Being a tourist town, you can find many kinds of food here like Western, Indian, and Vietnamese. However, let’s talk about the local specialties: Lon Cap Nach(direct translation: grabbing the pig around the arm)The H’mong raises a special kind of pig (or hog?) in the wild environment. When the pig weights around 7 to 10 kg, they capture the pig, grab it around the arm, bring home and grill it; hence the name “Lop Cap Nach”.
Most restaurants will have this “special grilled pork” on their menus, but I bet they are not authentic. The chance of getting the real deal is slim as there are not many of them.
If you really want to taste this special food then I suggest this restaurant: Hoang Minh Sapa, No. 23, 24 Sapa Cuisine Center.
Com Lam (sticky rice in Neohouzeaua – a kind of bamboo)
Com Lam is a specialty of the Northern minorities. The sticky rice was put into a piece neohouzeaua (a kind of bamboo) then burned/grilled until the rice is cooked. The locals usually eat it together with grilled pork/chicken.
This is my favorite dish in the world %uF04A. It has a special smell, a combination of the freshly cooked sticky rice and burned neohouzeaua. We usually go to the grill street in Sapa town, sit by the fire and order a couple of Com Lam and a chicken (my wife can eat a whole chicken herself).
Thang Co (bone soup)
This is probably the only food that I haven’t tried in Sapa and to be honest I’m a little bit scared to try. The typical H’mong Thang Co dish consists of many parts of the horse: bones, fat, meat, blood and even organs (!)
This is H’mong most popular dish and many other minorities also follow and put this into their regular menus. I can’t comment on how the food tastes (as I never tried) but many friends of mine absolutely love it.
Due to the all year cool weather, Sapa is the ideal place to grow temperate vegetables like cabbage, chayote, precious medicine herbs, and so on. For it’s hard to find these vegetables in other places of Vietnam, many consider vegetables a specialty of Sapa.
We often go to Sapa wet market to buy vegetables as souvenirs for families and neighbors.
Restaurant & Cafe
Rather than the above few special foods that Sapa is famous for, here is a list of restaurants and cafes for your references:
– The grill street behind the town’s church (only open around 5PM onwards). They grill everything: chicken, bird, pork, fish, and even eggs. There are dozens of them, one is next to another, just choose one
.- [Most affordable] Chapa Restaurant 40 Cau May St.: one of the most affordable (without compromising the quality) restaurants in Sapa.
– [New discovery] Hoang Minh Sapa Restaurant 23, 24 Cuisine Center (ask the hotel reception or your tour guide how to get there.)
– Little Sapa Restaurant 18 Cau May St.: love the steak here!
– Lotus Restaurant 34 Cau May St: famous with the salmon steam board. Excellent food but price is rather steep.
– [Must Visit] Gecko restaurant/cafe 04 Ham Rong St.: Western style, good environment. It’s a combination of restaurant and bar.
– Bamboo Bar 18 Muong Hoa Sapa St.
– Eclip Club Phanxipang St.
– [Must Visit] Sapa Coffee Corner: A very fun coffee shop. Near the foot of the stair to Ham Rong Mountain.
The shop’s nameplate (a tire) was actually a gift from two foreign tourists. They also have painting tools prepared for visitors to write down their name, random thoughts, or even poem on the wall.