Because it sees a steady trickle of foreign travellers passing through, there are a few sit down places with English menus scattered about town. These tend towards delivering the comforts like English speaking staff, a familiar atmosphere and very cold drinks, but the food isn’t always up to standard. Two of these are Bay Bong, towards the northern reaches of town, close to the river, and, more in the centre of things, Truong Van, a block south of the Hotel Trung Nguyen. We tried both of these and neither meal was great, but, if you’re looking for an easy to order simple one plate dish, with an English menu, then keep these in mind.
You can (and will!) be better fed elsewhere!
Chau Doc is known for bun ca (not to be confused with bun cha!)—a rice vermicelli soup with a fish base. While you may encounter the dish in many destinations within Vietnam, Chau Doc is one of the top shelf spots for it. There is a variety on the dish, bun kan, which we missed out trying, but it has a coconut based soup, and at least from the pics we saw online, it looks bloody good. We had probably a half dozen bowls of this across our four days in Chau Doc and our two favourites were Bun Ca Be Hai on Chi Lang, on the south side of the Buddhist temple and Bun Ca Di Le, set on Le Cong Thanh behind the Nguyen Huu Canh temple near the market. The latter was especially delicious.
Being right by the river, Chau Doc isn’t shy about seafood and Phuong, a little to the east of the Victoria Chau Doc came repeatedly recommended. They offer an English menu and the prices were not outlandish—but, it pays to know your way around the fish tanks before you eat, and if ordering something priced by weight, always confirm the price before they kill it.
Not far away and nearly opposite the Victoria, sits the easy to remember Mekong Restaurant, set within a lovely and historic trio of buildings. It is set back off the road, so there are absolutely no river views, but staff are friendly and welcoming. The food, can be a bit hit and miss, but we did have an excellent ca kho to (braised claypot fish) here which we would definitely return to have again, do skip their squid offerings though.
Heading further out to the east, if you are looking for something a bit more far flung, Tiem Com Minh came recommended to us by Mr Long (see our things to do in Chau Doc section) which is well out in the eastern reaches of town, perhaps 500 metres past the turnoff to Murray Guesthouse. We came here for two classic matched dishes—chan chua and ca kho to and they were great—the sour soup was especially good.
Back in town, the top and bottom of the Chau Doc market have ample eating opportunities, especially on the off river (southwest) side of the market, where stalls set up both in the early morning and evening. Also around the off river side of the market, are plenty of cafes, including both Fam Coffee and Ice Cream, just to the south of the Hung Cuong Hotel and Cafe Goc Pho across the road from the off–river end of the market, both are air-con and offer a full range of coffees in both Vietnamese and Western styles. Just to the west of the former is a very solid banh mi stand.
Despite its long river frontage, Chau Doc doesn’t make the best use, at least from a stuffing face point of view, of the water outlook. The primary cluster are within a fairly short distance of the Victoria Chau Doc, some, like the floating “traveller house” are best for a cold drink only while you enjoy the prime riverside setting (their food is terrible). The Victoria is another option for a end of the day cold drink, but bear in mind the sun will not be setting in front of you. For a hotel of this standard, the drink prices are not unreasonable.
Another option for a sunset drink is the high floor bar at the Hanh Phat Hotel, the views are terrific and you do not need to be a guest to use the bar. For a more budget–orientated bevvie at the northern end of 30 Thang 4 park there is an open air lazy chair cafe which does coffee, sugar cane juice and cold beer. While the lazy chairs face the wrong way, you can easily grab a drink from here and sit in the park (or on a lazy chair).
Bay Bong Restaurant 20 Suong Nguyet Anh, Chau Doc; T: (02963) 867 271; .
Bun Ca Be Hai Chi Lang, Chau Doc; .
Bun Ca Di Le Le Cong Thanh, Chau Doc (behind the Nguyen Huu Canh temple); .
Cafe Goc Pho Dong Da, Chau Doc; .
FAM Coffee and Ice Cream 250 Thu Khoa Nghia; T: (02963) 866 777; .
Hanh Phat Hotel 260 Thu Khoa Nghia, Chau Doc; https://www.hanhphathotel.com/ .
Lazy chair river side cafe Le Loi, Chau Doc (almost opposite the post office); .
Mekong Restaurant Le Loi St; T: (02963) 867 381; .
Phuong Restaurant 79 Le Loi, Chau Doc; .
Tiem Com Minh 111 Le Loi, Chau Doc; T: (0983) 721 412; .
Truong Van 10 Quang Trung, Chau Doc; T: (0296) 386 6567; .
Victoria Chau Doc 1 Le Loi Street; T: (0296) 386 5010; http://www.victoriahotels.asia .
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.