People travel to Sapa not only to indulge the eye-catching view of clouds, mountains, forest, and terraced fields, but also find the opportunities to taste Sapa famous food. Among the long list of specialty foods of Sapa, Lao Cai, travellingtovietnam would like to introduce you the most popular ones:
1. Fresh vegetables in the cold region
With the advantage of the cool weather, Sapa is a good place to grow vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, chayote, etc. Fresh vegetables there taste deliciously sweet.
Fresh vegetables in Sapa (Dulichsapa)
2. Salmon and sturgeon
Different from salmon, imported sturgeon usually tastes fatty. Fishes raised in Sapa are firm and not too much fat.
Salmon is a must-eat dish in Sapa (monngonvietnam)
In the cold weather of Sapa, a hotpot of salmon or sturgeon with some fresh veggies will surely bring unforgettable experience in your life. Salmon or sturgeon can be sliced, then grilled or made salad with raw fish, etc.
Fishes raised in Sapa are firm and not too much fat (Dulichsapalaocai)
3. Wild boar (Thit lon cap nach)
Sapa food is famous with different wild meat. Sapa wild boar is the peace of pigs raised by Hmong ethnic people and they wander around their territory. These pigs are carried under people’s armpit to the market for sale. That’s why it has the name “cap nach” pork.
Wild boar (dulichsapa360)
A mature pig weights about 4 - 5 kg. This dish is prepared clean, marinated, and wholly grilled or roasted.
The boar meat is thin, there is just a tiny thin skin layer from its skin to inside the whole piece of meat. Then after that layer is a soft meat layer which is sweet and 2 cm thick. The very inside part of the boar is bones. Its bones are small and edible if they are not tibia parts.
It’s great to eat wild boar with docynia indica wine (a type of small apples) which makes you want to eat and drink all night long without boredom. That is the reason why people call it the best food in Sapa.
4. Grilled food
Maybe the cold weather in Sapa makes the people there always grill every food. They can grill chicken eggs, duck eggs, barbeque skewers, mustard rolls with meat, bamboo-tube rice, corn, potatoes and many dishes that they just make up.
Sapa is famous for many grilled foods (instagram/dung93dtvt)
At the end of day, the barbeque zone near Sapa church attracts most tourists due to the warm space and well tasty Sapa foods which are really suitable for cold weather.
5. Thin-top mushroom
When you go into Sapa market at anytime of the year, you can always buy thin-top mushroom or shiitake mushroom; which costs about 50.000 VND (~2.3 USD) per half a kilo. If you are a gastronomic, you can ask the restaurant to make you stir-fried dish of mushroom and pork or other dishes with mushroom .
Thin-top mushroom in Sapa is more unique than other regions (phuotbiz)
6. Thang co mixed soup
This Sapa food is very famous in the mountainous area. It is made from horse meat, beaf, buffalo and pork. To have a delicious thang co, people have to add many kinds of herbs like cinnamon, anise, cardamon, aromatic leaves, etc.
Thang co mixed soup (dulichvietnam)
It is not easy to describe the special flavor of “Thang Co”. It’s deep sweet, strong flavor and delicious smelling. Tourists can not forget this food from Vietnam if they have ever been by a noisily boiling water pot of “thang co”, enjoying the dish and drinking some shots of corn wine. That feeling is so memorable in such a cold and frostbitten weather.
According to Sapa food guide, the most famous “thang co” restaurant in Sapa is Ma Le which is specialized with “thang co” made from horse meat; or A Quynh restaurant at 015 Thach Son, Sapa.
7. Sapa black chicken
Sapa black chicken is small that each one is about 1.2 kg. It has black skin. For those who have seen this chicken for the first time they may get a little scared.
With this sapa food, people can make many dishes but the delicious one is grilled honey chicken used with mint leaves and lime and pepper salt. If you ever come here but not try this grilled honey chicken that must be missing for a Sapa holiday.
Sapa black chicken is so specaial (dulichsapa365)
8. Dried meat (Khang gai)
Another Sapa famous food is dried meat “Khang gai”. This is made from buffalo, beef, horse or pig which will be hanging at the smoking shelf to be dried.
The meat will be cut into 2 – 3 kg per piece, then string together and hang at the smoking shelf to store. Those kinds of meat when hanging there will be dried gradually and can last for years. When we eat that, we need to clean the soot smell and dust; then put into a pot and stir-fry with tomatoes, bamboo shoot, etc.
Dried meat is really strange to tourists (camnangphuot)
Beside that Sapa food, there are other specialties in Sapa Lao Cai like Bac Ha plum which has green skin, Bac Ha bird-feet shape mushroom, wild meat of Nung Din people, Bac Ha liquor, San Lung liquor, “cuon sui”, steamed corn meal, herbs, “Pau po cu” corn cake, “banh dao” Pau Co, “Pau Plau” rice cake, Tau Lu bean, etc.
More tips to have good prices in Sapa
Customers should preview the menu first to not buy at an unfair price.
If you eat salmon, please be careful. Salmon price is usually around 500.000 vnd per kilo included spice and vegetables and salad. You should show them which fish you pick and ask them make the dish as you want.
Normally a table for 5 -6 people will need 2 kg of salmon is enough. Tourists often call a hotpot and a salmon salad.But 80% of salmon fish is dead because the price of dead fish will be only one third of the living one. They may make fresh fish for salad but sometimes they mix dead fish into hotpot.
Sapa foods are so unique and tasty (phuotbiz)
Some recommend restaurants for tourists:
- Hoang Minh Restaurant (23-24 Sapa cuisine zone, 20m far from the gate): Sapa specialties with reasonable prices.
- Hoa Dao Restaurant (48 Le Van Tam, behind Sao Phuong Bac Hotel): Salmon hotpot.
- Lotus Sapa Restaurant (34 Cau May): Salmon hotpot & delicious foods with affordable prices and it’s always crowded.
- Red Dao Restaurant (4B, Thac Bac, Sapa): Fresh and sweet mushroom soup, salad dishes, grilled shrimps, fried sweet potatoes. Prices are a bit more expensive than some other restaurants.
- Sapa Cuisine Restaurant (Xuan Vien, Sapa): Black chicken hotpot with the cost of around 14 USD.
- La Casa Pizza (07 Muong Hoa, Sapa): The most delicious pizza restaurant in Sapa which also sells western dishes, pasta, Italian baked foods and Sapa specialties as well.