For any first-time visitor to one of Vietnam’s most beautiful coastal cities, sampling great Nha Trang dishes is a must-do. Not only can you enjoy an array of fresh seafood, Nha Trang also offers quintessential Vietnamese recipes such as spring rolls and curries with its own special take.
Nha Trang dishes have a distinctive sweet and savoury flavour, where fish sauce is always served as a dipping sauce. Unique delicacies such as jellyfish are also readily available everywhere, from stalls in vibrant street markets to local restaurants in the area, perfect for adventurous eaters. Here are our top 10 must-try foods in Nha Trang, from traditional Vietnamese pho noodles to Nha Trang’s interpretation of steak and eggs.
Hai San (Seafood)
In Vietnamese, Hai san is essentially seafood, and Nha Trang is chock full of seafood eateries set along sandy white beaches. You can find an array of giant prawns, squid, urchins, crabs, jellyfish, and shellfish of all shapes and sizes, supported by local fishing villages.
Seafood is priced by weight, where you can select live or frozen sea creatures of your choosing. You can have it steamed, barbecued, grilled, or prepared in a hotpot once the price has been confirmed. Highly recommended dishes include pan-fried squid in tomato sauce with pork stuffing, grilled red snapper and tamarind sauce shrimp.
Nem Nuong (Fermented Pork Roll)
Nem nuong is a fermented grilled pork roll that is normally eaten with pickled green papaya, sweet and spicy fish sauce, and raw herbs. Patrons are sometimes served with platters of fermented pork grilled on a coal brazier, lettuce leaves, rice paper, fresh herbs, chillies, rice vermicelli, and garlic in local restaurants in Nha Trang.
You can easily customize your nem nuong according to your own preference and we highly recommend forgoing cutlery and for a more authentic dining experience, enjoy your wraps with fingers.
Bun Cha Sua
Given the six-kilometre coastline of Nha Trang, it’s no surprise that one of its must-try delicacies is bun cha sua. In a sweet and savoury fish broth, the dish contains rice vermicelli, jellyfish, and steamed sailfish fillet, while some restaurants incorporate lobster, shrimp and pork to the ensemble.
You can find many vendors selling bun cha sua at Bach Dang Street and Nha Trang Street Markets, a popular breakfast among locals. Banh canh cha ca, which comes with thick noodles and generous slices of fish cakes, is another variation.
Bo Ne (Nha Trang Beef Steak)
Bo ne, which is the Vietnamese version of steak and eggs, is another local favorite for breakfast. Sizzling cuts such as skirt steak, served in a hotplate, are marinated in different spices and come with a dollop of pate, eggs, and chili sauce. Seasonings, toasted baguettes, and a small serving of fresh greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and vinegar are also added.
Enjoy it the local way by dipping the beef in a mix of lime, salt, and pepper sauce and using the baguette to polish off the remaining egg yolk and pate from the hotplate.
Banh Cuon (Rolled Cake)
Banh cuon is a Vietnamese spring roll that contains ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, and onions, and eaten with Vietnamese ham (cha lua), steamed beansprouts, and cucumbers. Found in several street markets, this typical Vietnamese dish is often topped with shrimp floss, cilantro, and herbs, with a sweet-sour dipping sauce made with fish extract, lime, and chilli. Banh cuon is sold at street markets and local restaurants in Nha Trang, and you can get many parts in a dish, ideal for a light breakfast. The ingredients are loosely wrapped in a steamed rice flour crepe.
Nem nurong or Vietnamese grilled pork sausage can be enjoyed in many ways, whether as a snack, appetiser, or accompanied with rice or noodles. The pork meat is deeply marinated for several hours in a paste made with garlic, sugar, and black pepper before grilling. It is then pounded into a paste and, when well cooked, wrapped around bamboo and grilled. Nem nurong is also served with a plate of fresh herbs, pickled vegetables, and rice paper to wrap all the ingredients together, with a touch of sweetness in the taste.
Banh can comprises crispy rice cake topped with your choice of quail egg, fresh or dried meat and seafood. The pork meat is deeply marinated for several hours in a paste made with garlic, sugar, and black pepper before grilling. It is then pounded into a paste and, when well cooked, wrapped around bamboo and grilled. Nem nurong is also served with a plate of fresh herbs, pickled vegetables, and rice paper to wrap all the ingredients together, with a touch of sweetness in the taste.
Ca ri ga
Ca ri ga is a type of Vietnamese curry that’s served with rice, noodles, or warmed baguette. Though in the development of Vietnamese curries, India, Cambodia, and Thailand play an important role, Vietnamese flavors are considerably milder and lighter, perfect for lunch or a light dinner in Nha Trang. A mixture of chicken, carrots, sweet potatoes, ginger, and peas cooked in a rich coconut curry sauce is made from Ca ri ga.
A savoury crepe-like pancake made of rice flour, coconut milk, and turmeric is Banh xeo. This Nha Trang delicacy is best eaten with broccoli, herbs and sweet fermented peanut butter sauce, pan fried along with a range of ingredients such as pork slices, shrimps, sliced onions, bean sprouts, and button mushrooms.
Great as a snack or appetiser, rice papers are sometimes used by local restaurants to wrap banh xeo with the accompanying condiments.