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Great food on a budget in Da Nang (part two)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 11:19 GMT+7
Great food on a budget in Da Nang (part two)
Bún riêu cua

Take a look at part one of the series for getting an overall view of some other cheap and good eats in this city sitting on the central coast of Vietnam.

1. Continue southward on Tran Phu and you’ll come to Le Hong Phong to the right side, an interesting side street with several good food options. First up is Mì Quảng Ếch at 24-26 Le Hong Phong, which serves mì Quảng pork, chicken, and frog versions for VND 30-50k.

2. Thai Market at number 17 serves Thai food in table-top shabu-shabu style for around VND200k for two people as well as memorable shrimp, clam, and fish cake soup for VND50k. Thai Market has another location at number 4 Tran Quoc Toan, just up from Bach Dang, which serves traditional Thai curries, tom yam, and pad Thai. Just decide which style you prefer and head for the appropriate location!

3. Just along Yen Bai Street from Le Hong Phong is the charming Hội An restaurant with nice wall murals and local decorations. Hội An features unique specialties from the city of the same name for VND30-50k.

4. Also on Yen Bai at number 120 is the well-frequented Ba Lang, which serves rice dishes including five variations of pork – two of them are freshly barbecued right outside the shop for VND50k. Don’t forget the stuffed bitter melon soup for VND8k.

5. Heading back east on Le Hong Phong you’ll find Ba Phien at number 63 which serves wonderful fish soups with nice chunks of fresh tuna and mackerel along with fish and crab cakes ranging from VND30 to 60k.

6. One block south from Le Hong Phong is Thai Phien, with number 58 being the home of Ẩm Thực Hà Nội, headquarters for a yummy bún riêu cua (crab noodle soup) at VND 40k. Don’t pass over the nem cua bể (deep fried crab rolls), because they truly are the best around.

7. Go further east to the end of Thai Phien and you’ll find Cơm Gà A-Hai at number 94, which serves a famous version of barbecued chicken with orange rice.

8. Head toward the river along Thai Phien until you come to Tran Phu and you’ll be looking at Tien Thanh on the right corner. If you want a truly unique Vietnamese happy hour experience, Tien Thanh is definitely the spot to hit. It’s packed from around 5:00 pm until 7:00 pm with local men enjoying beers and eating the delicious cold cut plates on offer for VND50k.

Cold cut plate
A cold cut plate

9. Along the riverside promenade Bach Dang there are several upscale restaurants including the Riverfront at number 150. The food and service are impeccable as well as the scenery of people passing by, but so are the prices, so you’ll easily hit VND200k per person.

10. If you’re in the mood for a long walk through local neighbourhoods, get on Hoang Dieu heading south, cross Nguyen Van Linh (the street that originates at Cau Rong/Dragon Bridge) and keep going south about 500 meters beyond Nguyen Van Linh until you hit number 534. The restaurant is called “Pizza Sushi,” and just has a couple of tables by the street because it’s mostly for take-out customers. They do wonderful pizzas, pastas and sushi at local prices ranging from VND50-70k.

11. A cute little street which houses several bún mắm restaurants might also be appropriate for you when you feel like walking around a bit. Walk west away from the river on Huong Vuong Street from the Han Market until you hit Ngo Gia Tu Street, hang a left onto Ngo Gia Tu and a right at the end of the first block which is called Tran Ke Xuong Street. Bún mắm is often referred to as a gumbo since the ingredients vary from pork to shrimp with fresh greens and vermicelli noodles. The key to the dish is the mắm (fish sauce) itself, which is too stinky and pungent for many Western palates, but the soup itself spiked with a bit of mắm is out of this world. Just pick one of the many places along Tran Ke Xuong.

12. One last evening stroll type of area is beyond the north end of Bach Dang, the Han River promenade on the west side of the river. Continue going north beyond where the dinner boats are moored on the riverside, then Bach Dang veers to the left followed by a traffic circle after which the street becomes 3 Thang 2. There are several restaurants together on the left side of 3 Thang 2 just after the traffic circle. Each restaurant offers different food types, so check the menus before taking a seat. Large groups of locals frequent the places so the atmosphere is lively and fun and the prices are reasonable.

13. Last but certainly not least is a tiny hole in the wall, Cay Da (Banyan Tree, and sure enough there is a banyan tree right in front of it), a nondescript little sidewalk café with very low plastic tables and chairs. It’s located on Bach Dang just south of the Han Market before Nguyen Thai Hoc Street with Aroi Deserts just across the street. The address of Cay Da is 124 Bach Dang, but it’s nearly impossible to see it. Just look for the Banyan Tree right in the middle of the sidewalk. I’ve saved best for last because this little café serves cold drinks, nước mía (sugarcane juice - perfect for those hot summer days), cold beers, sandwiches, and all sorts of odds and ends. Most other places along the riverside are pricier, plus Cay Da has the perfect location - equidistant between the Han River and Dragon Bridges.

There you go foodies! Knock yourselves out in central Da Nang!

Rick Ellis

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