At a local’s recommended, she insisted everyone who visits must try phở chua (sour noodles) at a popular restaurant called Phở Chua Hiền Lương.
The dish consists of rice noodles, julienne cut cucumber and carrots, bean sprouts and pork and Chinese sausage (lap cheong), then topped with roasted peanuts, fried shallots, and fresh herbs, in a delicious broth.
Cost: 35k VND
Address: 📍 Nhà Hàng Phở Chua Hiền Lương, 12 Bạch Đằng, Tp.Hà Giang
Chao Au Tau
If you ask any local what is the dish to try in Ha Giang, most if not all will tell you to try their famous delicacy, chao au tau, also known as “deathly porridge” or “poison porridge”. How has it gotten its reputation?
Cuu tau, also known as the jujube, is the root of the ooc tre, which is actually listed in the poisonous group A list, but it is also a medicinal herb after careful preparation. The taste is really interesting – very aromatic, but also medicinal and bitter tasting. I would highly recommend trying this, especially if you’re feeling under the weather to reap its medicinal benefits!
Address: 📍 Quán Hương Ấu Tẩu, Tổ 5 Trần Hưng Đạo, P. Nguyễn Trãi, Hà Giang, Vietnam.
Bánh cuốn, a staple Vietnamese breakfast dish, is one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes, and is definitely underrated.
Similar to Cantonese cheung fun, these steamed rice rolls typically either have no filling (bánh cuốn chay) or a filling of pork and wood ear mushrooms (bánh cuốn nhan) , both are topped with crispy shallots. It is typically also served with pork patties/sausage (chả), and accompanied with a dipping sauce (nuoc mam) which comprises of fish sauce, vinegar, sugar and fresh chillis. You’ll always find a basket full of fresh herbs served alongside it too to help bring everything together.
Don’t fret if you don’t get to try it, you can sample bánh cuốn in all Vietnamese cities, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.
Address: 📍 Bánh Cuốn Bà Hà, 79H6+GC tt. Đồng Văn, Đồng Văn District, Ha Giang, Vietnam
Lau (hot pot)
Since the North is much cooler and colder than Central and South Vietnam, you’ll find many hot pot restaurants in Ha Giang, translated as ‘lau’ in Vietnamese.
Vietnamese hot pot varies depending on what restaurant you go to, but the standard is there will always serve red meats, fish, tofu, noodles, and vegetables, and of course, fresh herbs.
The H’mong people’s hot pot speciality is Thang Co. Traditionally made with horsemeat, it is now typically made from either cow, buffalo or goats meat, along with aromatics like lemongrass, ginger and cardamom.
You can find this speciality dish at local markets like Cho Dong Van. You’ll be able to locate stalls selling Thang Co very easily, as the stall vendors will be ladling portions from a large cauldron-like pot.
Address: 📍 Dong Van Market, Đồng Văn District, Ha Giang, Vietnam