13 CHEAP PLACES to EAT in DALAT - Family Favorites
It's no secret that we love to eat, and satisfying our taste buds when we travel is, quite honestly, a big priority! For us, while traveling long term on a budget, finding inexpensive, delicious, every day meals became somewhat of a hobby. Sure, good food can be had anywhere for a price, but CHEAP (we are talking $1.50 - $2.50 USD/ $2-3 CAD a meal) quality finds require a little extra effort.
Dalat is not necessarily famous for its culinary specialties, but a two and a half month stay was long enough to try some true gems. This is one of the many reasons why Dalat became our favorite city in Vietnam. Below is a list of places we, as a family, all enjoyed and frequented often.
1) Bánh Canh Cá Lóc Chú La
Address: 148 Đường Bùi Thị Xuân, Phường 2, Thành phố Đà Lạt, Lâm Đồng, Vietnam
This is the place to go if you want to try an amazing bowl of fish noodle soup. The best we've had in Vietnam. The broth is light and flavourful and the unique texture of these tapioca/rice noodles were a hit with our kids. Generous chunks of boneless snakehead fish is served on top, either steamed or fried, accompanied by a plate of fresh greens, and some quail eggs. They also come with a few sausages wrapped in banana leaves, which, truth be told, we weren't huge fans of. The restaurant itself is also clean and inviting, with lots of seating and a thermos full of hot tea on each table. Prices as per menu below. (~$1.50 USD - $2.00 USD)
2) Bún chả Hà Nội
Address: 83 Đường P. Đ Thiên Vương, Phường 8, Thành phố Đà Lạt
Bún chả has become a family favorite of ours, since our time in Hanoi, and we seek it everywhere we go. This new place, with barely any reviews on google, only serves two things: bún chả and spring rolls, and they make them very well. As with many local restaurants, their kitchen isn't hiding somewhere in the back; it's right in front for all to see and smell. Their grilled meatballs are juicy, full of flavour and seasoned just right. The spring rolls also don't disappoint, with a substantial filling and a crispy outer layer. Price: 40,000 vnd to 50,000 vnd. (up to ~$2 USD)
3) EM ƠI
Address: 35 Đồng Tâm, Phường 4, Thành phố Đà Lạt
After having spent 3 months in central Vietnam, we have acquired a love for cao lầu, a distinct Hoi An specialty with thick, chewy noodles, tender pork slices, bean sprouts and greens. This has become a popular dish among our family but one that is hard to find outside of Danang or Hoi An. Fortunately in Dalat, this place is more than capable of making an amazing bowl of cao lầu, among many other dishes. The restaurant itself has bright yellow walls with red hanging lanterns, a very typical, ancient Hoi An look. You'd never guess the price based on its mouth-watering presentation. Dishes below cost 40,000 vnd - 45,000 vnd = up to ~$2 USD.
4) The Wood Cafe
Address: 191/2 Phan Đình Phùng, Phường 2, Thành phố Đà Lạt
This friendly, mother- son establishment located down a quiet alley is tiny yet full of charm. Its cozy, rustic decor, wooden benches, colourful wall tiles and simple chalkboard menu made us feel right at home. Two things we enjoyed: the bò kho (our kids' favorite) and the bánh mì xíu mại, both which came with a warm, crusty baguette to soak up all that sweet, delicious broth. This was our spot for Vietnamese comfort food. The portions are a bit on the small side, and we often ordered an extra dish to share, which is easy to do when everything is under $1.50 USD.
5) Fungi Chingu
Address: 1 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, Phường 1, Thành phố Đà Lạt
So this isn't exactly Vietnamese, but it's a very popular spot with locals.There are several locations of this Korean BBQ restaurant throughout Da lat. We love korean food and often crave it. This place has a menu that includes all the usuals like kimbap and jap chae and made us feel as though we never left Busan. Though ordering BBQ can be more pricey (for Vietnamese standards), there are many dishes that are quite reasonable, like the bibimbap for 45,000 vnd/ ~$2 USD. Lettuce, veggies, and a couple of side dishes, including a large plate of kimchi, are all complimentary. They do, however, add a 10% service fee in the end, but it is still very much worth it. We also quite enjoyed the aloe vera chia and rice drinks.
