Ha Giang is a province in northern Vietnam that is known as home to a variety of ethnic groups, each with their unique culinary traditions. In this article, we will explore the 10 tastiest Ha Giang foods that are worth trying.
Ha Giang is a beautiful province located in the northern part of Vietnam, nestled among stunning mountain ranges and featuring a diverse and vibrant culture. It is also famous for the Ha Giang Loop and delicious cuisine, which features a range of unique and flavorful dishes that showcase the region’s rich culinary heritage.
1. Thang Co
Thang Co is a traditional dish of the Hmong people, one of the many ethnic groups that call Ha Giang home. The dish is made from horse meat, horse organs, and a variety of herbs and spices, and it is often served with a side of rice or cornbread.
While the idea of eating horse meat may be a bit unusual to some, Thang Co is a delicious and hearty soup that is perfect for cold winter days when exlporing Ha Giang Loop Map. The dish has a rich, complex flavor that comes from the combination of herbs and spices used in its preparation, and it is a must-try for anyone visiting Ha Giang.
Apart from being a food item, Thang Co is also an integral part of the local culture. Recently, I had the opportunity to enjoy this dish with my Ha Giang easy riders at a local market during my Ha Giang motorbike tour.
We not only treated to a mouth-watering meal but also learned about the customs associated with Thang Co. The dish’s distinct aroma, infused with cardamom, doi seeds, and lemongrass, blended seamlessly with the rich flavor of meat, making it a perfect cold-weather comfort food.
- Where to eat: in restaurant or at local markets (Dong Van district)
- Price: from 20.000VND – 30.000VND per bowl
2. Au Tau Porridge
Au Tau porridge is a unique type of porridge that is popular in Ha Giang. Unlike the usual porridge that you might be accustomed to, Au Tau porridge has a bitter taste that sets it apart from other dishes. This is due to the unique combination of ingredients that are used in its preparation.
The key to the unique taste of Au Tau porridge lies in the combination of flavors that are present in every bowl. With just one spoonful, you can taste the fragrant aroma of yellow flower sticky rice mixed with glutinous rice, along with the fleshy taste of simmered tubers and pork broth.
You will also experience the flavor of spring rolls, fragrant leaves, and spice leaves, all of which come together to create a harmonious blend of flavors that is truly unique.
Au Tau porridge is perfect for cold winter nights, but it can be enjoyed at any time of year. It is important to note that this dish is only sold at night, so make sure to plan your visit accordingly.
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- Where to eat:
- Huong store and Au Tau Ngan Ha store in Ha Giang City.
- Moc Mien Au Tau porridge store (Dong Van District).
- Hoa The store in (Meo Vac District).
- Price: from 40,000VND – 60,000 VND per bowl
3. Sour Pho
In the region of Ha Giang, located in Vietnam, there exists a peculiar culinary delight beloved by many of the area’s ethnic people: sour pho. While the classic iteration of pho in Vietnam features savory meats like beef, chicken, and pork, it is not uncommon to come across a subpar bowl at local markets that lacks meat altogether.
Nevertheless, sour pho is crafted using a distinct method and boasts a flavor profile all its own, and as a result, it has gained a loyal following amongst the locals who relish in its consumption.
For those who are keen to explore unfamiliar cuisine and would like to delve deeper into the world of Vietnamese food, sour pho is certainly an option worth considering.
Some shops even offer versions that include meat, making it a dish suitable for all palates. Prior to indulging, be sure to season your bowl with additional spices such as soup powder, fish sauce, and the like.
Whether you’re fueling up for a day of adventure or looking for a light meal to enjoy, Ha Giang’s Pho is an excellent choice. It’s filling and nourishing, making it the perfect way to start your Ha Giang Loop 3 tour easy rider.
- Where to eat: No. 12 Bach Dang street in Ha Giang city
- Price: from 25,000 – 35,000 VND per bowl
4. Steamed egg rolls
Ha Giang is known for its cold climate and mouth-watering cuisine, particularly the steamed egg rolls. This delectable dish can be savored in select districts of the province and boasts an amazing flavor. The preparation involves steaming eggs, then rolling them up to create a delicious hot delicacy. It is typically enjoyed with sweet bone broth and vegetables.
Having tasted banh cuon in numerous locations, relishing egg rolls in Ha Giang leaves a unique impression. Gently picking up a thin piece of wet dough reveals the peach yolk-colored egg hidden inside, which when dipped into homemade water, provides a peculiar yet exquisite taste of the region.
In my opinion, missing out on this dish when visiting Ha Giang is not an option. After dipping it into the sauce, the egg rolls become even more irresistible. If you are looking for a satisfying food experience, Ha Giang has got you covered.
