The northwest mountainous region in Vietnam, particular in Sapa, has a diversity of local food, making diverse culinary culture of ethnic minority groups living here. Visiting Sapa, in addition to admiring beautiful landscapes and discovering unique customs of the locals, you should spend time trying local cuisine to find that dishes in Sapa bring a simplicity and rusticity of nature and humans in the mountainous region but own a special charm to those have tried once.
Sapa “Cắp nách” Pork
The name of this dish is derived from the images which you can easily see in Sapa: local people sell small pigs whose weight is less than 20kg so that they can put into baskets, even put in the armpits.”Cắp nách” pork is a special food in Sapa. The way to make this dish is very diverse; but the most popular way to process is roasting a whole pig directly on charcoal so that the skin covering the pork is very brittle while the pork inside is very delicious and fleshy. No matter how you cook it, this dish brings good taste and sweetness of pigs living in forests in the mountains and find food by themselves.
“Cắp nách” pork is a famous specialty in Sapa
Salmon Sour Hotpot
Sapa possesses an extremely cold weather all year round and the water here is pretty cold; so Sapa is a suitable place for salmon to live and develop. As a result, dishes made from salmon is very familiar to the local people. Among them, salmon sour hotpot is a favorite dish for almost local people and tourists. The most attractive thing of salmon sour hotpot is its broth. It is a perfect combination of several vegetables types and freshly caught salmon. Unlike other fishes, salmon brings to tourists an elegant and delicate flavor. Nestle up to a restaurant on Sapa hillroad and make an order of salmon sour hot pot, your heat beat is just a little bit faster.
Salmon sour hotpot in Sapa
Black chicken is a kind of small chicken with black skin, black meat and black bone. This is a specialty of H’mong ethic people, which the locals usually graze naturally so chicken is so touch and tasty. Black chicken can be processed in many ways but the best recommendation is chicken soaked in honey then grilled directly on charcoal.
Black chicken is a specialty of H’mong ethnic people living in Sapa
In some restaurants in the town of Sapa, visitors can choose the black chicken they want to eat and then the cook will quickly clean and cut it into small pieces to marinate. Soaking the chicken in honey might sound easy but it is actually a really sophisticated step which requires both experience and meticulousness of the cook. If you add not enough honey, the dish will be bland and lack of the unique aroma of forest honey but if too much honey is added, grilled black chicken will be burned and tastes very bitter. After being grilled, Sapa black chicken will be served with mint leaves and a dipping sauce of salt, lime and chili. Any visitors come to Sapa without enjoying special grilled honey black chicken is absolutely a pity.
7-color sticky rice
7-color sticky rice is a traditional dish of Nung ethnic people in Sapa
7-color sticky rice is a traditional dish of Nung ethnic people living in Muong Khuong, Lao Cai. All of its colors include pink, scarlet, black, crimson, dark green, yellow and white – all is made from leaves of forest, thus it is very good for health. 7 colors symbolize 7 colors of rainbow, the Nung ethnic people make those kind of sticky rice with meaning of luckiness. In New Year day, every family of Nung ethic group living in Sapa eats this sticky rice and wish for lucky and happy New Year.
Grilled dishes are the first thing to remember about Sapa
Sapa is pretty cool all year round, so enjoying grilled dishes when visiting Sapa is always a favorite activity of all tourists. Especially, colorful skewers with their irresistible smell are the first thing to remember about Sapa after tourists leave this small town. It seems like every ingredients can be threaded onto skewers to grill, from vegetables, corn, potatoes to egg, meat, fish or bird. The grilled skewers in Sapa have a special taste, completely different comparing to the others because they are marinated and grilled with wild vegetables and condiments that only ethnic groups in Sapa own. Ham Rong Street is a great place to enjoy grilled food, where locals sell only grilled dishes.