Must-Try Sapa’s Traditional Foods

Not only is Sapa renowned for its captivating natural beauty, but also for its delectable traditional cuisine that is sure to delight food enthusiasts.

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The cuisine in Sapa is best described as fresh, delicate, and made with locally-grown ingredients. While most dishes feature meat and fish, there are also plenty of options for vegetarians and those who enjoy vegetables. In addition to taking in the breathtaking scenery, don’t forget to indulge in Sapa food and savor the following highly recommended meals.

Dry Pho (Con Sui)

Dry Pho, also known as Con Sui, is a dish that uses flattened noodles similar to Pho. However, it is not eaten with broth but with a thick, fragrant sauce. A bowl of Con Sui typically includes rice noodles, crispy fried potatoes, pork bellies, and boiled eggs. Diners can enhance the flavor with pepper and chili, and enjoy it with fragrant mint. Ong Ha’s Con Sui restaurant in Sapa is a popular place to try this special traditional dish, as the noodles are kneaded and rolled by hand, creating a unique flavor. The dish is also served with fresh vegetables from the area.

Con Sui is a dish that uses flattened noodles like Pho but is not eaten with broth but with a thick, fragrant sauce. Photo: BestPrice Travel

Sour Pho (Pho Chua)

Sour Pho, also known as Pho Chua, is a mixed pho dish prepared with noodles, char siu meat, pickles, mango, roasted peanuts, herbs, and fried onion. This specialty is cooked in a complicated yet interesting way, and to fully enjoy its taste and aroma, diners are advised to savor it slowly.

Sour Pho is a mixed pho dish that is prepared quite simply, which includes noodles, char siu meat, pickles, mango, roasted peanuts, herbs, and fried onion. Photo: Dien may XANH

The dish consists of two components: the dried ingredients and the soup. The dried ingredients include noodles, potatoes, pig’s liver, pork side, and roast duck. The soup is made from garlic, vinegar, and sugar, with the juice from the roast duck providing the core flavor. The dish is meticulously prepared by the cook, combining the ingredients in perfect balance to ensure the spices are absorbed. This final step of mixing is crucial to the overall taste.

Thang Co

Thang Co, a traditional dish of the Hmong ethnic people in Sapa, is known for its unique strong smell. It is believed to have originated more than 200 years ago and is still popular today.

Thang Co is a unique Sapa food with a special strong smell, and it is a traditional dish of the Hmong ethnic people in Sapa. Photo: BestPrice Travel

Thang Co, which translates to “soup cooked in a big pan,” is made using meat, bones, and internal organs from horses, pigs, and buffalos. It is combined with more than 20 botanical herbs, including cardamom, citronella, ginger, star aniseed, and cinnamon twig. While Thang Co used to be served only on special occasions or during the cultural festivals of the Hmong people, it has now become a must-try food for tourists visiting Sapa.

Chestnut Cake (Banh Hat De)

Sa Pa chestnut cake has gained popularity in recent years due to its sweet and aromatic taste. The cake features an outer shell made from wheat flour and a filling made from pureed chestnuts mixed with a little sugar. It is then fried until golden brown in an oil pan.

The sweet and aromatic taste has made Sa Pa chestnut cake one of the favorite dishes in recent years. Photo: Hawonkoo

The cake can be stored for two to three days after processing. If tourists decide to take it home, vacuum sealing it will make it last even longer. It can be stored for seven to twenty days in the refrigerator or freezer. Before serving, thaw the cake and then preheat the oven or air fryer for 3-5 minutes.

Black Chicken (Ga Den)

Black chicken, known as Ga Den, is a breed of chicken raised by the Mong people in the Northwest. These chickens are small in size, weighing only about 300g – 1kg. Both the skin and meat of the black chicken are black in color. The meat is firm, delicious, chewy, and highly nutritious. It is also considered a remedy in Oriental Medicine.

This dish is very nutritious and beneficial to health. Photo: BestPrice Travel

Black chicken can be cooked in various ways, including frying, boiling, and steaming. However, the most popular choice is grilled black chicken marinated with honey. The sweetness of the meat combines with the honey as the chicken is grilled over hot charcoal, offering a truly unforgettable experience.

Dried Buffalo Meat (Thit Trau Gac Bep)

The most popular dried meat in Sapa is buffalo meat, which can be found in the local market. This unique Sapa food is a favorite among tourists, known as “Thit Trau Gac Bep” in the local language. The name refers to the process of hanging the buffalo meat above the kitchen’s firewood, which preserves the meat for a long period of time.

The most popular dried meat in Sapa is buffalo meat, which can be found in the local market. Photo: Dien may XANH

The buffalo meat is hung in the kitchen for eight months to a year, marinated with salt, pepper, garlic, and ginger to create a unique flavor. This method of preservation has been passed down through generations of the Black Thai ethnic people in Sapa.

Charlotte Pho