Traditionally, this is based on the small Paddy Crab found in rice paddies and is an ingenious way to utilize a species which would normally be passed over by western eyes. The crabs are cleaned, crushed into a paste and strained The liquid is used in the stock and the remaining paste used to make crab cakes which are added to the soup. If you are thinking of making this dish at home perhaps substitute shrimp paste at this point. The broth is based on tomato and the crab liquid and cakes further enhanced with rice vinegar, congealed pig blood, water spinach, annatto seeds for colour, banana flowers and green herbs. Look at around 20,000 to 25,000VND.
Add: 27A Biet Thu or 87 Hoang Van Thu
Tel: 058 3821 934 (6am-10am)
BÚN BÒ HUẾ
Like Pho Bo, this dish is a traditional beef noodle soup, but that is where the similarity ends. To an experienced eater of Vietnamese food these dishes are poles apart! Named Bun (noodle), Bo (beef) Hue (it originated in the city Hue) it is a balance of sweet, spicy and salty elements and uses lemongrass as one of the dominant flavour items. The broth is made using beef bones and shanks with lemongrass, then a red chilli oil added later in the process. The beef is in thin slices, and congealed pig blood is often used (remember if this doesn’t appeal ask for it not to be included). Fermented shrimp sauce, sugar, green onions, raw sliced onions, banana blossom, red cabbage and various leafy herbs are all part of the recipe, along with bean sprouts. A sumptuous bowl will cost you VND40.000.
Add: 20A Phan Chu Trinh
Tel: 058 3821 200 (6am – 6pm)
BÚN THỊT NƯỚNG
A dry noodle dish rather than the previous soups this is a real favourite of many western expats. It is traditionally a breakfast and dinner dish, filling, tasty, easy to prepare and available in many street stalls. It isn’t as common as some of the soup dishes and the reader may have to look for it. A good start are the streets around the Xom Moi market where a number of places make it, as do nearly all the stalls above the market itself. It is a cold dish based on white vermicelli noodles, grilled marinated pork, spring rolls, shredded lettuce, peanuts, sprouts, cucumber and fresh herbs. The pork and spring rolls are cut into smallish pieces and the dish dressed with Nuoc Cham, a tasty dipping sauce. The result is a delicious, fresh, slightly spicy and healthy dish.
Add: 163 Hoang Van Thu
Tel: 058 3827 038 (2pm – 10pm)
It is a seafood noodle soup, based on fish and fish cakes. Served hot in a large bowl together with a Banh Mi (bread roll) it is a real treat and usually eaten for breakfast or dinner. Mackerel, the most highly prized fish in these parts is the fish most commonly used and coupled with pieces of minced fish cake, gives a distinctive, but not overpowering seafood flavor. Accompanying the soup is a sauce unique to Nha Trang based on fish sauce, sweetened including mega hot chillies. But take care: Add sparingly to be rewarded with that extra bit of “bite”. The noodles, tiny hard boiled quail eggs (Yum!), spring onions and various herbs round out another fresh and exotic Vietnamese dish. Price ranges from 12,000 to 25,000VND.
Add: Bánh canh Bà Thừa – 55 Yersin
Tel: 058 3560148 (6am- 8:30am)
Bánh canh Cô Hà – 14 Phan Chu Trinh
Tel: 0985 5678168 (7:00am 10:30am)
Without question, Vietnam’s best known dish. It is known across the globe and is even celebrated on T shirts. One can find it served everywhere, from street stalls to 5 star resorts and there is a reason for its popularity. It’s great! Pho, pronounced “fur” is a noodle soup based on beef (bo), chicken (ga) or pork (heo) and is usually served in large wide bowls with plates of accompanying ingredients. In Hanoi to the north, seafood Pho (hai san) is served, but it is rarely found in Nha Trang. The secret lies in the broth and every stall owner will have their own special recipe. The dish will often be served with just the broth beef and noodles and the customer adds the sprouts and other ingredients such as chilli, so a seasoned Pho eater can customize the dish to their own taste. It is VND40.000/bowl.
Add: 112 Bach Dang
Tel: 058 3512 091 (6am – 12pm)
Based on a yellow noodle (colored using turmeric) Mi Quang is named after Quang Nam Province where it originated and is predominately a breakfast and dinner dish and used in a number of ceremonies and festivals.
Shrimp, pork, and fish paste can all be used with a meat or bone based broth. Flavors include fish sauce, black pepper, garlic, peanuts, pork and a number of leafy herbs so frequently employed in Vietnamese cooking. Seen advertised on street stalls across NhaTrang it is easily obtained and like all of these noodle dishes cheap, filling and healthy. A bowl is likely to set you back 25,000 to 30,000VND and sure beats a lot of greasy western fried junk food!
Add: 81 Bach Dang
Tel: 058 3513 466 (6am – 10am)