From stingray hotpot and other seafood delights to homemade pizza and Ukrainian borsch, Vietnam’s seaside town of Vung Tau has some fantastic restaurants for all tastes.
#1 - Stingray hotpot – Lau ca duoi
Stingray hot pot is an outstandingly delicious folk food in Vung Tau. Once you try it, you will never forget it because of it’s distinctive taste and of course, ingredient. The secret of a good stingray hotpot is to have the freshest ingredients possible. That is why eating this dish while at a seaside city always bring out the best of this dish. Apart from the stingray, this dish is a hot pot (literally) of sour baby bamboo soup. Fun fact – the stingray has a cartilage skeleton, so instead of having to worry about getting your throat impaled with bones, you can just chew away.
This dish is also carries a great balance of nutrition. When you order lau ca duoi in the restaurant, the server will place on your table the hot pot with stingray, some pickled bamboo, slices of chillies, vermicelli, rice cracker and a plate of herbs. Each of these elements play an important role in terms of making the flavor of the dish subtle yet delicious. Take a mouthful of all together to see what I mean!
Sharing food is a huge part of Vietnamese culture, and eating hotpot is the perfect example. Even a small hot pot requires at least 2 – 3 people to finish, so this will be a great opportunity for a large group of friends or family to gather and enjoy good company. So make a trip out of it to Vung Tau! One last thing, don’t forget to dip the stingray in the fish sauce and chew it slowly to really enjoy the taste.
The best lau ca duoi in Vung Tau
Among all of the lau ca duoi shops on Truong Cong Dinh street, Hoang Minh stands out. A large amount of stingray is served with sour soup at this place and it will be sure to please your taste buds. Not only is the quality and quantity of food satisfactory at this place but the fast service and friendly owner makes people want to come back here every time they go to Vung Tau. What you should keep in your mind is in the evening, the shop is always full so it is better to go in the afternoon after some sunbathing in the beach.
#2 - Banh khot Vung Tau – Vietnamese mini pancake
It’s not an exaggeration when somebody travel to Vung Tau with the sole intention of eating Banh Khot. This dish is absolutely legendary and no better version can be found outside of this city… If you ever tasted banh xeo in Saigon and fell in love with it, wait till you try the Banh Khot in Vung Tau.
The little round pancake is made from mixed flour, curry powder, and then filled with seafood such as shrimp and squid, and then finally topped with green onion and shrimp powder.
To eat the dish in the proper way, you have to start by putting papaya and some chilli into the bowl of fish sauce and mix it up. Then, grab a nice big piece of lettuce and put on it some herbs to your liking. Next, you dip the banh khot in the fish sauce and then place it over the herbs on the lettuce and top it with some papaya. Finally, wrap it all up, dip it again into the fish sauce and enjoy!
Even though the crispy banh khot is heavily fried, the actual taste is still light when you mix it with the greens, so you won’t get sick of it. Legend is that you will want to eat at least 10. No less, but maybe more.
The best banh khot in Vung Tau
There are countless places that sell banh khot in Vung Tau but Banh Khot Goc Vu Sua is the most popular one, and for good reason! No matter day or night, this place is always full of hungry locals and tourists waiting for their food. You can order a glass of sugar cane juice (nuoc mia) and small talk with your friends to kill the time.
#3 - Banh bong lan trung muoi – Sponge cake with salted egg yolk
Who can deny sweet treats? Especially when what you’re eating is extra creamy with cheese? How does the addition of a duck egg yolk to make it salty sound? Over 40 years ago, a small shop on Nguyen Truong To street introduced this special sponge cake to their customers and it quickly became the most popular snack in Vung Tau because of the unique taste. The original version of banh bong lan trung muoi just included the ingredients of sponge cake and salty egg yolk. Nowadays, to please the customers and give you more choices, cheese and rousong are added as topping. Every bite you take is a combination of sweetness, saltiness and greasiness. This cake is a perfect Vung Tau gift for yourself or your family and friends.
