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Dig In: Ha Giang's Top Tastes You Absolutely Can't Miss!

Updated: May 11

Ha Giang isn't just about stunning landscapes and colorful communities—it's a foodie paradise too! Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with a mouthwatering array of dishes that showcase the area's cultural roots and farming heritage. Check out our list of the 9 absolute must-try local food in Ha Giang!

01 Thang Co Ha Giang

Thang Co Ha Giang
Thang Co Ha Giang (Source: Internet)

Thang co is a must-try dish in Ha Giang that's sure to leave your taste buds buzzing! This hearty concoction features a mix of horse, beef, pork, or buffalo meat along with their organs, all simmered to perfection in a flavorful broth. What makes it truly special? The broth, infused with a secret blend of 12 spices like pepper, cinnamon, and cardamom, adds an extra layer of deliciousness.

Try it:

  • While you can feast on thang co at numerous restaurants across Ha Giang, the ultimate spot to savor this delicacy is at the Dong Van Market. Held every Sunday, this bustling marketplace is a hotspot for locals and visitors alike. It's not just one of Ha Giang's largest markets—it's also renowned for serving up some of the best thang co around. So if you're in town on a Sunday, make sure to swing by Dong Van Market for an unforgettable culinary experience!

02 Buckwheat flower cake in Ha Giang (banh hoa tam giac mach)

Buckwheat flower cake (banh hoa tam giac mach) Ha Giang
Buckwheat flower cake (banh hoa tam giac mach) Ha Giang (Source: Internet)

When you're in Ha Giang during the buckwheat flower season (October to December), indulging in the buckwheat flower cake is an absolute must! This delectable treat, beloved by locals and tourists alike, boasts a fragrant, subtly sweet flavor that's sure to leave you craving more. Crafted from ground buckwheat grains, sugar, water, and sometimes a touch of rice flour, this soft and spongy cake is steamed to perfection.

Try it:

  • Head to any local market in Ha Giang to get your hands on this irresistible delight and experience the essence of Ha Giang's culinary scene!

03 Ha Giang Au tau porridge (chao Au tau)

Au tau porridge (chao Au tau) Ha Giang
Au tau porridge (chao Au tau) Ha Giang (Source: Internet)

Another must-try in Ha Giang is Au tau porridge, a dish that's as unique as it gets. It features Au tau tubers, an exclusive find from the mountainous regions of Northern Vietnam. While Au tau tubers are naturally poisonous, the Hmong people of Ha Giang have mastered the art of turning them into a delectable specialty. When cooked into porridge, the bitter notes of the Au tau tuber mingle perfectly with the savory pork and spices, resulting in a flavor you won't soon forget.

Try it:

  • Huong Restaurant: Group 5 Tran Hung Dao, Nguyen Trai, Ha Giang

  • Hoa The Restaurant: 4C Highway, Meo Vac Town, Meo Vac, Ha Giang

  • Thuy Linh Restaurant: Group 10 Nguyen Viet Xuan, Tran Phu, Ha Giang Town, Ha Giang

  • Ngan Ha Restaurant: 161 Tran Hung Dao, Tran Phu, Ha Giang

04 Five-colored glutinous rice (xoi ngu sac)

Five-colored glutinous rice (xoi ngu sac) Ha Giang
Five-colored glutinous rice (xoi ngu sac) Ha Giang (Source: Internet)

Five-colored glutinous rice is a stunning dish made by blending glutinous rice with vibrant hues sourced from nature's pantry. Each color carries its own story: purple from Magenta plant leaves, red from Gac fruit, green from Pandanus leaf, yellow from Turmeric, and blue from Steamed soaked pea flower. Beyond their beauty, these colors hold deep symbolism, representing the five fundamental elements in Yin and Yang philosophy—wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. It's not just a feast for the eyes but a meaningful culinary journey through ancient wisdom.

Try it:

  • You can try five-colored glutinous rice at local markets, food stalls, and restaurants throughout the province, especially during special occasions and festivals.

05 Ha Giang Smoked buffalo meat (thit trau gac bep)

Smoked buffalo meat (thit trau gac bep) Ha Giang
Smoked buffalo meat (thit trau gac bep) Ha Giang (Source: Internet)

Meat is sliced thin, seasoned with a mix of salt, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass, then hung over a fire of bamboo, lychee, and chestnut woods for hours to infuse it with a rich smoky taste.

Try it:

  • Sample this smoked buffalo meat at markets, stalls, and eateries all over Ha Giang, notably in Dong Van and Meo Vac towns.

06 Steamed rice rolls (banh cuon)

Steamed rice rolls (banh cuon) Ha Giang
Steamed rice rolls (banh cuon) Ha Giang (Source: Internet)

Similar to Vietnamese steamed rice rolls, rolled rice cake in Ha Giang features rice flour, ground pork, wood ear mushrooms, and spices. However, here's the twist: locals skip the fish sauce for dipping and opt for Banh cuon with bone broth stew, onions, and coriander.

Try it:

  • Banh cuon ba Ha: 31 Pho Co, Dong Van District, Ha Giang

  • Ngan Nga Sung Dung Lu Restaurant: Sung Dung Lu, Dong Van Town, Dong Van District, Ha Giang

  • Banh cuon ba Bich: 29 Pho Co, Dong Van District, Ha Giang

07 Thang Den in Ha Giang

Thang Den Ha Giang
Thang Den Ha Giang (Source: Internet)

Local people soak the Yen Minh glutinous rice in water for a night, then grind the rice into flour. The flour then will be mixed with water and molded into small balls and boiled until the cake is cooked. Inside the sticky glutinous rice balls, there are different kinds of fillings, like green beans and red beans. Besides the sweet taste of the cake filling and the aroma of the sticky rice, Thang Den is also special in sweetened soup made from apricot blossom sugar, coconut, and ginger.

Try it:

  • You can try this dish in Dong Van Old Town, at weekly fairs, or along busy streets in Ha Giang’s city center.

08 Sour Pho (pho chua) - a standout dish in Ha Giang

 Sour Pho (pho chua) Ha Giang
Sour Pho (pho chua) Ha Giang (Source: Internet)

Sour Pho is a standout dish in Ha Giang, boasting a distinctive flavor and a medley of local ingredients. Crafted with rice noodles, pork, tomatoes, bean sprouts, and a blend of spices and herbs, it's a true culinary adventure. Toppings galore adorn a bowl of pho chua, including sliced char siu meat, sausage, roasted duck, carrot, cucumber, and papaya.

Try it:

  • Sour pho is a beloved street food in Ha Giang, so you'll spot it readily at local markets, food stalls, and eateries throughout the region.

09 Bac Me bamboo rice (Com lam Bac Me)

Bac Me bamboo rice (Com lam Bac Me) Ha Giang
(Bac Me bamboo rice (Com lam Bac Me) Ha Giang (Source: Internet)

This dish is a culinary gem crafted from glutinous rice cooked inside bamboo tubes, imparting a harmonious blend of sticky rice and bamboo essence. Prepared by filling bamboo tubes with rice and water, covered with dong or banana leaves, locals then cook them over a fire stove for about an hour until the rice reaches a tender consistency. Served alongside sesame salt, grilled meat, or fish, it's a delightful treat for the taste buds.

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