently travel to SE Asia and always enjoy discovering local foods. However, as with anywhere in the world, there are good places and some bad ones. It takes a lot of research to find great places. And, unfortunately our time at each destination is short. This marks our first time meeting with a local and we are very happy with our experience.
Although we can always go to a night market and try dishes, it can be hit or miss in taste and quality. We enjoyed a fantastic evening in Danang with another couple that appreciates great food. We highly recommend a food tour with a local. If you happen to find yourself in Danang, be sure to contact Summer for an amazingly tasty gut-busting evening. In addition, be sure to bring wet napkins and tissue. Restaurants only provide square pieces of waxy paper that are not sufficient to clean hands!
Making those travel plans could be of a challenge. Contact us. We can help!