Vietnam has a huge number of impressive landscapes including mountains, passes, lakes, rivers, and beaches, but I am not sure why I chose Dalat to depart my (solo) travelling path. Maybe because of the temperature weather, beautiful flowers there, or maybe my mom loves this city most.
After many days searching and preparing, I booked Thanh Buoi open bus from Sai Gon to DaLat thanks to its quality. I booked the bus departing 8:00am, but nearly 9:00am, I couldn’t get in the bus, it was too late to wait for other guests, tired! On the other hand, the trip was quite fine and the driver was careful, although it also means that it took long time to arrive. On the path, they stopped at a petrol station and one food store for us to have lunch. I must admit that the price is not cheap for backpackers like me; anyway, in general, everything was ok.
We arrived around 2:30 and the same to my first trip to Dalat a decade ago, this beautiful city welcomed me by an extremely fresh but cool air, absolutely different from the Saigon’s atmosphere.
Dalat has a various cuisine, but in my opinion, the five Vedettes are Nem nuong, Tofu, hot tea, Hue beef noodles grilled rice paper.
Right after checking in and took a short rest, I walked out to enjoy Dalat’s fresh air, roamed around the park near my hotel, and then went to Big C super market. It is very convenient for me to buy some stationery. Finally, being tired, I came back Xuan Huong Lake, got a seat at a Tofu vendor at the shore, and it did not disappointed me.
Tofu is not a strange food in Vietnam; just a small bowl of hot, while and silkily soft tofu with caramel and couples slices of ginger. That‘s all. However, the cool and windy atmosphere well-accompanied with this normal dessert makes it the best one ever.
When coming back, I will try this again.
2. Grilled Rolls (Nem Nuong)
To be frank, I am not sure how to name this plat in English. It was made of minced pork, which was grilled after rolling around a stick and served with vegetables, slices of star-fruits and green-banana, fried rice paper, and a special sauce. The same to plenty Vietnamese rolls, the most important ingredient is the sauce which is made of minced pork, nuts, and seasoning.
This is my first dinner at Dalat.
Many tourists have reviewed this dish on the Internet, and it created a trade for other visitors; in contrast, I do not this it is as delicious as people said; or maybe I am too grumpy.
This plat is really strange, and worth trying at this beautiful city, but I think it cannot be the presentative of Dalat cuisine.
3. Hot Tea
Personally, one of interesting things at the highland city is no matter what type of dish you have; you will be served with hot tea for free. Hot tea becomes a super star there thanks to the elegant smell, its warmness, and brings us the peace in the cool.
Tasting hot tea in this highland city, tourists have opportunities to try various types of tea including Oolong, Daisy, Jasmine tea…and the most popular one is Artichoke because in some case Dalat is the Artichoke capital in Vietnam. That drink is not only elegant and tasty but also healthy for all ages.
Additionally, taking the train from Dalat Station to Trai Mat (Mat Village), tourists have chances to view artichoke gardens on the roadside along the railway by themselves.
4. Hue Beef Noodles
Last century, when transmigrated to Dalat, Hue citizens also brought their traditional food – Hue Beef Noodle to the Highland city.
The typical taste and also the yummy creator for this dish is the spicy and no one denies that Hue citizens are best cooks at cooking hot plates. Besides, the can-not-be-absent ingredient when enjoy this noodle is fresh vegetables, which Dalat is famous for. By these reasons, Hue beef Noodle has become a trademark at the Flower City.
Moreover, sitting at a vendor in the windy and cold atmosphere to enjoy a smoky bowl of Hue Noodle is a perfect experience for everyone.
5. Grilled Rice Paper
Recently, grilled rice paper has become a favorite snack for teenagers and is considered as Vietnamese pizza; however, Dalat’s grilled rice paper has its own strengths. Of course, the first support for this snack in the flower city is the cool air; the second one and also the most importance is the cooking method. In other cities, the hosts usually grilled small rice paper with quails’ eggs and limited types of topping whilst in Dalat, people grilled the large rice paper (nearly double, I guess) with eggs and numerous types of topping.
After guests order, the sellers put the rice paper on the special tray on the fire; and wait for a couple of seconds to warm the rice paper, then break, pour, and spread one egg on the rice paper; grill until the egg turns into light brown and gets yummy smell; finally sprinkle the topping including cheese, grilled pork or beef, seafood, and even chili powder.
In Dalat, in order to enjoy this snack, people usually cut large grilled rice papers in to small parts by scissor, dip each piece into tamarin or chili sauce. Then, bon appetite!
Briefly, these above are just super stars in my opinion; other tourists may agree or disagree with me because even an awful dished can be awesome if you love it and vice versa. The only way to find out the answer is spending time to come and create your own experience.