Known as “Dalat of Northern Vietnam”, Sapa is a famous and favorite tourist attraction for both domestic visitors and foreigners. It impresses tourist not only by its stunning landscapes or cool weather but the diversified and unique culture of ethnic minorities as well. Let’s have a look at the top 10 amazing foods that you should not miss in Sapa.

1. Thang Co (Thắng Cố)

Thang Co is the traditional food of Hmong people and is believed to have first appeared more than 200 years ago. Thang Co is a type of soup which is made of horsemeat, horse’s viscera and horse’s bone. You might feel a little bit panic-stricken when hearing about the ingredients but that feeling will be blown away once you taste it. Cooking this dish not only requires time but also the skill of cooks. The seasonings comprise of 12 spices from cardamon, ginger, citronella, anise to cinnamon twig.

The locals stew horsemeat with these 12 spices in a big pot within a couple of hours. To elevate the flavor of Thang Co soup, they serve it with fresh vegetable and a special red hot pepper name Muong Khuong.

Where to eat?

A Quynh restaurant

Add: 15 Thach Son st, Sapa district

Opening hours: 7.00 am – 22.00 pm
Contact: (+84) 214 3871 555

Moment Romantic Restaurant
Address: 26 Muong Hoa Street, Sapa Town
Hours: 6:30 AM – 10 PM
Contact: (+84) 902 021 002

A Nguyen Restaurant
Address: Xuan Nguyen Street, Sapa Town
Hours: 9 AM – 10 PM

How to get to Sapa? 

2. Sapa Cap Nach Pork (Thịt heo cặp nách Sapa)

Cap Nach pork is a specialty of this mountainous region. The ways to make this dish is diverse. The locals usually roast a whole pig directly on charcoal so that the skin covering the pork is very brittle while the pork inside is very delicious and fleshy. Others stir-fry the pork with little or no water and herbs. Roasted thit lon cap nach turns the color of honey, its skin is brittle and the meat inside is soft and sweet. No matter how do you cook it, make sure the pork is soft with a hint of spicy.

Where to eat?

Anh Dung Restaurant
Address: 69 Xuan Vien Street, Sapa Town
Hours: 8 AM – 10:30 PM
Contact: (+84) 91 960 1499

Hoang Minh Restaurant
Address: 22-23 Sapa Food Court (at the corner of Xuan Vien Street and Fansipan Street)
Hours: 9 AM – 10 PM
Contact: (+84) 98 368 4666

A Quynh Restaurant
Address: 15 Thach Son Street, Sapa Town
Hours: 7 AM – 10:30 PM
Contact: (+84) 214 3871 555

Sapa Grilling Area
Address: Cau May Street, Sapa Town
Hours: in the evening.

Where to stay in Sapa? 

 

3. Pau Play Day Cake

Pau play day cake has been in Viet Nam for a long time since the Hung King. Time flies, the cooking manner has been changed but the original taste of Pau Play Day cake still remains.

This cake is made of glutinous rice and green peas. This white round cake is not easy to make as it looks. Choosing the best glutinous rice is the most important part of all. The rice needs to be dried out carefully. Then, it is soaked in water for 2 hours and steamed till the rice well done. Afterward, soaked rice is poured into a big wooden rice polisher and grind until well-kneaded, viscid and sticky. The filling is made from green peas which softly and smoothly is ground. When you break into the cake, you could see a beautiful green mixture inside.

Where to eat?

Pau play day cake is often sold by street vendors in the morning or you can find it in markets.

 

4. Salmon Sour Hotpot

Fish, more importantly, salmon fish in a mountainous region as Sapa? It's like a joke, right?

But it's not!

Sapa has extremely cool weather all year round and the water here is pretty cold that is suitable for salmon to exist. It's explained why salmon sour hot pot is a familiar food to local people. The food has a timeless quality. No matter when you enjoy this hot pot, your eyes will littery light up talking about the dish.

The real star of the hot bot is its broth. It's a combination of several vegetable types and freshly caught salmon. Unlike other fish, salmon brings to diners an elegant and delicate flavor. Nestle up to a restaurant on Sapa hill road and make an order of salmon sour hot pot, your heart beat is just a little bit faster.

Where to eat?

Hoa Dao restaurant

Add: 48 Le Van Tam st, Sapa

Opening hours: 9.00 am-10.00 pm

Lotus Sapa

Add: 34 Cau May, Sapa

Opening hours: 9.00 am-10.00 pm

 

5. Bamboo sticky rice (Cơm lam)

This is a cheap and delicious specialty of Sapa. Com means rice, lam is a word used by the Thai tribe, meaning fried. Com lam means fried rice, but this rice is special because it’s fried in bamboo tubes. Every restaurant and food stall in Sapa offers this dish.

Vietnamese have more than an obsession with rice. You can tase several kinds of rice along the way.

Bamboo sticky rice in Sapa is an abnormal version of rice. Different from others, it is absolutely cooked in bamboo sections. Local people spend hours on collecting the bamboo then cleaning and chopping them into small sections at about 30 centimeters in length. The locals' mix rice with a little bit of salt then they stuff up bamboo with salty rice. Don't forget the water used to cook this dish. It's brought from the streams which are fresh and a little bit sweet. The biggest secret here is that you need to resolve the bamboo sections while grilling.

Where to eat?

