Top 5 Must-Try Foods in Phan Thiet

If you are a foodie, the unique and delicious traditional dishes of Phan Thiet - a city situated in the south-eastern region of Vietnam - are guaranteed to captivate you.

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Phan Thiet is the capital of Binh Thuan Province, located in the southeast of Vietnam, about 215km from Ho Chi Minh City. It is home to nearly 250,000 inhabitants spreading across 4 wards and a vibrant city center. Phan Thiet’s cuisine is very diverse, with a range of luxury and popular dishes to satisfy all appetites.

Vietnam raw fish salad (Goi Ca Mai)

Photo: Bach hoa XANH
Photo: Bach hoa XANH

At Mui Ne – Phan Thiet beach, there is a delicious and mouth-watering seafood dish called Goi Ca Mai (Vietnam raw fish salad). It’s made with fresh deep herring or white sardine (Ca Mai) as the main ingredient. The fish has a sweet taste, no scales, and a less intense aroma than other types of fish.

To make a perfect and attractive Goi Ca Mai dish, the white sardines need to be big, juicy, and fresh. When processing, the scales, heads, and tails of the fish are removed. Then, it is put in ice water to make the flesh firmer and sweeter, before being cooked with lemon juice. Other ingredients used in the salad include tamarind, sour star fruit, peanuts, lime water, vinegar, roasted soybeans, garlic, onions, perilla, and cilantro. This mixture creates a unique and wonderful taste that will make you fall in love at the first bite.

The food is served with rice paper for wrapping and a dipping sauce made with fishbone broth.

Vietnamese pork and shrimp dumplings (Banh Quai Vac)

Photo: Dau Do Tran
Photo: Dau Do Tran

At first glance, Banh Quai Vac has a similar appearance to a filter cake, but it is made of flour, with shrimp and pork belly fried with spicy pepper. When you eat Banh Quai Vac, you can sprinkle some scallions and pork greaves, then dip the food in the traditional sour and sweet dipping sauce of Phan Thiet. In the first bite, you will be captivated by the thin but soft crust, the dumplings have a rich and fragrant taste, which is made more mouth-watering by the sauce.

You can find this dish everywhere in Phan Thiet – Mui Ne, from street vendors to the most luxurious restaurants. However, the most experienced tourists will advise you to try this at the vendors to fully feel the idyllic and rustic flavors of Banh Quai Vac.

Tha Hotpot (Lau Tha)

Photo: Phu nu Viet Nam
Photo: Phu nu Viet Nam

The main ingredient of this hotpot includes fresh white sardine marinated in chili, garlic, and ginger juice. It is added with boiled pork belly, sliced fried eggs, rice paper, vermicelli, sour star fruit, and vegetables. The most interesting thing about this dish is that all the ingredients are placed inside red banana flower skins. When eating, you will choose the ingredients you like, put them in a bowl and pour the hot broth on top, then add the special dipping sauce, rather than dipping the parts into the pot of broth like other hotpot dishes.

Phan-Thiet-style beef rice noodles (Bun Bo Phan Thiet)

Photo: Vntopfood
Photo: Vntopfood

Phan Thiet’s beef rice noodles are not only loved by the local people but also attract tourists from other countries traveling to Vietnam.

The hot, fragrant noodles, tender meat, moderate fat taste along with the spicy taste of chili, the fat of peanuts, and the aroma of vegetables will make the dish more attractive. It is a dish that is prepared with a lot of effort, and the chef needs to understand the ingredients to get the typical traditional Phan flavor.

A special step to creating the flavor of Bun Bo is the secret to marinating the beef. The type of seasoning, dosage, and marinating time will create a delicious dish with a piece of beef that is fatty, fragrant, and tender in the first bites.

Can cake (Banh Can)

Photo: Dien may XANH
Photo: Dien may XANH

Can cake is a traditional cake popular in Central Vietnam (Nha Trang, Da Lat, Phan Thiet). The cake is made from rice flour, topped with quail egg, chopped green onion, and squid (or shrimp). Can cake is grilled in a special terracotta mold, which makes the cake very crispy without using cooking oil. In Phan Thiet, you eat Can cake with char sew, braised fish, boiled quail egg, pork skin, and julienne green mango. To eat, use chopsticks to dip the cake in char sew or braised fish broth, then tuck it in.

Charlotte Pho