No matter where you are from or where you currently live, chances are you have heard about Vietnam’s delicious and diverse cuisine. The most exciting thing about Vietnamese cuisine is by far its diversity. Since the country features along the coast of about 3,500 kilometers, the local population has adjusted its cooking to climate and geography.
Have you ever heard of a tiny city on the southern coast called Phan Rang? If you’re not into adventurous sports like kitesurfing or diving, then it’s probably the first time you have heard about this place.
What is so special about Phan Rang? Well, except for being one of the centers of kitesurfing in Vietnam, Phan Rang Food is widely known for its fresh seafood and diverse food the locals prepare using different spices and ingredients.
Anyone who has ever visited Phan Rang and experienced the food there will definitely remember that culinary experience for the rest of their lives.
If you’re planning to visit Phan Rang or if you are already there and you just find yourself wandering around the city without knowing what or where to eat, then this is the perfect food guide for you!
Here you go! A complete foodie guide that will help you when it comes to choosing which food and where to eat in Phan Rang you have to try. Believe me, there are far too many options!
Unique Phan Rang Food You Have to Try!
Local Specialty Food in Phan Rang
Alright, first a little bit about the diversity of food in Vietnam…
As I already mentioned, Vietnam is an extremely long country that looks like the letter ‘S’ on the map. There are many mountainous regions in the north and on the borders of Laos and Cambodia.
Due to different terrain and climate, people grow different foods and prepare various dishes that differ from region to region. The coastal region’s dishes consist mainly of seafood.
In Vietnam, it’s pretty amazing when you travel around the country how the spices and specialty food change. For instance, northern regions are famous for non-comparable Pho (noodle soup), while in the south, you’ll have a hard time finding a bowl of delicious Pho. Central Vietnam has exceptional food too – Mi Quang.
Phan Rang is located on the southern coast of Vietnam and the cuisine is mainly influenced by southern culture when it comes to spices. The majority of delicacies come from the sea, and once in Phan Rang, you’ll have a chance to try some of the freshest seafood in Vietnam. After reading this article you will know the best places to eat in Phan Rang and be able to visit them all during your trip.
So, let’s dip straight into the unique food in Phan Rang:
#1 Banh Canh (Phan Rang’s Signature Noodle Soup)
Banh Canh isn’t a popular dish in northern Vietnam, but as soon as you set your feet in central Vietnam you can find many street restaurants selling Banh Canh. In Da Nang, there are many shops that make a very delicious Banh Canh, while some others fall short.
What’s the catch?
People selling Banh Canh in Da Nang and the surrounding area are from the south, mainly from the Ninh Thuan province where Phan Rang is the capital city. Banh Canh is the signature dish from Ninh Thuan province and really, if you’ve ever tasted that noodle soup anywhere else, you will instantly taste the difference!
What makes the Banh Canh from Phan Rang so unique? Well, if you guessed the locals combine fresh herbs and vegetables with a lot of fish/other seafood that makes a specific taste you’re right!.
The ingredients are cooked noodles, small fish rolls, coriander, green and white onion, a bit of minced fish, and delicious broth in which the recipe is always a secret. Locals usually love to add chili peppers, black pepper, and a bit of fish sauce topped with fresh lemon.
The main ingredient that makes a difference is the type of fish used in fish rolls. In Phan Rang, locals usually use freshly caught fish like barracuda for making fish rolls. They use only the fillet in the rolls and cook the bones to add a special sweet taste to a broth.
Where to Eat Banh Canh?
You can find Banh Canh almost anywhere you go in Phan Rang! There are so many street vendors and Phan Rang Restaurants preparing delicious Banh Canh and it’s definitely recommended to try it freshly made. A bowl of delicious Banh Canh from a street vendor ranges from 15,000 – 30,000 VND, or .85 – $1.30 USD.
For people who would rather go to a restaurant and enjoy Banh Canh, the place to go that is recommended by locals and tourists is the Nguyen Banh restaurant. If you go in with the idea that Nguyen Banh is a huge fancy restaurant you’ll soon be disappointed. It’s a tiny restaurant with a friendly staff who make sure you’ll have the best culinary experience in Phan Rang.
The price for a big bowl of Banh Canh is 20,000 VND (.86 USD), so it’s definitely a place that will fill your belly while not hurting your wallet!
#2 Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancakes)
Another delicacy that can be found along the central coast a delicious cake filled with vegetables and seafood. If you like pancakes, then you will love the Vietnamese version of a pancake made with a mixture of rice flour, turmeric powder, and a bit of water.
When it comes to pancakes, you probably have a different, unhealthy, idea of the filling. Vietnamese food is exceptionally healthy, with a few exceptions. Banh Xeo has a filling with mixed vegetables, usually lettuce, basil, mint, onions, and beans combined with meat or seafood.
This savory pancake is the perfect option for vegetarians since you have the option to choose which ingredients you’d like to have inside.
Usually, Banh Xeo is rolled in rice paper combined with few other vegetables which look like a spring roll and can be dipped in different sauces, mainly fish or peanut sauce. It’s extremely delicious and addictive!
Be careful though as it’s deep-fried in oil, so it’s a bit heavy on the stomach and you can easily pack on a pound or two!
Where to Eat Banh Xeo?
As Banh Xeo doesn’t originate from Phan Rang, it’s important that you know how to find the right restaurant. There are few restaurants around the city that serve delicious Banh Xeo mainly prepared by people who moved to Phan Rang from central Vietnam.
