Halong cuisine boasts its delicious food, especially fresh and high-quality seafood. And your trip would not be complete without sampling the best dishes of Halong, here’s the list of what to eat and where to find the unique dishes in Halong Bay. Also, 15+ best restaurants in Halong Bay are also revealed here. Don’t skip!
I. What to Eat in Halong Bay?
1. Halong Squid Cake (Chả mực Hạ Long)
“Chả mực” is the most famous food in Halong and its name is also listed in the top 50 specialties of Vietnam. Cha muc Ha Long means Halong squid cake, and of course, the main ingredient to make this dish is squid. The best Halong squid cake must be made from squid from the Halong area to have the best quality. It steals the hearts of tourists by its delicate and crunchy texture, as well as the typical smell of squid. In daily meals of local people, they usually eat the cake with the sticky rice or rolled cake. No one can resist its delicious flavor and passionate fragrance.
2. Girlled Oysters (Hàu Nướng)
Hau nuong is also a popular kind of seafood which is nutritious, increasing your energy levels. Most people prefer sampling grilled oyster with a special sauce mixed from salt, pepper, and lemon. After being cleaned, the oysters will be grilled on a charcoal stove when receiving orders from customers. Therefore, the oysters are hot, simple but very tasty. The dish is more irresistible when you try it with a few glasses of beer.
3. Horseshoe Crab (Sam biển)
Sam bien is well known as the seafood with high nutritional value. Visiting Halong bay, you will have the chance to enjoy many mouth-watering dishes made from Sam such as Sam pudding, fried eggs, Sam salad, Sam sauté with peppers and lemongrass, steamed Sam, or stir-fried Sam with glass noodle. All of these delicious dishes are waiting for you.
4. Stir-fried Snails with Soya Sauce (Ốc xào tương)
Oc xao tuong is stir-fried snails with soya sauce. Certainly, when visiting Halong, you cannot miss this dish. It is very popular snack with local people. The price is low and you can find it in the sidewalk where you can enjoy the dish and talk to local people. Stir-fried snails with soya sauce is so delicious and easy to be addicted.
5. Austriella Corrugate (Ngán)
Ngán (Austriella corrugate) is a kind of hard clam that lives in mangrove estuaries. In Vietnamese, Ngan means “tasteless” but Ngán’s taste is totally different to its name. The chef can make some dishes from Ngán such as: cooked porridge, grilled, stir-fried with vegetables or noodles. Besides, local male diners really like Ngán wine because its favor is so unique and it helps make them stronger. However, the price is very expensive because Ngán is not easy to find.
6. Sipunculus Nudus (Sá Sùng)
Sá Sùng is a species of worm living in the deep sand. It is rare and expensive seafood that used to be made tributes to kings and mandarins. After washing Sá Sùng until its color is turned into ivory-white, it is cooked in different ways such as fried with pineapple or garlic, grilled with chili salt, or roasted,… . In traditional Hanoi noodle dishes, Sá Sùng is added to increase the broth’s sweetness.
7. “Gật Gù” Cake (Bánh “gật gù”)
Bánh “gật gù”, or Gật Gù cake, is a special cake that is similar to rice noodles and steamed rolled rice pancake. Many people are impressed when they know the meaning of its name (Gật Gù Cake means “nodding rice cake”). The cake is made from rice flour and served with sauce or meat storage vessel. Now it is quite hard to find the right address which offers the true flavor of “Gật Gù” cakes so you should ask old locals.
9. Tien Yen Hill Chicken (Cà Sáy Tiên Yên)
The inspiring name “cà sáy” belongs to a species of domestic fowls which has characteristics of both ducks and chickens. This dish can be found in most restaurants in Quang Ninh and especially in Halong bay. At first impression, you may think that “Cà sáy Tiên Yên” is just another dish of normal chicken, but taste it, then it will change your mind forever. It is not only famous for the succulent meat but also the special mixture including fresh ginger, fish sauce, and coca cola.
10. Hoanh Bo Soaked Rice Wine (Rượu Nếp Ngâm Hoành Bồ)
For wine-loving travelers, ruou nep ngam hoanh bo (Hoành Bồ soaked rice wine) is Halong specialty that you should not miss. It is made from Hoành Bồ sticky rice which has a sweet and sour taste. For fermentation, local people will put the leaves from the Hoành Bồ forest which will create an amazing characteristic scent. The wine is perfectly drunk when enjoying seafood. To buy Hoành Bồ sticky rice, you can go to Halong 2 market where sells diverse goods.