6) Curry Chaaa
Address: 32 Đường Ánh Sáng, Phường 1, Thành phố Đà Lạt
Down a busy, little cobblestone alley full of streetside eateries, this place serves up some tasty fare. The menu is simple with the winner being, hands down, the beef curry. It is a very mild curry and approved by Owen, who sometimes prides himself as a curry connoisseur! For heat lovers, they have the Penang curry, which will seriously test your spice tolerance. Food is served bubbling hot in a rustic clay bowl with either a side of rice or a baguette. Adding a few sprigs of fresh basil is a must. These guys are quite busy and often run out if you show up later for dinner, so either call ahead or arrive early. Price: 30,000 - 35,000 vnd. Approx $1.50 USD.
7) Quán Cà Rem Bông Bông
Address: Hẻm 202 Phan Đình Phùng, Phường 2, Thành phố Đà Lạt
This place is something special, hidden amongst a quiet residential area. They offer premium, home-made ice-cream, with exotic flavours like bamboo charcoal and passionfruit. The owner is very friendly and speaks some english. We tried the bananas foster with vanilla ice cream and it was DIVINE. A bowl with 4 small scoops costs 35,000 vnd or about $1.50 USD.
8) Bánh căn Nhà Chung
Address: 1 Đường Nhà Chung, Phường 3, Thành phố Đà Lạt
These cute little pancakes are made out of rice flour and charcoal baked in special clay moulds, with a cooked quail egg inside. Its bubbly, light texture is the perfect sponge to absorb all the amazing flavours of the fish sauce dip, which has sour green mango strips and pork meatballs. 6 pancakes with dip was 30,000 vnd / less than $1.50 USD, at this popular place that has only one dish on the menu.
9) Bún Tộ Hoàng Hiền Măng Line
Address: 121 Đường P. Đ Thiên Vương, Phường 8, Thành phố Đà Lạt
Lovely owners, amazing food at incredible prices. This unassuming restaurant was right under our noses for a month before we realized how great it was, thanks to friends who urged us to go. Dishes are about 40,000 vnd, to 45,000 vnd each (up to $2 USD), and portions are very generous. We tried the simmering hot beef noodle soup, as well as the bamboo tray with noodles, salad and spring rolls. The menu is all in Vietnamese, but everything is worth a try!
10) Lang Farm Buffet
Address: 6 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, Phường 1, Thành phố Đà Lạt
This is a very touristy place, with locations all over Dalat and throughout Vietnam. Lang Farm is known for their souvenir packaged goods like dried fruits, tea and other gifty consumables. This location has an all-you-can-eat snack buffet upstairs, where you can sample their products, try steamed buns, corn, freshly made bánh tráng nướng (aka "Vietnamese pizza") and have as much ice-cream as your sweet tooth can handle. For the adults, they make a decent cup of coffee and there are different varieties of teas to try. This includes Dalat's famous artichoke tea. We came here on a rainy day as a treat for the kids on our last days in Dalat. 59,000 vnd per person/ ~ $2.50 USD (same price for kids).
11) Liên Hoa Bakery
Address: 15-17, 19 Ba Tháng Hai, Phường 1, Thành phố Đà Lạt
This is a hugely popular local bakery, as evidenced by the long line-ups at peak meal times. They have all kinds of sweet and savory treats like macarons, curry buns and croissants, but we went there mostly for their bánh mì / sandwiches which are mostly under 30,000 vnd/ $1.30 USD. Like the Vietnamese version of "Subway", there is a wide range of ingredients to choose from and their bread is freshly baked on site. The roasted pork sandwich is particularly amazing.
12) Mì Miền Trung
Address: Address: 86 Nguyễn Công Trứ, Phường 8, Thành phố Đà Lạt
This is yet another great place serving Central Vietnamese cuisine, and our second favorite joint for cheap cao lầu in Dalat. Most dishes are 30,000 vnd/ $1.30 USD. The lovely owner only speaks Vietnamese, but she is very welcoming and the simple menu on the wall has english written on it.
13) India Gate Restaurant
Address: 19 Đường Bùi Thị Xuân, Phường 2, Thành phố Đà Lạt
As much as we love the local food, there are days when we crave for flavours vastly different than Vietnamese. This new Indian restaurant is the best in town, serving huge portions enough for leftovers, lots of free sides and a sizable menu that makes it hard to decide what to order. Our kids loved the "Chicken 65" and our favorite was the yellow dal. The prices aren't as cheap as the places above, but for the quantity and quality, it is very worthwhile.
Smaller cities or towns sometimes tend to lack diverse food options, but Dalat doesn't fall under this category. We were spoiled for choice, and the longer we stayed, the more amazing places we discovered. If you make it to Dalat, be sure to check them out and let us know what you think!