While the aroma of street foods at the Đà Lạt night market may entice you to spend your entire evening there, don’t. Save your appetite as we’ve got some must visit restaurants to try in Đà Lạt. We use the term restaurant loosely–restaurants in Vietnam are not the typical Western style restaurants–often they’re the bottom floor of someone’s home where the owners lives directly above on the upper levels of the home.
The first spot, Bánh Xèo Bà Chi specializes in central style banh xeo. Unlike it’s southern counter part, central banh xeo are much smaller, almost deep fried, and as a result, much more crispy. To get here, you have to go through a small alley way and enter through the kitchen.
Yes, you walk right past the grand daughter cooking banh xeo to order and the matriarch, Bà Chi herself, deep frying chả giò to a prefect crisp and golden consistency. This family restaurant has been in business for years and well known among locals.
Walk thruough to the living room and grab a table. Order several platefuls of banh xeo (only $1 each!) and plate of chả giò (both come with all the vegatble and herb fixings) and you’ll be all the more happy for it. Visit Bánh Xèo Bà Chi at 43B, 3 tháng 2 hẻm thủy tiên.
Across town near the old French quarter is Phúc Nguyên, a restaurant specializing in goat 7 ways de 7 món. Similar to the famous beef 7 ways, de 7 món is a very popular and festive meal in Vietnam for special occasions. The best goats in Vietnam are found in the mountainous region of Ninh Binh in Northern Vietnam and but also in Đà Lạt with it’s hilly mountain sides. You can order specific items from the 7 courses of goat and not obligated to order all 7 courses, but if you did, it won’t set you back much at all as most dishes are around $5. Steamed de hấp and grilled de nướng (above) is was fantastic without any significant gaminess.
The best way to enjoy these meats is top with some citrus-y herbs on bánh đa rice cracker with touch of of pungent sauce of shrimp paste, pickled garlic, slivers of lemongrass, chile and lime. Or you can wrap these meats in rice paper as well.
The goat hot pot, lẩu de, is a gamey and dark broth of made goat knuckles and long bones, with chunks of fall of the bone meat and tendon . It comes with the requisite plateful of herbs vegetables and varietal of noodles and eggs to lighten the dish.
The owner is actually an Indian immigrant to Vietnam decades ago and specializes in curried goat cà ri de and sauteed turmeric de xào lăn. Both are stand outs, rich in flavor standing up to the goat meat.
Make sure you go early in the evening as this place tends to get packed with large groups of families and friends ready to celebrate and enjoy a great evening of food and camraderie. Phúc Nguyên 32Trần Hưng Đạo.