Exploring cuisine is the best way to understand about a place when you travel. Visitors to Halong possibly are not an exception, and they would definitely be surprised by the incredible gastronomy of this charming bay. Also, not only seafood here is worth tasting, but a plenty of Vietnamese traditional foods and international cooking styles appeared in luxury restaurants here would satisfy any tourists.
Sea snalis – a half of Halong’s cuisine
It might be a little overstated to say that half of Halong cuisines are dishes made from sea snails, but this is to emphasize the significant contribution of this irresistible food stuff to Halong gastronomy.
There is no precise estimation on how many types of sea snails are edible in this beautiful bay. Huan, a local fisher said that he had seen about 20 kinds of see snails so far. The fisherman continued his story about sea snails by listing their name respectively, however, after three repeating times, this unprofessional tour-guide decided to try out directly that extraordinary creature would be the best way to “taste” Halong.
Cao Xanh market and Bai Chay market are the most popular spots where sea snails are supposed to be sold with the best quality. Wandering around Bai Chay, which is crowded with people eating on the sidewalks, every one can see a panel with the title: “Halong snail super market” that excitingly catches visitors’ eyes. Having a look through the restaurants’ menus, visitors would surely be surprised at the diversity of sea snails here.
With only one bowl of sauce made from fish-sauce, ginger, peppers and lemongrass, each type of snails with different unique flavors and different ways to enjoy would make anyone’s mouth water. Eaters enjoying snails are advised to drink hard beverages such as alcohol to avoid stomachache.
The other half of Halong’s cuisines: seafood derivatives
Visitors must be excited when served special liquor named “Ngán – Arca Wine” (“Ngán” is a species of Veneridae). This special drink is actually a mixture of typically Vietnamese rice wine and “Ngán” blood, which is supposed to benefit men’s sexual ability. After the mixture is completed, the wine transforms into a light red color with totally a different flavor. Spirit followers cannot wait to drink it, to feel an immediate absorbent into their bodies.
Another well-known alcohol named “Hoanh Bo” should definitely not be missed when visiting Halong. With low volume of alcoholic, the liquor is not tough to conquer, yet some people who consumes too much Hoanh Bo need 2-3 days to sober.
Halong is also famous for grilled chopped squid, which is told to be delicious and fragrant only when processed by restaurants here. The food is a fusion of hashed squid and mysterious spices that only the chefs know, molded into round pieces and then fried in boiling oil. This special dish can be found anywhere along the shore from Quang Ninh to Hai Phong, but nowhere has the same level of deliciousness like in Halong.
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