Specialty Foods in Dalat

If you have an adventurer's palate, there are places where you can try something you may never have eaten before. Many are suitable for a group of five or six friends.

• Barbecues

You will be impressed by the way chefs season their meat. Your mouth will water as you watch the waiter fill a plate with unusually arranged pieces of meat on your table. If you are sitting at the same table with someone from northern Viet Nam, s/he will immediately tell you the taste is typical of northern cooking. A good restaurant for barbecue is Sa Pa on Hai Thuong Street (Tel. 835760). The house is modeled after the stilt house of the northwestern part of northern Viet Nam and the Central Highlands. The price for a plate of roasted meat for four persons is VND 30,000.

• Dishes prepared from local or marine products

Some restaurants serve dishes made from both local and marine products, but if you want to have 200-gram lobsters, the place to go to is the restaurant with the name meaning "sea and mountain," which is Hai Son,   near Da Lat Market. The telephone number is: 827252.

• Asian and European food

Tourists may also dine at restaurants serving both Asian and European dishes. In particular, try Cafe de la Poste, the casual cafe that is near the Sofitel Palace and Novotel. They serve French pastries, and next to the bar is a pool table.

Below are some good restaurants:

- Nhat Ly, 88 Phan Dinh Phung, Tel: (063)821651
- Phuong Hoang, 81 Phan Dinh Phung, Tel: (063)822773
- Nhu  Ngoc, near Da Lat Market, Tel: (063)822651
- Nam Do, near Da Lat Market, Tel: (063)824550
- Long  Hoa,  63  thang  4 Street, Tel: (063) 822934
- Thanh Thanh, 4 Tang Bat Ho, Tel: (063) 821836 - 829158
- Tan Hue Do, 27/2 Hoang Dieu, Tel: (063) 826848 (serving a specialty prepared from goat meat)
- Van Hue Lau, 22/2 Tran Phu, Tel: (063) 824794
- Nhu Y, 143B Phan Dinh Phung, Tel: (063) 823770
- Quan Suoi Mo, 17 Nguyen Van Troi, Tel: (063) 823022
- Hoa Le, 1 Nha Chung, Tel: (063) 833399 (specializing in sea food)

• Cabbage

Da Lat is a city of cabbages. They not only carpet the hills surrounding the town but also occupy pieces of land near Xuan Huong Lake and Le Dai Hanh Street. Da Lat's cabbages are grown with hygienic technology, so you're safe eating such vegetable dishes. The nets covering the plants not only protect them from insects, but enhance the local landscape.

Cabbages are so abundant that some restaurants won't even charge customers for a plate of cabbage topped with sliced egg. Such generosity may even be extended to include goat meat hot pot (lẩu dê), a dish that you can enjoy with your cabbage dish.

Below are some good lẩu dê (goat hot pot) restaurants:

- Ngan, 32C Ho Tung Mau, Tel: (063) 823808
- Phu, Hoang Dieu St.

Some law-end lẩu dê restaurants are on Le Quy Don Street (near Nguyen Van Cu Street and 3 thang 2 Street), and khu Ba Toa (one kilometer from Da Lat Market). A good lẩu dê dish for four diners costs VND 40,000 to 60,000.

•  Coat Meat

Coat Restaurant (Quán Dê), 5 Ho Xuan Huong Street, Tel: (063) 824197, serves many traditional dishes made from goat meat, including goat blood for the bolder diner.

•  Artichoke

Artichoke season runs between December and June. For six months, this voluptuous vegetable becomes a regular item in many restaurants. The most popular artichoke dish is stewed with pig legs, it is believed to have medicinal values, facilitating urination, cooling the liver system, and ensuring a sound sleep. Tourists on holiday during the Vietnamese Lunar New Year Tết (end of January - February) usually eat this dish.

• Mekong Delta dishes

Nhu Ngoc 2 Restaurant, which serves dishes from the Mekong Delta, is an interesting place. It is conveniently located behind the central post office in the town center, overlooking the central market. The menu includes, among other things, rice cooked in the traditional style, using small terra cotta pots. Adding to the rustic ambience are the waitresses who are dressed in the traditional bà ba uniform of the Mekong Delta. You can find Nhu Ngoc 2 Restaurant at No. 19/8 Ho Tung Mau Street. The telephone number: (063) 833999.