Danang is the largest city in Central Vietnam, located along golden My Khe beach. Most tourists know it only as a gateway to the more famous ancient towns of Hue and Hoi An, so few bother to spend time here except to drive through the city on the way to the international airport.
However, in Danang recently for a few days, we realized that this city is way more than a stopover. In fact, it’s a great destination for a food trip. The large variety of restaurants and markets make this a proper foodie destination.
Moreover, because of its royal heritage, Central Vietnam has a cuisine that’s quite different from both the North or South. So it’s unique even for food-loving travelers who have visited Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi.
THE PROMENADE OF DANANG
So off we went on our first day to do what we have always done best. We went for a long walk to see where Fate would lead us. Strolling at an easy pace along the beach, we saw fishermen sitting by the ocean and surfers out in the water catching the messy waves of the season.
Meanwhile, couples were having drinks on the beach and both old and young were enthusiastically using the public exercise machines set up right by the boardwalk. In other words, the city was alive, and its energy was infectious, giving us a happy buzz. Our three-hour walk allowed us time to breathe in the fresh ocean breeze and to think about our trip. Danang was the tail-end of our holiday, and the best moments were passing by too quickly into memories.
NGON VILLA IN DANANG
For dinner, delicious local food is available at a variety of cafes and street stalls. We reserved one evening for a meal at Ngon Villa, which is supposed to be the best restaurant in Danang. It’s currently the #1 restaurant in Danang, in terms of popularity, according to TripAdvisor.com. Of course, we had to try it out.
This restaurant is located in a large house in a trendy neighbourhood in Danang. It looks graceful and elegant from the outside, but inside the restaurant is very lively. It has an open kitchen and two floors for diners. Apparently it’s full every night.
ORDER ALL YOU CAN AT NGON VILLA IN DANANG
The food here is really of good quality for the price charged. Ngon Villa offers a unique order-all-you-can dining menu for a set price, and the range of dishes covers delicacies from all over Vietnam. With a nice bottle of wine and musicians playing on a terrace covered in lanterns, we ended our day on a high note with a delicious meal here. It was really a nice way of trying a wide variety of Vietnamese dishes for a fixed price.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF DELICIOUS
The next day, we were up for more food adventure. However, this time, we made up our minds to eagerly explore the street food scene in Danang. For this, we headed downtown where every street has at least one busy food stall. These stalls are easily recognizable by the open space before them, set up with small plastic tables and stools.
With a nice bottle of wine and musicians playing on a terrace covered in lanterns, we ended our day on a high note with a delicious meal here. It was really a nice way of trying a wide variety of Vietnamese dishes for a fixed price.
You’ll find typical street food everywhere, just by walking around. The vendors are all offering one of these three options: the ubiquitous pho noodle soup, chicken rice or bahn mi, which is the Vietnamese version of a sandwich. Spoiled for choice, we headed for a street food set-up that received rave reviews online.
We chose a casual restaurant that operated out of a garage. It had simple tables and a bright color scheme. So it might be considered the Michelin three-star equivalent of a street food stall. We were even given disposable wet towels, after all.
Here, in the luxury version of a street food stall, we decided to get a little bit of everything. We particularly relished the tasty pho noodle soup. It’s so interesting how we never got tired of having pho twice a day on each day of our trip.
COFFEE CULTURE IN VIETNAM
At the end of the evening we stopped at a pretty cafe along a quiet street. Cafes are part of Danang’s culture and we’d seen so many attractive cafes as we rode in cars and taxis through the city. However, we hadn’t actually set foot in one yet. So we thought that our last evening would be most appropriate time to finally drink a proper Vietnamese coffee in one of them.
Every Vietnamese cafe has its own charm so it’s hard to decide on where to go. We actually ended up in our choice quite spontaneously by liking the look of the gardens from outside. This was the first café with a proper garden that we had seen so far.
Then we noticed how groups of people were happily sitting around, giving it a nice vibe. We found a table under a parasol in front of a pond with koi fish, surrounded by plants. Here we sat for the rest of the evening, discussing all the wonderful things we had seen so far in Danang