Exciting Culinary Experience In Sapa

Located in the Northwest of Vietnam, Sapa is a colorful and charming town of Lao Cai province. Dubbed the Queen of Northwestern mountainous Vietnam, Sapa is famous for its spectacular natural beauty. But this is not the only what you can enjoy here. As home to five ethnic minorities, Sapa has its own diverse cuisine, which can give you an exciting culinary experience during your journey.

“Lam” rice (Bamboo cooked rice)

“Lam” rice or bamboo sticky rice, a popular and typical specialty of the mountainous area, is a special way to cook rice not in ordinary pots but in bamboo tubes. Originally, it was invented as a kind of take-away food for long journey in the forests. After many years, “lam” rice has become popular and it is often served with roasted sesame salt and grilled pork.

Sapa, com lam, lam rice

Bamboo cooked rice in Sapa. Vietnam

Thang Co (Horse meat soup)

Thang Co, known as a horrifying food due to its extremely unpleasant odor, is actually favored by many travelers, even a few are addicted to its very “special” and unique smell! It is a traditional dish of H’mong people in Sapa and is literally means soup cooked in a big pan. The main ingredients to be cooked are meat, bone, blood, and organs of the horse mixed with more than 20 mountainous botanical herbs including cardamom, citronella, ginger…and the most important thing - Thang Co plant (named after the dish’s name). Having Thang Co and drink Assam apple wine is one of the most amazing tastes that you will never forget about Sapa.

Vietnam Sapa, thang co, horse meat soup

Thang co - Horse meat soup

Xoi bay mau (Seven-color steamed glutinous rice)

Steamed glutinous rice with seven colors made from natural leaves, including pink, vermilion, scarlet, indigo, yellow green, chartreuse and yellow, is called “xoi bay mau” in Vietnam. It is an important traditional dish in the festivals of the Nung Din ethnic in Muong Khuong province (Lao Cai). According to Nung Nin people’s concept, anyone eating this colorful glutinous rice will get lucky and good things in the life.

Vietnam Sapa, xoi bay mau, seven-colored rice

Seven-color steamed glutinous rice

Thit lon cap nach (Carried-under-arm pig)

Sapa is well-known for its dishes made from “lon cap nach”, which symbolizes the familiar image of local people tucking their small pigs under their arms as they bring them to the market for sale. The meat can be cooked in different ways such as steamed, boiled, baked, stewed, and the taste is very delicious.

Vietnam Sapa, carried-under-arm piglet

Grilled carried-under-arm piglets

Mam da (a kind of vegetable)

Mam da is a kind of vegetable which is harvested from November to March of the lunar calendar and it’s not easy to buy at any places. It has a quite similar taste to Chinese broccoli but it smells better and tastes sweeter. Mam da can be boiled and dipped in fish sauce with an egg or fried with garlic and buffalo meat.

Vietnam Sapa, rau mam da

Rau mam da

Con sui (Dry pho)

Con sui is a Chinese dish which includes rice noodles, crispy roasted shallots, herbs, roasted peanuts, pepper, chili, beef, and a small bowl of flavored sauce will be whisked onto your table. The rice noodles used in this dish are very similar to the ones used in the traditional pho, a national symbol of Vietnamese food culture. The main difference is that pho has beef soup while con sui is eaten with flavored sauce, not soup. Adding a little chili sauce will make the dish more delicious and make you feel warmer in a cold day in Sapa.

Vietnam Sapa, dry pho, con sui

Con sui - Dry Pho

Salmon in Sapa

Vietnam Sapa, salmon, ca hoi

Fresh Salmon in Sapa, Vietnam

Salmon, a kind of fish which live only in cold regions, have been imported and successfully adopted in Sapa. With great taste and high nutritional ingredients, salmon is one of the most luxurious dishes in Sapa. With a cool climate all year round, Sapa salmon is suitable to cooked and served as many different dishes but the most prominent among them are salmon hot pots, salmon salads and grilled salmon.

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