As the biggest island of world-renowned Halong Bay, Cat Ba is one of the most famous Vietnam northern islands. Featuring magnificent limestone towers which rise above the jade emerald water, this island is a paradise for vacation.
Maybe you already got Cat Ba on your travel list, and you can find a dozen of travel guide to Cat Ba online. However, if you are a foodie traveler and want to know what to satisfy your taste buds here, this article is for you.
Cat Ba Harbor
The best dishes in Cat Ba Island
With a long coastline, seafood is a crucial part contributing to Vietnam exquisite cuisine. In the north of Vietnam, you cannot find any other places with better seafood than in Cat Ba Island.
Here is a list of best dishes that you must try:
Seven dishes of horseshoe crab
This is the signature dish of Cat Ba. From only one main ingredient which is fresh horseshoe crab, seven different dishes are made with distinct taste. Seven dishes of the horseshoe crab is a must for any foodies traveling to Cat Ba.
Grilled Horseshoe Crab
If horseshoe crab is the first, then geoduck must be the second dishes in your Cat Ba food bucket list. Many different recipes can be made out of geoduck, but steaming is the best way to taste it. Served with a well-mixed fish sauce, none can deny a meal with steaming geoduck.
Sea bass is a kind of fishes living in warm water zone. There are total 37 different kinds of seabass. In Vietnam, there are 30 of them raised throughout the country. Cat Ba Island owns three types of seabass with high nutritional values which are cooked into many tasty dishes such as Sea bass soup, steaming, hot pot.
Shrimp noodle (Bun Tom)
Vietnamese noodle, in general, is world-wide famous for a long time. In Cat Ba Island, there is one type of noodle that is so special that many connoisseurs have come to taste.
Cat Ba shrimp noodle use fresh shrimp caught in the local area. It is believed that there is a secret formula that makes the distinct taste of the broth.
If you are going on a culinary tour through Northern Vietnam, you should make a stopover in Cat Ba just to try this unique noodle.
Bun Tom (Shrimp Noodle)
Where to find them?
Finding the right place to eat is the key of a food tour
If you are on a tight budget but still want to try as much food as you can, food stalls within Cat Ba Central Market are where you should come.
For those who want local seafood but also prefer some European courses on the menu. Bamboo Cafe (1 Thang 4 Street, Cat Hai District, Hai Phong Province) can be a good bet.
Family Bakery (no.194, 1 Thang 4 Street) is the place to taste the best caramel of Cat Ba. The shop is open from 7.am to 4.pm.
If you are with a group, you should try to eat at floating restaurant. There will be a boat to get you there and take you back the harbor. However be aware that the price can be higher than the restaurants on land.
- Research and make a list of what you want to try first. Search for the price of each dish on the list beforehand.
- You are likely to be overcharged at street food stalls. So ask for the menu or price before ordering anything.
- There is a way to enjoy Cat Ba seafood with much less cost and better quality. Go to the Cat Ba Market and buy seafood yourself. You’d better go with someone who knows how the local or you can go alone but make sure to bargain before paying money. Then bring raw food to your hotel’s restaurant and pay them to cook your meal.
- A typical meal with one main course and vegetable which Vietnamese people call “Com Binh Dan” cost you around 100,000vnd/meal/person. You should not expect much from these kinds of meal.
- Don’t hesitate to try any food stall or restaurant you find interested when traveling this Northern Vietnam island. You might figure out the best one with the best dishes ever which are off the recommended list.