Located on the high Hoang Lien Son range with overlapping mountains and immense green maple forest, Sapa is an ideal destination for those who love to explore and experience unique cuisine. This place is not only famous for its majestic natural scenery but also an attractive destination with many attractive and unique culinary specialties, conquering even the most demanding diners. Let’s learn about the specialties of the foggy city with Golden Lotus Travel.
- Thang Co
Thang Co is a traditional dish of the Hmong ethnic group in Sapa, Northern Vietnam. It is a special stew made from various ingredients such as beef, buffalo meat, horse offal, and cooked with special spices, along with the unique flavors of the mountainous region, creating a rich and flavorful dish. It is often served with broken rice or flat rice noodles, creating a harmonious balance between the tender and sweet pork, delicious broth, and the unique flavors of cố leaves and fresh herbs.
Thang Co is not only a delicious dish but also carries cultural and traditional values of the Hmong people in Sapa. It is a unique culinary experience for tourists visiting the Sapa mountainous region.
- Lam rice
Lam rice is a typical dish of the Hmong ethnic group in Sapa, Vietnam. It is a rice dish cooked inside bamboo tubes, carrying the natural flavors of glutinous rice, pork, spices, and bamboo leaves.
To make Lam rice, rice is placed inside bamboo tubes and roasted until cooked. On a flaming red charcoal stove, the bamboo tubes are rotated evenly to ensure that the rice is cooked evenly, resulting in soft and smooth rice grains with a fragrant aroma. This dish is definitely a must-try when visiting Sapa, as it will transport you to the picturesque scenery of terraced rice fields with the natural flavors that the rice brings.
- Men Men
Men Men is a handmade corn cake, without any added spices, which retains the sweet, chewy, and fragrant flavors of corn. The best Men Men is made from traditional corn varieties. After two rounds of steaming, the Men Men becomes soft and fluffy and is scooped into bowls, which can be eaten on its own or with fish sauce. At the Phien markets, this dish is also added to broth for pho or noodles, or combined with other ingredients to create various dishes with different flavors. Eating a bit of Men Men with the broth, you will taste the natural and delicious flavors of the mountains and forests. Gradually, this dish has become not only an essential part of the Hmong people’s meals but also a specialty in Sapa.
- “Cap Nach” Pig
“Cap Nach” Pig, or Armpit Pig is a unique dish in Sapa, where pigs are allowed to roam freely in the mountains, feeding on various wild plants and roots, giving them a distinct flavor. The name “Armpit Pig” comes from the traditional way of carrying the piglets under the armpit to avoid scaring them, which results in lean and tender meat with a unique taste. The piglets are roasted whole over a charcoal fire until crispy and golden brown, and the meat is often served with fresh herbs, rice, and dipping sauces, creating a flavorful and satisfying meal. This dish is a popular specialty in Sapa and is enjoyed by both locals and tourists alike.
- Rainbow sticky rice
This is a dish of the people in the highlands – the Nung Din ethnic group, and it is also a traditional dish that serves as a spiritual reminder of the soldiers who fought against foreign invaders in the past, bringing peace to this land. True to its name, the sticky rice has seven colors, including red, bright red, pink, light blue, green, light green, and yellow. To create the colors for the sticky rice, local people use various types of natural forest leaves, which help you experience all the unique flavors that are characteristic of the mountain forest. However, to be able to cook such a colorful and vibrant dish of rainbow sticky rice is not simple at all, it requires the unique recipes, meticulousness of the Nung Din people, and precise proportions to achieve.
- Black Chicken (Ac Chicken)
Black chicken, also known as “Ac Chicken” in Sapa, is considered a special dish with high nutritional value and is popular in the local cuisine as well as in Sapa tourism. The meat of black chicken is often used to cook dishes such as grilled chicken, stewed chicken, stir-fried chicken, braised chicken, and can be processed into many other delicious dishes. In addition, black chicken is also highly regarded for its folk medicinal value, believed to have health-boosting and healing properties.
In Sapa, the most popular way to enjoy black chicken is by grilling it with honey. The skin of the chicken is crispy, the meat is tender and flavorful, and when eaten with salt, pepper, lime, or mint leaves, it definitely provides a memorable culinary experience in the land of fog.
- Smoked buffalo meat
Smoked buffalo meat is a famous specialty and is known as a favorite dish in Sapa that many people love. This dish originated from the habit of preserving meat on rainy days of the local people here.
When you taste it, you will find that the meat is quite tough to chew, but after it softens, it will have a sweet flavor of buffalo meat, slightly chewy, making the easter fall in love. Smoked buffalo meat leaves a lasting impression due to its very distinctive flavor, not too spicy, but you will feel a slight tingling sensation on the tip of your tongue, not too strong, but it lingers for a long time, making you remember this flavor forever. This would be an ideal choice as a gift for family and friends when visiting Sapa.
- Bitter Bamboo Shoots Spring Rolls
This is a dish made from bitter bamboo shoots, a special type of bamboo shoots with a characteristic bitter taste, processed according to the traditional recipe of the Tay ethnic group. The filling of the spring rolls is made from minced young chicken meat, bones, and cartilage, mixed with Chinese chives, galangal, and various spices. The mixture is then wrapped in rice paper and deep-fried until crispy. The bitter bamboo shoots spring rolls are typically served with a dipping sauce made from fish sauce, sugar, garlic, chili, and lime juice. The combination of the crispy spring rolls and the savory, slightly bitter taste of the bamboo shoots creates a unique and delicious flavor that is worth trying when visiting the region.
- Sapa Salmon
With its cool temperate climate, Sapa is an ideal place for salmon farming. Unlike other types of salmon from other regions or imports, salmon in Sapa has firm, fresh, and sweet flesh with no fat, a soft and unique texture. Here, salmon is prepared in a variety of ways, from steamed, salad, fried, sashimi, or hotpot, accompanied by various fresh vegetables from the Northwest.
- Khau Nhuc
A Chinese-origin dish that is well-known in the Northwestern mountainous region for its rich flavor. Sapa’s delicious dish is made from braised pork with mint leaves, five-spice powder, garlic, chili, and served with steamed rice, which is perfect. This dish is commonly seen during Tet (Lunar New Year). The fragrant and fatty taste of pork belly combined with the saltiness of preserved mustard greens, along with hot steamed rice, will warm your heart in the cold weather.
Above is Golden Lotus Travel ‘s honest sharing of culinary experiences in Sapa, but there are still many other specialties that you should try. Come to Sapa, enjoy unique culinary experiences and discover the unique cultural beauty of this highland land.