The best Da Lat dishes are made with fresh produce and meat that are sourced from ethnic farms around the hill town. Blessed with a cool central highland climate, just about anything can be grown there, not just tropical vegetables and fruits. Some of the best foods here include strawberries, asparagus, artichokes, grapes, tea, and coffee.
If you’re around Xuan Huong Lake, try out the many street food stalls along the lakefront. Da Lat Night Market is also one of the best places to enjoy authentic yet inexpensive dishes during your stay. The most popular way to start the day is with a crispy baguette and meatball soup, along with hot soybean milk. Check out our guide of must-try dishes in Da Lat, which includes a dessert to end each meal on a sweet note.
1. Banh Mi Xiu Mai (Vietnamese Baguette with Meatball Soup)
Banh mi is typically a crispy baguette with a variety of fillings. When you’re in Da Lat, it’s actually a bowl of meatballs that’s served with bread on the side. These flavourful meatballs are made with minced mushroom, onion, garlic, ground pork, and local spices, before being cooked in a hearty tomato-based broth. Priced between 10,000 and 20,000, we highly recommend enjoying banh mi xiu mai in the morning as it’s a light yet warming way to start the day.
2. Banh Canh (Noodle Soup)
Banh canh is a hearty noodle soup made with simmered pork meat and bones. Well-loved for its warming properties, this dish typically comes with a generous amount of thick tapioca rice noodles, green onions, cilantro, and pork slices. You can also enjoy it with quail eggs, fried spring rolls, fish cakes, or fish ball, if you’re not a fan of pork. Most local restaurants in Da Lat serve banh canh for about VND 15,000 per bowl. As with most dishes in Vietnam, a platter of fresh greens is served on the side.
3. Bun Bo (Beef Rice Noodle Soup)
Bun bo or beef rice noodle soup originates from Hue, but travellers can find this dish in many Da Lat restaurants. Located along Ly Thuong Kiet Street, local eatery Quan Bun Bo Hue serves the best bun bo in Da Lat. Spicier than pho, this dish consists of rice vermicelli, sprouts, banana buds, beef slices, red pepper flakes, and lemongrass. A small bowl costs VND 35,000 but we highly recommend paying an extra VND 10,000 to get a more substantial amount of beef in your dish.
4. Banh Uot Long Ga (Wet Rice Cake With Boiled Chicken)
The English translation for banh uot long ga may sound unappetising, but it’s widely regarded as Da Lat’s most popular street food. Priced at VND 20,000 upwards, you get a plate of chewy rice cakes topped with boiled chicken meat and innards, as well as bean sprouts and fresh basil. Some road stalls in Da Lat also offer banh uot with Vietnamese pork roll and nem chua (fermented pork sausage). Make sure to add some fish dipping sauce and chilli flakes for added flavour.
5. Banh Trang Kep (Grilled Rice Paper With Egg)
Banh trang kep is known as Vietnamese pizza, and comprises of grilled rice paper with a variety of toppings and sauces. When you’re exploring Da Lat Night Market, look out for local vendors grilling this tasty snack on miniature charcoal stoves. Priced between VND 10,000 and VND 25,000, toppings include eggs, spring onions, dried shrimp, cheese, pate, dried beef, sweet sauce, and mayonnaise.
6. Nem Nuong (Fermented Pork Roll)
Nem nuong is fermented pork roll that’s served with dipping sauce, pickled green papaya, and raw herbs. It’s typically grilled over a charcoal stove, resulting in a smoky flavour. Enjoy it like the locals by wrapping all of the ingredients into a piece of rice paper before dipping it into the sauce, which is made with fish sauce, ground liver, prawn, pork, and peanuts. A generous platter of nem nuong costs about VND 40,000 at a sit-down restaurant in Da Lat.
7. Kem Dau Tay (Strawberry Ice Cream)
Strawberry ice cream is a must-try in Da Lat, even if you’re visiting during the cold months. Thanks to its cool climate, the hills around the town are teeming with lush strawberry farms, so it’s no surprise to see fresh strawberries served on cakes, waffles, smoothies, and ice cream. You can find the best patisseries, cafés, and dessert shops in Da Lat City Centre, especially along Nguyen Chi Thanh Street.
8. Xap Xap (Dried Beef Salad)
Xap xap consists of sliced beef jerky, green papaya, peanuts, and mint leaves, with a healthy drizzle of fish sauce. This light salad is a variation of goi kho bo, which is commonly found in Ho Chi Minh City. In Da Lat, xap xap is topped with seasoned pork or beef innards, but you can easily ask the cook to omit these if you’re not a fan. The best place to enjoy this dish is Xuan Huong Lake, where you can find dozens of roadside stalls by the lakefront.
9. Oc Buou Nhoi Thit (Vietnamese Escargot)
Oc buou nhoi thit is thought to be influenced by the French, as it’s made with freshwater snails. This unique dish is prepared by removing the snail’s meat from its shell and mixing it with ground pork, garlic, and lemongrass. The mixture and a lemongrass stalk are then stuffed into the shells and steamed for a few minutes. It’s also served with a side of fermented fish sauce for dipping.
10. Soybean Milk
Soybean milk is Da Lat’s most popular drink, and can be enjoyed all year round. You can see locals and travellers sipping hot soybean milk in the evening, especially while strolling through Da Lat Night Market. We also love pairing it with chao quay (deep-fried breadsticks) or croissants for a filling breakfast.