British journalist “overwhelmed” by Nha Trang cuisine: Simple dishes but great taste!

Nha Trang cuisine has been attractively described by journalist Chris Dwyer – a writer specializing in tourism and British cuisine in an article published on SCMP 2018.

“Whether it’s pancakes, fish vermicelli, grilled spring rolls, or the famous Quang noodle dish… sold on the street, in a modern restaurant or a high-end resort, Nha Trang has something to offer. please everyone.”

That is the opening statement of the article about Nha Trang cuisine by journalist Chris Dwyer – a writer specializing in tourism and British cuisine.

The article is titled “Vietnam’s simple pleasures are summed up in Nha Trang, where humble dishes taste heavenly”. taste is excellent) was published in the South China Morning Post (SCMP – Hong Kong) in 2018.

The following is a summary of the translation of the above article.

Like many other tourists, Vietnam’s rich cuisine is what drew me to this country.

When the flight took me from Hong Kong (China) to Nha Trang of Vietnam, a clear blue water of the East Sea appeared before my eyes, with hundreds of floating fish farms that are small shacks, surrounded by nets and cages for raising a variety of seafood such as butterfish, cobia, shrimp and lobster.

Here is like a mini market, where you can buy seafood from the shacks and then they will be processed right at the floating restaurants nearby.

These shrimp and fish farms also provide seafood from street eateries, large and small restaurants, to high-class resorts in Nha Trang.

Photo: Alamy

Journey to discover Nha Trang culinary paradise

The first evening, I went to explore Nha Trang by myself and ate some famous dishes of this city.

In the late afternoon, when the sun has set, many locals and tourists take advantage of swimming. Even when the darkness was over and the lights from the squid fishing boats began to flicker and illuminate the offshore water, many people were still swimming.

On the street, many attractive aromas emanate from large and small eateries, where hot grilled squid and shrimp are dipped in a flavorful sauce before serving to diners. I decided to visit a grilled spring roll shop to taste this famous dish.

The restaurant is located at a crowded junction, simply decorated with rows of aluminum tables and green plastic chairs. The diners come here for the food, and they don’t seem to mind when the surrounding space is crowded and chaotic because of the sound of loudspeakers and the sound of street singers.

Indeed, the grilled spring rolls ordered by pointing to the next table and smiling did not disappoint me at all. It deserves to be called a “master” in terms of taste and texture.

British journalist overwhelmed by Nha Trang cuisine: Simple dishes but great taste!  - Photo 2.

Nha Trang grilled spring rolls.Photo: Chris Dwyer

Grilled spring rolls are served with all kinds of raw vegetables: coriander, laksa leaves, lettuce, mint basil… – along with a stainless steel plate containing cucumber, green mango, ginger… thinly sliced, and a rice paper set.

The focal point of the dish is the grilled spring rolls on hot coals, along with the crispy, golden pieces of ram, along with the palanquin and thinly sliced ​​carrots.

A young staff member of the restaurant gently taught me how to eat grilled spring rolls – just put all the ingredients in a sheet of rice paper and roll it up, then dip it into a bowl of attractive orange sauce.

An amazing culinary experience. In one roll, you have herbs, crisp and cool sprouts, the spiciness of ginger, the sourness of pickles, the crisp sound of ram and the smoky smell of grilled spring rolls – the whole thing becomes a wonderful combination. So perfect thanks to the sauce made from fish sauce, small shrimp, crab paste, sugar, garlic, and many other ingredients.

The next morning, I booked a motorbike tour of the resort. My travel guide and chef accompanying me drove me on an elegant cream-colored Vespa through the streets of Nha Trang.

British journalist overwhelmed by Nha Trang cuisine: Simple dishes but great taste!  - Photo 3.

Banh Can Nha Trang.Chris Dwyer

Our car went from the far crowded neighborhood to the far, quieter suburban area. The first dish I experienced on the second day of the trip was Banh Can, a small pancake-like cake made with rice flour and coconut milk.

The batter is poured into small terracotta pans before the vendor adds quail eggs, minced meat or shrimp to the top. The small dome-shaped cakes, soft sponge-like texture and layers of flavor are served with sweet and sour fish sauce.

And then there’s the Banh Xeo, a dish that looks almost like a crepe but is crunchy, not soft. Banh Xeo is made from rice flour, and yellow turmeric powder, and the filling includes bean sprouts, spring onions and fresh squid of Nha Trang, served with raw vegetables and sweet and sour fish sauce.

British journalist overwhelmed by Nha Trang cuisine: Simple dishes but great taste!  - Photo 4.

Pancakes.Photo: Chris Dwyer

After visiting a fruit and vegetable stall and a local bakery, I tried another “must-try” Vietnamese dish – iced coffee mixed with condensed milk – and then continued to visit a local market for people to enjoy. Your guide buys ingredients to cook fish noodles for lunch. The items at the market are really rich and attractive, both in quantity and quality.

On my last dinner in Nha Trang, I experienced the local dishes of “Mamma’s Cooking” right at my resort. All dishes are very tasty.

The chicken salad with onions and laksa leaves is one of the most flavorful salads I’ve ever eaten, but the dish that impressed me the most that evening was Quang noodles.

Quang noodles are a specialty of Central Vietnam with a unique flavor, consisting of a broth made from turmeric yellow meat, fish sauce and compressed tubers, served with large chewy noodles and a variety of herbs, with pork ribs. shrimp and quail eggs, add a little chili to taste, lemon, along with grilled rice paper.

A simple dish, but it is the perfect ending for my journey to discover Nha Trang cuisine.

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