11. Stone Crab (Cù Kỳ)
Cù Kỳ, Stone Crab or Thunder Crab, has become a specialty in Halong which is much more delicious but less expensive than crabs. Once you enjoyed a crab stone, you will never forget the taste of this delicious dish, especially the taste of the big claws that contain a lot of meat and the most nutrients. Halong people have different ways of processing fresh stone crabs like steamed stone crab with beer, stone crab with fresh tamarind sauce, grilled stone crab,… The attractive stone crab dishes will surely be one of reasons for returning this land.
12. Acorn Barnacle Porridge (Cháo Hà)
Cháo Hà, or Acorn Barnacle Porridge, is the most popular dish made from acorn barnacle. After marinating the fresh acorn barnacle with pepper and fish sauce, the chef will stir fry it with onion. The rice is cooked and added acorn barnacle. When the rice is cooked enough into porridge, he will put a few garnishes, some onion, pepper, and coriander. Local people prefer having a hot bowl of Acorn Barnacle Porridge in a winter night.
II. Where to Eat in Halong?
II.1. 10 Famous Restaurants in Halong Bay
1. May Corner
Location: HO2 – 1 Little Vietnam, Hoang Quoc Viet street, Halong city
Opening hours: 09:30 am – 02:00 pm; 05:30 pm – 09:30 pm
May Corner is an amazing restaurant where you can feel happy and relaxed. You can find a great mixture of Vietnamese and European cuisine here. The food is cooked to a high standard but the Thai food is the most outstanding. There is also a wide range of delicious drinks for you, especially cocktails. The typical dishes that you should try include roasted mantis shrimp, fried kumquat chicken, and Thai clams.
2. 1958 restaurant
Location: E19-E20, Nam Tuan Chau New Urban Area, Tuan Chau Island, Halong Bay, Quang Ninh
Opening hours: 10:00 am – 02:00 pm; 05:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Named after the year Uncle Ho visited Tuan Chau Island, 1958 restaurant is well-known for its warm and welcoming atmosphere. With its authentic northern Vietnamese dishes and mouth-watering seafood dishes, 1958 restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants on the island. The menu will bring you on a gastronomic journey to discover with so many dishes in hundreds of traditional local recipes such as stir-fried morning glory with garlic, steamed golden pomfret with green peppercorn, and Halong squid cake,…
3. Panorama Restaurant
Location: Halong street, Bai Chay ward, Quang Ninh province
Opening hours: 07:00 am – 11:00 pm
Known as the most beautiful restaurant in Halong bay, Panorama restaurant has well-designed windows with a terrace providing a panoramic view of the bay. While enjoying dinner, you can observe the spectacular scenery through the glass door. The seafood quality is much better compared to other Halong bay restaurants. The menu has various options for you to choose from Vietnamese and Eastern cuisine.
4. Green Mango
Location: 1-4 street, Cat Ba town, Cat Hai
Opening hours: 07:00 am – 11:00 pm
Green Mango might be the best spot to rock in Cat Ba. The seaside restaurant offers a great view and the best Western food that you could find on this island. There are so many options for you to choose, from classic fish and chips, a simple juicy burger, to the upscale crowd lamb shank, to limited Vietnamese choices. To get closer to a real cultural experience, you can take a seat on the plastic chairs to enjoy your meal.
5. Linh Dan Restaurant
Location: 104 Bai Chay street, Halong city
Opening hours: 09:00 am – 09:00 pm
This is probably one of the best restaurants you can find in Halong city. There are bunches of impressive and fresh seafood dishes. If you are wondering what to enjoy, let’s try the seafood dishes made from crabs, prawns, and lobsters. For those who are fed up with seafood, the restaurant also offers spring rolls, noodles, salad, and rice-based dishes. Especially, these dishes are served at a reasonable price.