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- Where to eat: Mrs. Ha’s store at No.31 Pho Co street in Dong Van town
- Price: from 20,000 VND per bowl
When travelling to Ha Giang, be sure to visit these egg roll shops which open as early as 6 am and remain open until 10 pm. Although you can visit at any time, I recommend going in the morning after waking up. Eating these egg rolls will help keep you warm throughout the day in the chilly weather of Ha Giang.
5. Five-colored glutinous rice
Five-colored glutinous rice is a delectable local delicacy of Ha Giang. Although glutinous rice is popular all over Vietnam, in Ha Giang, it is made even more delightful with five vibrant colors, namely red, green, yellow, purple, and white. This dish is a unique and remarkable culinary experience that is rarely found anywhere else in the country.
What sets this dish apart is the natural ingredients used to obtain the colors, without resorting to artificial dyes. The local ethnic communities utilize natural components to dye the sticky rice. Red sticky rice is prepared using gac fruit or red rice leaves, while green sticky rice is made using ginger leaves, green rice leaves, or grapefruit peels. Bitter bamboo shoots are burned and soaked in water with a hint of lime to make green sticky rice. Old turmeric is pounded to make yellow sticky rice, and black rice leaves or similar leaves are used for making purple sticky rice.
- Where to eat: markets along the street
- Price: from 5,000 VND (but remember to ask the price during the festival)
6. Thang den
One must-try delicacy in Dong Van is Thang Den, a type of cake that’s similar to the famous Cong Phu cake in Lang Son or banh troi in Hanoi. Thang Den is made from glutinous rice flour and can be served vegetarian or wrapped in bean paste. Each dough ball is small, just a little larger than the tip of a thumb, and is boiled in a pot of broth until it floats to the surface. The owner then scoops it out with a ladle.
The secret to the dish’s deliciousness lies in the broth. The sweet mixture of sugar, coconut milk fat, and the spiciness of heated ginger makes for an excellent base. You can even sprinkle some sesame or peanuts on top for an added meaty flavor.
Diners often savor the sweet taste of the sugar water, the sharp tang of fresh ginger, and the rich aroma of peanuts by placing one or two wontons in their mouths. The broth and dough ball complement each other, making for a truly satisfying experience.
If you’re a foodie or just looking for a unique culinary experience, you must try Thang Den when visiting Ha Giang. Don’t forget to sprinkle some sesame or peanuts to make it even more delectable.
- Where to eat: stores in Yen Minh, Dong Van town, and the fair markets
- Price: from 5,000 – 10,000VND per small bowl
7. Sausages in the kitchen
This is an traditional food of Ha Giang citizens. It is usually served with five-colored glutinous rice.
To make sausage filling, people typically choose half-lean and half-fat meat. If the meat is too lean, the sausage will be dry and tough. The meat is sliced from the skin, cut into medium-sized pieces, and marinated with salt, sugar, monosodium glutamate, a little white wine, ginger juice, and chopped dried macadamia nuts.
Marinating the meat with white wine and ginger juice gives the sausages a unique aroma that can be preserved for a long time without spoilage. Once the sausage is dry, it can be left as a whole piece and fried until cooked, then sliced and served with ginger sauce.
Alternatively, it can be cut into medium-thick slices, fried in hot oil until crispy, and then seasoned with fish sauce and fresh onions. The aroma of the sausage is a delightful combination of highland sunshine, kitchen smoke, ginger, wine, and honey.
The chewy texture of the lean meat and the fat, along with the sweet and savory flavors, create a delicious taste that pairs perfectly with a glass of wine.
During New Year’s Day celebrations, no matter how many delicious dishes are served, sausage remains the most popular and frequently enjoyed dish. It truly captures the essence of the region’s cuisine and culture, and is a must-try for anyone visiting the area.
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- Where to eat: stores in Yen Minh, Dong Van town, and the fair markets
- Price: from 480,000 – 500,000 VND per kilogram
8. Buckwheat cake
Buckwheat, a signature flower of Ha Giang, is not only admired for its beauty but also an essential ingredient in local cuisine. Buckwheat cakes are made from flour and buckwheat seeds, providing a nutty aroma and a unique brown hue.
The cake is thick and flattened before being steamed over a fire. Its simplicity belies its scrumptiousness, making it a popular choice on hot days. Whether as a midday snack or an accompaniment to meals, the buckwheat cake is a must-try dish during a tour of this destination.
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- Where to eat: available in any traditional wet market.
- Price: from 10,000 per pax