Sapa not only is favored by nature with the fresh air, cool climate, range after range of mountains, outstanding scenery, but also have its enchantment by its amazing cuisine. If you have a chance to visit Sapa, do not forget to try these 5 local foods below!
1. Com lam (Cơm lam)
Com lam is made from glutinous rice. To make Com lam, they have to soak the rice overnight, then mix it with a little salt and crushed ginger. They are using young bamboo hollow for containing rice and covered 2 head of tube with banana leaves. Each bamboo tube is about 30 centimet long. They pour about 3/4 rice in the bamboo hollow, and add a little spring water. Then, the bamboo tubes were grilled on charcoal. When cooked, it will smell very fragrant and supple. You may eat it with a little sesame salt or other dishes like chicken, pork, egg,...
This is a popular dish of ethnic people. You can enjoy it at any barbeque restaurant in Sapa, O Quy Ho Pass or at any the ethnic minority of Sapa such as Ta Van village, Lao Chai village, Cat Cat village, ..
Its cost is about 20,000 Vietnam dong per a tube of com lam.
2. Dishes of salmon
Am I kidding? No!!! I talk the truth. You can eat salmon here, in Sapa!
With a cool climate all year round and a cold winter, Sapa has successfully raised salmon Nordic breeds. Their flesh even toned and certified with high nutritional content. Salmon Sapa barely big, less of fat, flesh pink, soft and light sweet. They are processed into many dishes such as sashimi, fried, steamed, cooked curry ... But I think you should try salmon soup, salmon salad and grilled salmon.
You can buy a salmon in the restaurant and asked chefs into many dishes. I know a pretty good restaurant to cook salmon. It is located at the bottom of food street (Xuan Vien street), and named Sapa Cuisine. You need to pay about $ 30 for a salmon pot and just hold chopsticks to enjoy.
This is the most famous delicacy of Sapa since tourists all come here to enjoy the hot and tasty barbecue with many different local ingredients in the middle of the typical cold weather of Sapa.
There is countless number of grilled dishes here that you could not have enough room for the stomach to try them all. From the very simple food like potatoes, cassava, eggs, chicken wings… to other more complicated dishes with the typical Northwest flavors like the Rolled beef with Meo spinach, stream fish, or “com lam”… everything seems to blend in perfectly that create an unique taste of Sapa.
Some of the best BBQ dishes you should try:Pork rolled with Meo spinach; Beef rolled with Meo spinach; Grilled bamboo pipe rice; Grilled mountainous corn; Grilled spiced beef; Grilled spiced pork; Grilled chicken feet & wing; Grilled egg; Grilled tofu skew; Different types of grilled mushroom; ...
With special local marinated spices & ingredients, Sapa BBQ has an unique taste that differ from any other BBQ. These grilled dishes also go very well with the local San Lung liquor since it help to balance the taste and will keep you warm in the cold weather of Sapa.
Barbecue stalls in Sapa are located everywhere in the street ( Cau May street is a good choice), in front of the old stoned church, in the alleys, markets or even at the famous Bac waterfall… Set up with some of the grilling equipments a chairs for customer, these stalls are considered mini roadside BBQ restaurants.
4. Sapa’s Mong spinach
The Sapa’s Mong ethnic spinach is normally prepared in many different way like stir fried, poach, boil, or to dip into the hot /pot. The simplest way to cook the Mong spinach is to cut them into small pieces together with some slices of ginger then boil with water to make a fresh warm soup. A more fancy way to prepare the spinach is to cook with the minced chicken and some ginger slices together with pinches of salt and teaspoon of fish sauce will create an unique taste and sense of irresistible smell. The sweetness of the chicken indulge with the fresh bittersweet taste of the spinach will keep you eating even when you are full.
The Mong spinach also goes very well with stir fired beef, especially with the smoke bacon and the local Sapa hot pot. Just remember to twist the spinach instead of cutting so it won’t loose the tasty flavor the the vegetable. You can buy this spinach in each home of ethnic minority or any Sapa fair market at the weekend. Most of restaurants always have this vegetables on their own menu. A bundle of vegetables cost about 10,000 Vietnam dong.
5. Fish live at stream
Sa Pa is not only a land of beautiful scenery, fresh cool climate but also a home to many flavorful & tasty mountainous dishes that many tourists who come here could not resist.
The stream fish has many different breeds and they are all free of fishy taste and smell. You can just grill the fish on the charcoal or to deep fry with the tomato sauce and curry powder with some pepper that will make a magnificent dish of fish that taste so good and unique.
You can enjoy this dishes at any restaurant in Xuan Vien street with a comfortable price is just about $4.
There's also a lot of other delicious dishes that you should try such as "thang co", Sapa chayote vegetables, wild mushrooms or dried buffalo meat, ... Take the time to explore a rich cuisine in Sapa!