Tired of booze: Crustaceans and molluscs dominate Ha Long Bay, mainly because of the mineral-rich water. Because of this, you’re sure to find Ngán (a hard clam native to the region) on almost any menu. While you can enjoy these spicy clams in a number of ways (boiled, fried or served with a creamy sauce), locals love one in particular – soaked in wine. The shells of the clams are opened and the blood of the clams is poured directly into the strong fermented wine. Drink it up: Locals also say it naturally increases libido.
Where to try: Halong Bay Night Market, Halong Bay, Vietnam.
Oysters and Lobsters: Whether at a floating restaurant in the middle of the bay or in downtown Hai Phong, you’re sure to find freshly caught lobster and plates of oysters waiting to be caught. As in America, lobster is best enjoyed simply—steamed with rice porridge. Raw oysters are best eaten with just a little lemon, pepper and salt, but you’ll find locals enjoying their grilled oysters with chilli lemongrass. 1958 is one of the best restaurants in the area, often serving deep-fried oysters in a succulent salsa.
Where to try: Tuan Chau Island, Halong Bay, Vietnam.
no pigs: Arguably one of the region’s best-known delicacies is chewy, crunchy, and full of flavor no pigs, or squid cakes and rolls. Fried squid, mushrooms, minced meat, shrimp, fish sauce and fried onions are rolled into a thin sheet of rice paper. Also, these cakes are sometimes made by combining sticky rice, chopped and pounded squid, spices and chillies (such as coriander), fish sauce, and salt, and then put them in a deep fryer to make them crispy on the outside and soft on the inside juicy.
Where to try: Ha Long Market, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.
Cao said: One of the tastiest dishes of northern Vietnam, Cà Sáy is a cross between muscovy duck and traditional duck and offers a unique twist that combines the flavors of both. The dish is often served with an aromatic fish sauce made from herbal concentrates such as lemongrass, sassafras and ginger from Tianan. The meat is usually grilled or slow-roasted until it is fork-tender, and a plate of this meat is served with fish sauce, fresh ginger, and even Coca-Cola.
Where to try: Linh Dan Restaurant, No. 104 Bai Chay Road, Ha Long City, Vietnam.