Khu Do Nuong (BBQ area)

Add: Along Cau May st, Sapa

Opening hours: 4.00 pm – 10.00 pm

A Quynh Restaurant
Address: 15 Thach Son Street, Sapa Town
Hours: 7 AM – 10:30 PM
Contact: (+84) 214 3871 555

Sapa Grilling Area
Address: Cau May Street, Sapa Town
Hours: in the evening.

Bon Mua Restaurant
Address: 9 Thac Bac Street, Sapa Town
Hours: 6:30 AM – 11 PM
Contact: (+84) 214 3771 125

What to explore in Sapa? 

 

6. Brook fish

Apart from salmon, brook fish is also a popular and favorite dish of both local people and tourists. Normally the locals just grill brook fish directly on the charcoal. Step by step, the fishy smell will not be anymore. Instead, it's now crunchy, greasy, and packed full of tastiness.

Where to eat?

Hoang Minh restaurant

Add: number 23-24 Sapa food court (the corner of Xuan Vien st and Thac Bac st)

Opening hours: 9.00 am- 10.00 pm.

 

7. Tao Meo wine - a local whiskey of H’mong

Tao Meo wine is a popular and original wine of H’moong people. It is made from fruits of Tao Meo tree - a kind of tree grows naturally on Hoang Lien Son Mountain. It blooms at the end of spring in autumn so you can buy the fresh Tao Meo fruit from August to October. It serves up an amazing natural wine flavor for those who are seeking something unique in the mountainous region. Tao Meo wine comes perfect with unbelievably good brook fish.

Tao Meo wine originated from the H’mong people and it’s very popular in Sapa as well as northwestern Vietnam. As the name suggests, it’s made from Tao Meo, Assam apple, a kind of apple grown naturally on Hoang Lien Son Mountain. It’s harvested from August to October and you can buy fresh Assam apple at that time, although it’s mostly used to make wine.

To make Tao Meo wine, Assam apples are soaked in water and kept covered for days before fermentation. The wine is extracted after six to eight months. You can taste the natural flavor of the wine unique to this mountainous area. Tao Meo wine is the perfect friend to join you on your food adventures of Sapa.

Where to drink/ buy?

Rendez Vous Restaurant
Address: 6 Muong Hoa Street, Sapa Town
Hours: 9 AM – 10 PM

Hoang Minh Restaurant
Address: 22-23 Sapa Food Court (at the corner of Xuan Vien Street and Fansipan Street)
Hours: 9 AM – 10 PM
Contact: (+84) 98 368 4666

Rendez-Vous Restaurant

Add: 06 Muong Hoa st, Sapa

Opening hours: 9.00 am -10.00 pm

 

8. Khang Gai Dried Meat

Sapa is famous for dried meat especially dried buffalo meat. As the name refers, meat is well dried with the addition of seasoning. Each dried part of meat weighs about 2 kilos and can be stored for years. Khang Gai dried meat hosts a unique taste that can't be seen in anywhere of Vietnam. If you are a finger food lover, this food is created for you.

Where to eat?

Fansipan Restaurant

Add: 25 Cau May, Sapa

Opening hours: 9.00 am – 10.00 pm

 

9. Black Mushroom

Be favored by nature, Sapa has a wonderful climate that many kinds of temperate plants grow and black forest mushroom is a typical one. Local cooking scientists always know how to take advantage of their natural plants to make outstanding foods. People stir fry mushroom with pork while others use it as a main component for hot-pot. On any cool day of a year, a plate of stir-fried black mushroom will melt your heart.

Where to eat?

Red Dao

Add: 4B, Thac Bac st, Sa Pa.

Top tours in Sapa now 

 

10. Black Chicken

Black chicken is a kind of small chicken with dark skin. The locals here usually graze these black chickens naturally so the chicken is quite tough and tasty. You can enjoy black chickens processed in many different ways but the best recommendation is the chicken soaked in honey then grilled directly on the charcoal. It's more flavorful if you eat the chicken with a mixture of salt, pepper and lime juice.

It is said that when you visit Sapa, there is one thing you should not skip: trying the black chicken, one of the most delicious foods of Sapa.

In Sapa, black chickens rove free range, just like the pigs eaten in Thit Lon Cap Nach. The locals let the chickens feed themselves with natural food in the area, so their meat is fragrant and delicious, though the chicken itself is quite small. A black chicken just weighs approximately 1.2 kilograms and wears a delicate coat of black feathers.

Black chicken can be cooked into many dishes through frying, boiling, and steaming. However, I highly recommend eating grilled black chicken marinated with honey. After it soaks in honey, the chicken will be grilled directly on the charcoal. The sweetness of the meat and of the honey combine, giving you an unforgettable experience.

Where to eat?

Hoa Dao Restaurant:
Address: 48 Le Van Tam Street, Sapa Town
Hours: 9 AM – 10 PM
Contact: (+84) 214 3873 055

Sapa Cuisine Restaurant
Address: 17 Xuan Vien Street, Sapa Town
Hours: 6:30 AM – 9 PM
Contact: (+84) 91 328 7981

Hoa Dao restaurant

Add: 48 Le Van Tam st, Sapa

Opening hours: 9.00 am-10.00 pm

Sapa Cuisine Restaurant

Add: 17 Xuan Vien, Sapa

Opening hours: 9.00 am- 10.00 pm

When it comes to food, it's not only about the stunning dishes you have for a meal. It's the people and stories behind the food. Among tens of cuisine suggestion for a mountainous trip to Sapa, these above-mentioned dishes are what you should take consideration for a memorable food trip. Let’s backpack and have a great trip to Sapa