All photos by Christian Berg
There’s nothing like sitting down to a hot bowl of Đà Nẵng-style bún chả cá. The star of this dish is a tasty fish cake made of mackerel, catfish, featherback fish and black pepper. Bún chả cá in Đà Nẵng is made with a delicate broth from fish bones, pumpkin, pineapple, tomato and cabbage. Season yours with lime, chili, shallot vinegar and fresh herbs.
Try it: Bún chả cá Bà Hờn - 113/3 Nguyễn Chí Thanh St.
Careful: Love affairs with this central Vietnamese dish can be intense. Luscious rice noodles are layered over raw lettuce and sprouts. Crispy rice crackers, sliced banana blossom, and quail eggs are added, and a ladle of peanut-y broth with chicken, pork or shrimp brings the whole dish together. Try it as satisfying lunch on a hot Đà Nẵng day.
Try it: Mì Quảng Bà Vị - 166 Lê Đình Dương St.
TIP: Sample an array of beautiful dishes in one go at Ngon Villa. This elegant venue serves exquisite Vietnamese fare at set prices for lunch or dinner.
Read more: Must-do Da Nang, an insider list
These turmeric-tinted crepes are made in searing hot pan, creating extra crispy edges that crackle enticingly when rolled in rice paper. Each bánh xèo is topped with pork, shrimp, onions, beansprouts and mushrooms, then folded in half like a taco. Tear off pieces, roll with herbs and lettuce leaves, and dip into peanut sauce for a mouthful of goodness.
Try it: Bánh xèo Bà Dưỡng - 280/23 Hoàng Diệu St.
These lovely dumplings are from Hue over the Hai Van Mountains, but many Đà Nẵng residents are addicted to their succulent texture. Rice flour, shrimp, and pork are steamed in banana leaf for a glutinous bite with a hit of umami. A drop of light fish sauce heightens the taste. Order all three types and see which ones you like.
Try it: 291 Nguyễn Chí Thanh St.
TIP: Head to Pham Hong Thai St. after dark for delicious bowls of cơm gà (chicken rice), mì xíu khô (egg noodles with pork and sprouts), and bún bò (beef noodle soup).
Ordering a warm bánh mì from a vendor and eating it right on the sidewalk is a classic Đà Nẵng experience. For a local favourite, track down bánh mì gà (bánh mì with chicken floss.) With just a few ingredients — mayonnaise, chili, cucumber, chicken, and pickled papaya — served in a crunchy bread roll, this simple bánh mì packs a punch.
Try it: Cô Chi - 1 Phan Châu Trinh St.
What’s a visit to a coastal city without a seafood feast? Set aside one meal to see how Đà Nẵng enjoys its bountiful seafood. At restaurants along the beach, seafood is chosen from live tanks, priced by weight, and prepared in simple recipes. Clams in lemongrass broth, crab in tamarind, and oysters grilled with spring onions are surefire winners.
Try it: Hải sản Bé Mặn - Võ Nguyên Giáp St.
TIP: If you’re in the mood for an upmarket dinner, consider Nén Restaurant. This contemporary Vietnamese venue serves five-course menus showcasing local ingredients.
Every city in Vietnam has one or two old-school cafes, where the spirit of the city can easily be felt. In Đà Nẵng, that’s Cafe Long. Show up around seven to watch the city’s elders, doyennes, and buddies gather for a daily chat over a cup of strong robusta, brewed on the spot in tin drip filters. Come for the coffee, stay for the atmosphere.
Try it: 123 Lê Lợi St.
Coffee lovers coming to Đà Nẵng will something to deepen that passion at this modern roastery just steps from the beach. 43 Factory takes its coffee seriously. Baristas in (stylish) factory overalls present brews from all over the world at airy indoor tables or outdoor booths sunken into a koi pond. The cafe also serves pastries, smoothie bowls and juice all day.
Try it: 422 Ngô Thì Sỹ St.
Every student in Vietnam has his or her favourite after-school snack. On simmering days in Đà Nẵng, avocado ice-cream or kem bơ offers a creamy, indulgent way to cool down. A thick scoop of blended avocado is layered with coconut ice-cream, and sprinkled with toasted coconut or jackfruit flakes - the perfect tropical treat.
Try it: Chợ Bắc Mỹ An
Chè or sweet soup is Vietnam’s answer to guilt-free dessert. Locals in Đà Nẵng snack on chè on long afternoons and crowd these shops in the balmy evenings. Try chè with a single main ingredient such as lotus seeds or mung beans, or have fun with a mix of colourful ingredients (chè thập cẩm), all topped with crushed ice and coconut cream. Yum!
Try it: 31 Lê Duẩn St.