Dalat is the most famous hilly province in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Discovered and nourished into a luxury summer retreat by the French colonists, Dalat today is one of the most sought-after destinations in Vietnam.
Thanks to the cool and mild weather all year round, Dalat has an abundant food scene that will wake up your taste buds and have you crave for more. I know you can find tons of travel magazines listing down must-try delicacies in Dalat upon your visit. But I’m here today to give you five overlooked authentic dishes that no one has ever told you before! So, let’s dive right in and get yourself ready to eat like a real Dalat local!
Dalat – A Place to Remember
The former French colonial hill station found up in the Annamite Mountains isn’t exactly what you could call mind-blowing. However, if one digs a little deeper, what attracts most are in the minute details that most would surely miss.
Dalat’s elevation contributes to the cool climate, making it ideal for raising crops. The abundance of vegetation earned its moniker as the “Vegetable Garden of the South”. Experience the worthy reputation of Dalat’s cuisine from the variety of local restaurants serving nothing but the best.
5 Lesser-Known Dishes in Dalat You Gotta Try Today
Avocado Ice-cream at Thanh Thao Dessert Store (Vietnamese Name: Kem Bơ)
Surely after you’ve eaten your fill, you might ask, what’s for dessert? Here in Dalat you’ll find the freshest of avocados in the entire country.
Avocado ice cream in Dalat is one of those things you’ll regret missing if you don’t try while visiting the city.
Preparing this legendary dessert is actually quite simple. First off, the best avocados are chosen, peeled and then mixed with a scoop of coconut ice-cream. And that’s it! All that’s left is for you to enjoy the creamy texture served in a glass of happiness!
Thanh Thao Dessert: 76 Nguyen Van Troi, Ward 2, Dalat.
Artichoke Soup at Tam Dac Restaurant (Vietnamese Name: Canh Atiso)
Though artichokes aren’t native to Vietnam, this crop made its way to the provinces of Dalat, Sapa, and Tam Dao. Brought by the French during the 20th century, it has been used to make tea and stock.
Vietnamese cuisine that incorporates the use of this ingredient makes the food distinctly delectable and flavorful. The flower bud goes well when paired with pork leg when served in a hearty bowl of soup.1!
Depending on the preparation, grilled artichokes exude a sweeter and smoky flavor. However, eating it boiled will produce a mild and nutty profile instead. Whichever method used, it will definitely leave you craving for more tender pork legs and broth to eat with it!
Tam Dac Restaurant: 199 Phu Dong Thien Vuong, Ward 8, Dalat.
Chicken Hot Pot with Clove Basil Leaf at 668 Restaurant (Vietnamese name: Lẩu Gà Lá É)
Lẩu gà Lá É is famous in the mountain city of Dalat. Clove basil leaf is a type of herb that is quite similar to basil, which adds to its slightly sour flavor. The fragrant and clove-like spice strongly complements the sour taste in this cuisine. It gives the needed energy boost you deserve during sundown as it will certainly come knocking your senses.
The soup is also touted as a medical remedy of sorts for those with the common cold. Chicken meat is prepared tender and it goes a long way when paired with either rice or egg noodles.
Although the dish is quite well-known, not many restaurants offer the cuisine, maybe due to the preparation time.
But if by chance you do spot it on the menu, don’t skip out! The combination of the soup’s sourness and tender chicken will leave you eating till you finish the last drop!
668 Restaurant: 2 Chu Van An, Ward 3, Dalat.
Stuffed Snails at Quan 33 Restaurant (Vietnamese Name: Ốc Nhồi)
Quan 33 restaurant located at 175 Hai Ba Trung Street and their glorious barbeque feast will make the get-together fun! Try it yourselves and let the aroma pull you in upon arriving at the place!
The mouthwatering fragrance of ginger, garlic, chili and lemongrass is irresistible as it sizzles over marinated beef grilled to perfection. Once served, pack it with lettuce and herbs unto little rice-paper wraps. We bet that you’ll lose count how many you eat!
But that’s not all, there’s also giant prawn sizzling over hot coal, and wait till you taste the snails! The snail is extracted from the shell, mixed with minced pork and lemongrass, and then stuffed back into the shell.
It is then steamed until fully cooked and goes perfectly well without saying, a glass of ice-cold beer. If this is your idea of a fun and affordable dinner, excellent service and with everyone leaving stuffed, then head over to Quan 33 right away!
Quan 33 Restaurant: 175 Hai Ba Trung, Ward 6, Dalat.
Spicy Marinated Beef at Chu BBQ Restaurant (Vietnamese Name: Bò Sặc)
Since the summer of 2014, the smoky open-sided barbeque-grill restaurant of Chu BBQ entered the urban dining scene. This startup led by two ambitious Vietnamese entrepreneurs took sights on their interpretation on how a restaurant should be.
With passion for good food and creative décor, co-owners Long and Dieu incorporated local cuisines with their favorites from other regions.
The restaurant’s proud signature dish is Bò Sặc. It’s a spicy marinated beef, grilled to perfection on a table-top circular slab of volcanic stone.
Items on the menu aren’t limited to beef. Other marinated meat, seafood and even veggies get tossed on the volcanic rock to get the sizzling finish. Their offerings are often changed regularly, so keep an eye on the huge chalkboard detailing the available items.
Chu BBQ’s take on the crispy-fried tofu is another one to watch out for. It’s an ensemble of breaded silky-tofu deep fried until golden, topped with pork-floss and served with century-egg on the side. This combination screams nothing but deliciousness in your mouth as the textures and flavor greatly complements each ingredient.
The initial bite gives it the crunch and silken tofu inside melts almost instantly like caramel. Don’t take our word for it, but with locals and foreigners teeming the place, we obviously can’t be wrong!
Chu BBQ Restaurant: 3 Pham Ngu Lao, Ward 1, Dalat.
This is my bucket list every time I travel to Dalat. And it’s time to make it yours too! Don’t forget to bookmark this article and open it once you arrive in this chilly and romantic city! The best time to hit Dalat is during winter and spring, as nothing can beat a steaming hot pot on a cold rainy day in Dalat.