The best sponge cake in Vung Tau
Banh Bong Lan Trung Muoi Goc Cot Dien is the where the sponge cake was born, so where better to eat it? You can watch as it is being made as well, because you may fall so in love that you’ll want to make it at home.Plus, the shop has different toppings for the sponge cake and the coconut waffle is worth a go!
- Name of place: Banh Bong Lan Trung Muoi Goc Cot Dien
- Address: 17 Nguyen Truong To, Ward 2, Vung Tau City
- Business hours: 6AM – 10PM
- Price: Banh Bong Lan Trung Muoi: 25.000 VND/box
- Banh Bong Lan Trung Muoi Pho mai (with cheese): 30.000 VND/Box
#4 - Banh uot chong dia – Steamed thin rice pancake
What makes the steamed thin rice pancake here special is the portion of each dish. No, it’s not huge, it’s actually super small that you have to eat at least 20 dishes to be full. Banh uot chong dia is a relatively new dish in Vung Tau but it soon became a phenomenon among tourists and the local youth.
Unlike the usual dish banh uot, instead of cutting the steamed thin rice pancake into small pieces the banh uot chong dia only have a piece of steamed thin rice pancake on the plate. Customers can order a dish of pork and/or chicken, pickles and sour mango to wrap with the banh uot. For the sauces, you will have to choose either the sweet fish sauce or mam nem (fermented anchovy dipping sauce) to dip the banh uot in. Vietnamese dishes are quite interactive, aren’t they? Well this one can get a lot more fun as you can hold a competition to see who can eat the most and so has the taller stack of empty dishes.
The best Banh Uot Chong Dia in Vung Tau
Banh uot chong dia 47 is the only spot that has banh trang chong dia in Vung Tau. It’s clearly better than all the other non-existent places.
- Name of place: Banh uot chong dia 47
- Address: 77 Xo Viet Nghe Tinh, Ward 8, Vung Tau City
- Business hours: 4PM – 10PM
- Steamed thin rice pancake: 1.000 VND/plate
- Grill pork/chicken: 20.000 VND/Portion
- Pickle/Mango: 2.000 VND/Portion
#5 - Fresh seafood
You shouldn’t leave Vung Tau without trying any of the fresh seafood available in this city. You can easily find many kinds of seafood such as crab, snails, shrimp, blood clam, amberjack fish and so on. The fish and other kinds of seafood come directly from the sea everyday in the afternoon so it is absolutely fresh. And if you think the seasnails in Saigon (link to seasnail in saigon) are delicious and diverse, wait till you come to Vung Tau.
Some kind of dishes I highly recommend for you to try: boiled crab/shrimp, grilled octopus/squid/shrimp seasoned with dried satay chilli and grilled oyster with or without cheese. Last but not least, the BBQ amberjack fish seasoned with dried satay chillies or green onion and oil is the best of best. You will find the combination of grease, salty and spice add to the delicious flavor while the aroma also plays a big role you will not want to stop eating even though you already full.
Where to get the best seafood in Vung Tau
Basically, you can find seafood in every corner of Vung Tau. From big restaurants to a small food stalls by the seaside at night. The first and foremost concern of tourists when finding seafood is the price. Because Vung Tau is a tourist city, scams and frauds sometimes do happen so to avoid these unfortunate events, I suggest you go to these following places:
+ Xom Luoi Market
Do you love going to the wet market and picking food by yourself? Xom Luoi market is where seafood from the fishing boats are delivered every afternoon. It is literally fresh off the boat. From here it will be distributed to other markets in Vung Tau and nearby cities or provinces. This is where you can get cheap fresh seafood and have it prepared at the cooking stalls. After that, you can bring it back to your room to eat or go have a picnic at the central park in Bai Truoc area.
+ Ganh Hao Seafood Restaurant
If you want your food to be cooked in more diverse ways, going to seafood restaurants would be the better option. Ganh Hao is the most prestigious restaurant in Vung Tau. The food here is a bit pricey compared to other eateries, but the quality is on the top of the list.