6. Co Ngu Restaurant
Location: 66A Ha Long street, Bai Chay ward, Quang Ninh
Opening hours: 09:00 am – 11:00 pm
Opened 10 years ago, Co Ngu restaurant received a huge investment of 2 million dollars to become the most luxurious restaurant in Halong. Situated in the center of downtown, it looks impressive with wooden style and a great front garden and reminds of the old royal palace. As the largest restaurant in Halong, it can serve almost 600 guests at the same time. You can find most of Halong specialties in Co Ngu, especially you should not miss fresh seafood. You even can taste high class seafood such as shark fin and roasted oyster. Enjoying expensive seafood while drinking famous Western wine brands will be your great experience.
7. Kim Hang Restaurant
Location: 123 Halong street, Halong city
Opening hours: 07:00 am – 10:00 pm
There are a lot of hotels and restaurants in Halong street, but the most outstanding restaurant is Kim Hang restaurant. It has a unique ancient exterior design and a large and attractive inner space. It serves high quality food which is mainly focused on coastal specialties. Every dish is decorated professionally. The staffs are always courteous, friendly, and very attentive.
8. Cua Vang Restaurant
Location: Group 9, Area 9, Bai Chay Ward, Halong city, Quang Ninh province
Opening hours: 06:00 am – 12:00 pm
Cua Vang is considered as one of the best Halong bay restaurants. It is a seafood heaven where you can find many different kinds of luxurious seafood to enjoy. The pink, blue, and yellow neon lights with the deluxe ambiance of Western style will bring a unique dining experience. A plus point of this restaurant is good hygiene. To keep natural flavor of every dish, they use clay pans to cook. And if you are missing home, the restaurant offers a specific family recipe which has been passed down through many generations.
9. Jumbo Dai Duong Restaurant
Location: 119 Le Thanh Tong street, Halong city
Located near the Hon Gai Tourist Wharf, the Jumbo restaurant is well-known for its 17-year experience. The restaurant has 3 floors which can serve up to 300 customers. You can enjoy traditional local dishes and Chinese food. However, seafood is a must-try when visiting this restaurant. You can choose live seafood by yourself before the chef prepares and cooks it for your lunch or dinner.
10. Avocado Restaurant
Location: 09 Halong street, Quang Ninh
Opening hours: 09:00 am – 10:30 pm
If you are looking for a relaxed dinners with good food in Halong bay, this is the place to go. Avocado Restaurant has an intimate ambiance with an open kitchen. The staffs are friendly and efficient. The menu offers a wide selection of local and European food. The interiors have a nice design which will surely impress you a lot.
II.2. Cheap Eats in Halong
1. Phuong Nam Restaurant
Phuong Nam restaurant is a good place to eat with beautiful sightseeing. Located near Halong bay, it offers the most beautiful view of the bay from the top floor, over view of the bay and you can enjoy the sunset here. There are many kinds of seafood but lobster is the most famous dish in the restaurant. Apart from delicious food at reasonable price, the staffs of the restaurant are also friendly and enthusiastic.
2. Delicious Restaurants in Vuon Dao Area
Vuon Dao area is located right in Halong city which is very crowded. There are a lot of hotels, guesthouses and cheap restaurants here. It’s near Bai Chay resort so it has plenty of tourists. The price is cheap and seafood is abundant, that’s why people call this area “paradise of fresh seafood”.
3. Cheap seafood in Cai Dam market
Cai Dam market, also known as Cai Dam seafood market, is located in Tien Ong, Bai Chay. Seafood here is affordable and cheaper than most other places. You can try some seafood dishes in some food stalls of the market. You can find plenty of delicious processed seafood here so you can buy some to bring home.
4. Seafood in Ben Doan area
Located in Tran Quoc Nghien – a beautiful coastal road of Halong city, Ben Doan area is a food street that covering a large area of more than 10.000 square meters. Because it is near the market, you can enjoy fresh seafood here. The most famous and popular dishes are chili mustard and grilled oyster sauce. After dining in Ben Doan area, you can enjoy Halong Bay view and the cool sea breezes.
5. Floating restaurants
There are several floating restaurants in Halong bay which serves all kinds of fresh seafood. The live seafood is picked out of the cages floating on the sea and then delivered to the kitchen for cooking. This is the best way to enjoy the freshest seafood. And you can order whatever you want on the spot. If you don’t know where to find these restaurants, you can ask the locals or tour guides.