As in the rest of Vietnam, the best way to experience the local culture in Halong Bay is through your taste buds. As soon as travellers arrive in Halong City, Cat Ba Island or simply step upon their Junk Boat Cruise, the same desperate plea can be heard ‘when are we going to eat’? Don’t worry about the when, as food is a huge part of Vietnamese culture and you’re likely to be offered food almost constantly, it’s time now to think about the what. To help you choose where and what to eat, here is a short Halong Bay Guide for Food Lovers.
Halong Bay Market
As well as some incredible foods to be had, Halong Bay offers some truly unique food experiences. Markets in South East Asia are unlike markets anywhere else in the world. All of humanity comes together here to buy, sell and barter goods, many of which are edible. As well as the usual souvenirs, a small amount of them made by local people, many of them flown in from China, there is a huge buffet of exotic delicacies for you to try. Stock up on snacks before you head off to join your cruise or move on to the next leg of your journey.
Breakfast on the Boats
For many breakfast is a hastily slurped bowl of cereal, or pho depending on your culture, followed by a quick cup of tea on your way out of the door. During your Halong Bay Cruise one of the most magical and enjoyable dining experiences you will have is breakfast on your boat. A sleepy morning out on the misty waters of the bay is a great time to reflect on your trip so far over a steaming bowl of the local fish or vegetable pho.
Enjoying a BBQ in one of the many caves surrounding Halong Bay is a luxurious experience, usually only offered by the most expensive cruise packages. It may seem like an awful lot of trouble for the staff of your cruiser to get everything necessary for a BBQ dinner to the cave and an awful lot of trouble for you to get there, but, really, it couldn’t be simpler and tends to run like clockwork. And eating your seafood BBQ with conversation bouncing off the walls of an ancient cave is an experience not to be missed.
- I could stay in Halong Bay forever
- Halong Bay for Culture Vultures
Halong Bay Seafood
Speaking of seafood, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the majority of Halong Bay’s delicacies are caught fresh in the surrounding seas. Many people in Halong Bay make their living from the seafood industry; fishermen and their families, market sellers and restaurants all rely on your adventurous palette. Restaurants buy their seafood from floating villages where the creatures are cultivated using traditional and effective techniques. The seafood put on your plate in Halong Bay, whether served on your Halong Bay boat tour or one of the area’s many floating restaurants, will be some of the freshest and best quality seafood you have even tasted.
If you’re not a seasoned eater of underwater creatures, squid sausage is a good place to start. A deep fried patty made from minced squid and mystery spices, squid sausage is a favourite Halong Bay delicacy amongst locals and tourists alike.
Ngan is the name for a mollusc that, although found all over the Vietnam Coast, is best known as hailing from Halong Bay. Ngan are similar to clam but are bigger with a rougher shell and are quite rare outside of Vietnam. Most chefs will grill or steam Ngan and add it to stir fry, sushi or rice porridge. Ngan wine is another delicacy for the slightly more adventurous diner. To make the wine, your must open the Ngan shell and let the mollusc’s blood flow into a strong liquor which is then boiled before serving.
Another mollusc famous for Halong Bay is the blood cockle, found in Yen Hung region. With hard, rough shells like the Ngan, blood cockles have blood-red and highly nutritious meat and are often stir-fried, grilled or cooked with rice porridge. In order to get the most nutrition and the best taste from the blood cockle, many chefs will fast-boil them with crushed lemongrass.
Tu Hai Snails
A speciality of the Van Don District, Tu Hai snails sometimes referred to as Snail Spout. I definitely prefer the more exotic and appetising name of Tu Hai Snails, but either way these snails are very rare and as a result can be very expensive. Normally served grilled with oil and onions, Tu Hai snails can be baked or steamed and, if properly prepared, even served raw.Let start a wonderful year of 2017 with Vietnam tour packages that AsiaTourAdvisor offers. Please contact us via phone at (84) 4 3926 3858 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and book cultural trips with best prices and services.