1. It has the best street food
Da Nang has grown rapidly in recent years – but it’s still far less touristed than Vietnam’s older cities. This also means it’s less westernised than elsewhere in the country.
For the foodie, this amounts to plenty of authentic, local cuisine to taste. Here, street vendors peddling tasty, inexpensive meals rule the roads, each specialising in one or two signature dishes. Unsurprisingly, this also means that Da Nang is a very cheap city to eat out in – most on-the-go food is under $1, so there’s nothing to stop you trying it all.
2. Mi Quang is delicious
Central Vietnam is fiercely proud of its cuisine – and Da Nang is no exception. Interestingly, the food here hasn’t yet penetrated into western culture in the way that the saltier Hoi An specialities or sweet Ho Chi Minh City dishes have.
The city’s most famous – and most popular – dish is Mi Quang. It’s a classic Vietnamese noodle soup with a twist: the base is made from bone broth and fish sauce, to which turmeric is added (turning the rice noodles yellow), along with fresh vegetables and shallots. Sprinkled on the top, you’ll usually find shrimps, boiled eggs and pork (or you may have the opportunity to add eel). Basil, coriander and other herbs are added to create the characteristic fragrant freshness Vietnamese food is famous for.
3. Pham Hong Thai has some of Vietnam’s best night-time street food
Behind Han Market, wind your way back from the river during the day and you’ll come to a quiet street that seems all but deserted save for a few white signs proclaiming in red, blue and green: ““PHO”, “NEM LUI” and “BO KEP LA LOT”, or the occasional chair left outside a closed café.
Come again at night and you’ll find the road crammed with motorbikes, awnings opened, shops lit up and the sound of people enjoying their evening meal. At the end of the road, a tall red arch proclaims the name of the street – this is Pham Hong Thai, and it’s where locals come for Da Nang’s best night-time street food.
4. You can eat and shop like a local at Con Market
Colourful bags of spices, tropical fruits piled high, tumbling towers of garlic and shallots, stacks of fresh herbs and fresh meat: Vietnam’s markets are a sensory overload. Da Nang’s Con Market is no different. It’s a great place to stop off if you plan to do some home cooking, or to find foodie souvenirs (take a bag of dried shrimps home to use in soups or stir-fries).
And then, of course, there’s the food stands. Con Market is a fantastic place for a snack, with lines of benches in between the stalls offering fresh home cooking. There won’t be any signs in English and service is likely to be brusque, so this is where to go for a really authentic experience.