10 must-try dishes in Sapa

03-Oct-2019

Sapa is not only famous for beautiful scenery, cool weather and unique culture but it is also well-known as the North West’s food heaven with a lot of special dishes. In Sapa, besides enjoying the nature, you must try the traditional  cuisine to explore the place to the fullest.

1. Bamboo-tube rice

When coming to Sapa, if you do not try bamboo-tube rice, you have left out a delicious yet cheap traditional dish of the mountainous area. Restaurants, hotels to food stalls by the street… all sell this unique food. 

must try dishes in Sapa

In Sapa, bamboo-tube rice is usually served with sesame salt because the nutty flavor of sticky rice goes well with sesame. Additionally, Bamboo-tube rice is served with meat skewer. Meat skewer is made from badger pigs of about 8 to 10 kilograms, which are allowed to run freely in the hill. Bamboo-tube rice can also go with grilled chicken.

2. Badger pigs

As mentioned above, badger pigs are not just a side dish of bamboo-tube rice: it is a remarkable Sapa food. 

The name “badger pigs” come from the tradition to bring the pigs to the market by one hand since the pigs are too small, only 8 to 10 kilograms. The pigs are not fatty and the taste is just on point because the pigs have to find food by themselves in the hills. For preparation, the cook will season the whole pig and put it in the oven.

must try dishes in Sapa

The cooked meat has honey-like golden color, crunchy skin and tender and flavorful meat; together with special sauce, it creates an amazing taste. 

3. Seven- color sticky rices

Another speciality of the cool latitude is seven-color sticky rice. The dish is exceptionally important for Nung people in Sapa. However, the making of this dish is not easy at all. The Nung people has to go deep into the wood in order to find different special leaves.

Each color of the sticky rice is a different kind of leaf, and it represents distinctive meaning: The green of young banana leaves stands for spring- the blooming season. The deep red is for the resilient spirit of heroes who died in the war. Yellow represents wounds and separation, or bright red is for the marvellous win of Nung people. This dish is closely linked with Vietnamese traditions!

must try dishes in Sapa

 The sticky rice is best served with black sesame and grilled wild animal’s meat. 

 The dish is not only delicious but also good for health because it contains numerous traditional herbs. The dish has long been considered a symbol of luck and well-being, it is usually served in special holidays. Good-looking; tasty; unique are the features that make seven-color sticky rice stands out from other dishes.

4. Thang co

Known as “terrifying speciality” of Sapa, thang co is favored by many people because of its smelly yet nutty flavor. Be careful, you might be “addicted” to it!

Thang co is a traditional dish of the Mong people in Sapa. The main ingredients for this dish are meat, bone, internal organ (small intestine, heart, lung, stomach, etc…) and 20 herbs (cardamom, anise, cinnamon, lemongrass, ginger and other traditional spices).

must try dishes in Sapa

At first, many people cannot eat thang co because of its smell but as they get used to it, they just love the dish. Thang co may be smelly at first but soon the flavor will become bitter- an amazing feeling that lingers. 

Sapa thang co is usually served with grilled corn, and most specially, Bac Ha corn alcohol or San Lung alcohol- warm and fragrant, made from the elites of greenery.

5. Buffalo jerky

When coming to Sapa, do not hesitate to try buffalo jerky, a traditional dish of North West mountainous area. Sapa buffalo jerky is dark brown on the outside but it is naturally red inside. The meat is sweet and persistent, together with spicy from pepper and ginger and the odour of wood and stone. 

In fact, making buffalo jerky is not hard but time-consuming. The first step in making the dish is to choose the ingredients. You must choose big slices to meat, the best options are filet or shoulder and back muscles. Then, the meat is seasoned with small mac khen leaves, crushed banana leaves, chilly powder, ground salt before hanging above the stove for 8 months to a year.

must try dishes in Sapa

This is an ideal gift in Sapa because of its luxury and convenience. A kilo of buffalo jerky cost from 800,000VND to 1,000,000VND. 

6. Sapa stream fishes

Every tourist should try fried or grilled stream fishes in Sapa- a dish that can rarely be found in other places. 

Sapa stream fishes are 2-3 fingers big. They are usually green to camouflage in mossy rocks. There is a variety of stream fishes but they all are not stinking. Since the stream fishes have many small bones, people usually fry them, and eat the bone with the meat, but not caramelize or steam them.

must try dishes in Sapa

The fish is deep-fried in oil until golden brown, giving off a mouth-watering smell. The fish’s head is fatty, crispy and inside it is sweet and tasty; the bones are edible. Dip the fish into high-quality fish sauce with lemon and chilly; eat the fish with hot steamed rice and boiled cabbage in a chilly Muong Hum night is the definition of perfect! 

7. Salmon, sturgeon

In Sapa, you can also try salmon and sturgeon. 

It is surprising and amazing to see the salmons. Especially for foreign visitors, if the stunning nature has amazed them, the salmons will be much more astonishing. They cannot imagine a country with tropical humid climate can have catfish- the kind of animal usually found in cool weather. 

must try dishes in Sapa

Besides salmon, tourists can see sturgeon in real life. Sapa is expected to be an unique home for not only salmon but also sturgeon to meet the needs of travelers. 

8. Khau Nhuc

The name may sound strange but in fact,this is a familiar dish to many people because Khau Nhuc tastes just like caramelized pork. However, there are still some differences in the flavor and the making-method according to the region.

must try dishes in Sapa

To make authentic Khau Nhuc, people have to cook the meat for half a day, so that the meat is tender, tastes like it is melting in the mouth. The dish’s origin is the Hoa people, becoming popular in most of the Northern mountainous area. 

9. Mustard vegetable

Together with badger pig, bamboo-tube rice, Docyna indica alcohol; mustard vegetable is more and more appealing because of its essential role and tastiness. 

Mustard vegetable has curly leaves in deep green; crunchier and sweeter than normal cabbage. In the daily meals of Sapa people, there is always a dish of stir-fried mustard vegetable next to meat dishes; sometimes it comes with a few slices of ginger. 

must try dishes in Sapa

The veggie may be bitter at the top of the tounge but as you eat, it will become softer and and sweeter. It makes an unique combination with stir-fried beef. mustard vegetable stir fried with bacon is also extremely delicious. 

Regardless of the cooking method, the cook will shred the mustard vegetable by hand so that the veggie will remain fresh and sweet.

10. Sapa grilled food

In Sapa’s chilly weather, the colorful skewers will warm your heart and your stomach. 

Sapa grilled food is various with different types of grilled meat, pork belly, chicken wing, beef wrapped in cat leaf, beef wrapped in mushroom, salmon or veggie skewers. All you have to do is take a plate, choose the skewers you want, wait for them to be grilles and enjoy!

must try dishes in Sapa

Sapa grilled food is usually sold in the evening in Sapa lake or around the market. Each skewer is about 15,000VND ; bamboo-tube rice and egg is 8,000VND.  With only 100,000VND, you will have a delicious meal and an unforgettable cuisine experience!

Some travel schedules to Sapa for your reference:

Hopefully, the information that JTA Tours shared above will provide you with useful information for your tour to Sapa. If you find this information useful, please share or save the article for reference when needed.

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