Que Huong restaurant is the place you want to be when it comes to Banh Xeo. This place specializes only in Banh Xeo, so there you can pick among various fillings including shrimps, squids, and a variety of vegetables.
There is one important rule when it comes to food in Vietnam – wherever you notice many locals you know the place is cheap and has delicious food! Que Huong is definitely that place!
Avoid late hours as there is usually a huge row of locals waiting for their Banh Xeo. The prices are very affordable and one pancake is only 7,000 VND or .30 USD.
#3 Chicken Rice
If there is one meal you can’t miss out on, it would be chicken rice. This famous dish is prepared by locals along with the whole country. In Phan Rang, a bowl of chicken rice is very popular and incredibly delicious, as it is made from locally bred chicken.
As the name says, rice is usually fried with eggs, onions, and mint for a better taste. Combine that with grilled or fried chicken and you have a fantastic and simple meal.
Where to Eat Chicken Rice?
There are two restaurants that are well-known for preparing delicious chicken rice: Khan Kiem and Phuoc Thanh.
Khan Kiem is by far the most popular restaurant when it comes to chicken rice among locals. The chicken here tastes very delicious as the chefs top the rice with different herb combinations that melt in your mouth. The chicken is cut in pieces and while you’re paying for each piece of chicken, it is well worth the money. The plate of fried rice costs 9,000 VND (.40 USD) the piece of chicken costs 25,000 VND ($1 USD). Believe me, one piece of chicken satisfy your hunger and have you ready to explore stunning Phan Rang or the surrounding nature.
Phuoc Thanh is bigger than the Khan Kiem and offers a few different options when it comes to chicken rice. The chicken is also in pieces and the amount you pay depends on how many pieces you eat. For one piece of chicken with the rice, you should expect to pay 20,000 VND (.85 USD) . Phuoc Thanh is a really cool place that will give you an amazing vibe and show you how locals are spending their days.
#4 Banh Can (Rice flour cake)
Banh Can is a cake that comes exclusively from the Phan Rang area. However, every region has its own version of Banh Can. For instance, in central Vietnam, it’s called Banh Bot Loc, while in the southern provinces it goes by the name Banh Khot. There is a good reason why Vietnamese people change the name of this delicious cake – differences in seasoning, fillings, and ways to prepare it.
I had a chance to enjoy this delicious cake in Da Nang, as well as in Phan Rang, and from the first bite, it was obvious who was the winner!
As Phan Rang is located on the coast, you should definitely go for a Banh Can filled with seafood like fresh squid, octopus, or shrimp. Another thing that differentiates Banh Can in Phan Rang is the way locals prepare the base with rice flour.
How to make the perfect rice flour and which ingredients locals use is still a secret that has been passed down from generation to generation. In addition to the ingredients, it is extremely important that locals prepare the ovens and reach the temperatures before the first customers start to arrive!
Once you order Banh Can, you’ll get the cakes served along with chilis, fish sauce, onions, chili sauce, and unripe mango.
Where to Eat Banh Can?
There is not a particular restaurant that specializes in preparing Banh Can, but don’t worry as this is a common food from the Ninh Thuan province. The chances are you’ll stumble upon many tiny restaurants and street food stalls serving Banh Can when wandering around the city are pretty great\.
Just follow the main rule when it comes to eating in Vietnam – go to the places that are filled with locals!
As a side note – Banh Can is a morning food and you will have a hard time finding a place that serves this delicious cake after 1 PM.
#5 Bun Sua (Jellyfish noodle soup)
Bun Sua is another local food that can be found in the area around the Phan Rang coast. This is very strange but delicious food that is served only during the winter and spring months. The reason for this is the migration of jellyfish. When the temperature of the sea rises, the jellyfish migrate towards the cooler water temperature in the north, so time your trip during the winter and spring if you’d like to try this delicacy.
The ingredients in Bun Sua include freshly made noodles, quail eggs, coriander, minced green onion, a fresh-caught jellyfish, and topped with peanuts. Many locals swear the soup isn’t the same without shrimp sauce! I can’t tell if it’s true or not since I can’t stand even the smell of that sauce a few meters away from me.
Jellyfish is a very strange but delicious food to try. It doesn’t have any specific flavor. It’s crunchy on the outside but filled with a waterish jelly on the inside. The combination of ingredients in the soup makes it a very unforgettable experience in Phan Rang!
Where to Eat Bun Sua?
This seasonal dish is only prepared from December to April, so there is not a specific place that serves it. My best advice would be to head over to Le Loi street and check for the signs on the street that says Bun Sua. Again, go to the restaurants that are filled with friendly locals!
Enjoy your Phan Rang experience!
Have you ever been to Phan Rang? What kind of delicacies did you try there? Please share your experiences with us!
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Travel writer and owner of the blog. My work has been featured on Fodors, Eater.com, International Living, and Great Escape Publishing, among many others. My story? Nearly six years ago, I left my job at an Oklahoma City law firm and embarked on a journey around the world. At the time, I thought I would only be gone for 6 months, but the more I traveled, the longer my bucket list became. Flashpacker describes how I travel. Rather than traveling as the normal world wise backpacker and staying in hostel dorms, I prefer a more comfortable experience, and typically stay in private rooms, take Ubers instead of taxis, and now use a suitcase instead of a backpack. Foodie, on the other hand, describes one of the key reasons why I travel. I love to pick a central “base camp” and then explore the surrounding area, really immersing myself in the culture and interacting with the people, and enjoying and exploring the food of an area is an essential part of this experience.