Do you fancy yourself a foodie? A gastronomic expert, a gourmand? Have a Ha Long Bay Tour as soon as possible! The bay is famous for its fresher-than-fresh seafood flavored with delicate herb bouquets. With no pretentiousness, Halong Bay serves the best of Northern Vietnamese cuisine. Don’t overlook the following specialties.
1. Cha Muc (Grilled Chopped Squid)
Cha Muc is popularly from the province of Quang Ninh and is regarded as one of Vietnam’s top regional specialties. It’s squid cakes, and the best are made with squid from Halong Bay in particular. Cha Muc is made by hand grinding squid meat and then frying it over medium heat until it turns a beautiful golden brown.
When you bite into Cha Muc, the delightfully crunchy exterior is the first thing you notice before tasting the juicy squid meat. Cha Muc is typically served with sticky rice and fish sauce, or with Banh Cuon, a type of rice cake. Cha Muc can be found at many food stalls throughout Halong City for around 20.000 VND (1 USD) per portion.
2. Samuel (Horseshoe crab)
Sam, also known as Horseshoe Crab, prefer shallow ocean water, which makes Halong Bay an ideal habitat for them. This means that there are a lot of Sam in Halong Bay! It can be prepared in a variety of ways, with crab serving as the primary source of meat.
Crab salad, sweet and sour, sautéed crab with lemongrass and pepper, steamed crab, fried crab with glass noodles, and the list goes on! Sam is well-versed in all of these dishes.
3. Drunken Lobster and Prawn
Fresh prawns and lobster are two of Halong Bay’s greatest delights. You won’t taste better anywhere than straight from the sea and onto your plate!
Both prawns and lobster can be prepared in a variety of ways, but steaming with lemongrass, beer, or vodka is probably the most popular in Halong Bay. This cooking method not only speeds up the cooking process but also eliminates the fishy odor, allowing you to enjoy the natural flavor more fully.
Oysters Oysters are famous throughout the world for being a luxurious treat; Halong Bay is an excellent place to enjoy them fresh.
Fresh oysters are caught daily, washed and grilled over charcoal and then seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon or grilled onions. Sometimes they’re served raw with a slice of lemon, delicious!
5. Ngan’s (Austriella Corrugata)
“Ngan” actually means “tasteless” in Vietnamese, however these hard shell clams are very tasty. If you visit Halong Bay and enjoy seafood, you should try Ngan. It is a versatile dish that can be grilled, steamed, or stir-fried.
Ngan wine, a special delicacy made from Ngan, has a distinct, indescribable flavor. It’s made from an unusual combination of Ngan blood and rice wine. Ngan wine can be found in Halong City’s Cai Ram market.
6. Sá Sùng (Sipunculus Nudus)
The most unusual food on this list is probably Sa Sung. It’s a type of sea worm that can be found in abundance near Quan Lan Island. The worm lives in the sea, just beneath the surface of the sand, and only in clean water.
Sa Sung can be difficult to find, which means it is an expensive seafood that was previously reserved for the upper echelons of Vietnamese society. It is now more accessible to the general public, but it is still quite expensive at 3.000.000 VND to 4.000.000 VND per kilo (around 2 pounds).
Where Should Enjoy These Dishes on Ha Long Bay Tour?
The aforementioned delectable foods can be found at local seafood restaurants throughout Halong City and the inhabited islands of Halong Bay. For suggestions on where to eat, see our post on the Best Restaurants in Halong Bay.
The Bai Chay area of Halong City has many seafood restaurants, as well as street food and night markets. Also, many restaurants specialize in a few specific foods and have plenty of photos of their most prized dish outside the restaurant, so keep an eye out for photos of foods you want to try!