I didn’t spend too much time in Sapa (not yet!) so I didn’t explore what it has to offer when it comes to food. Had a quick brekkie at the hotel (banana, egg, fried rice) and spend rest of the time visiting the villages in the area, drinking water and snacking on some delicious halva my companion brought with him. But I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t try to grab something from the street food, and both times I loved what I’ve picked
The reason for you to visit Ta Phin might be the nearby cave, where locals used to shelter during the Sino-Vietnamese war in 1979. I will give you another one, just look for a big, half open pho and com place (it’ll be on the left-hand side when you enter the village) when you get here. Whilst other places will say 60-80.000 vnd per simple rice with egg (!) or serve nothing apart from instant vermicelli, this place is decently priced, full of local woman slurping pho noodles and serves exquisite com bin dan! I ordered it with tofu, eggs and some veggies and sat at the table hungry as hell. The strange thing was that I had to wait at all as this dish is usually prepared beforehand. After the longest 15 minutes, a plate of the best com ever was standing in front of me, the serving big enough for 2 people! Golden pieces of tofu in tomato sauce (dau phu sot ca chua), 2 fried eggs (trung ran) with melting yolk and a crunchy fried cabbage (bap cai xao), all fresh, hot and tasty. Next to this, compulsory tiny bowl of broth and he-lo! – this was a steaming pho soup, which is unique as you’d usually get a bowl of green veggies based, cold broth. This lunch is so worth coming here, believe me! 30.000 vnd for a full and happy belly.
This is a hearty bowl of pho lon, kind of pho I’ve never had before. First thing that caught my attention were the 2 ladies making the noodles right there, on the spot. Steaming the brown rice dough, spreading it to dry and cutting on the wooden board – that was quite a show. The soup was full of different kinds of meats, pigs organs to be precise. Tim which stands for heart, cat – liver and chewy intestine. Apart of that ca chua – tomatoes, dua chua – pickled cabbage and fresh herb rau hung. Locals would add a very solid splash of nuoc mam, I decided to use just a bit of mild, orange limes. Loved the soup, loved the company of peeping, cheerful woman making braids from my hair, handsome guy smiling while i took his photo, shy H’mong girl with a baby sleeping in the shawl attached to her back. To eat the soup you need to move your pretty asses around 100 km away from Sapa to Coc Ly Market. It takes place on Tuesdays fro the morning until 1pm and is very local (which means not many tourists, and that is something unique for Sapa). This bowl was 25.000 vnd and I wasn’t hungry until late in the evening.