For a city of its size, Rach Gia has a large selection of places to fill your tummy and many great local eats. The city is famed for dried cuttlefish, but be warned that it’s not to everyone’s taste.
Rach Gia cuisine is typical of the south and the Mekong Delta. Look for banh canh, literally “soup cake”, a noodle soup with thick noodles made of tapioca and rice flour. Here you can enjoy it topped with decadent amounts of seafood.
Rach Gia-style bun ca is famous and a must-try specialty. You’ll see this rice vermicelli noodle soup all over Vietnam but here the clear broth is flavourful and light and your bowl is generously topped with chunks of white fish, whole fried shrimp and banana flower.
If you are many, then Quan So 1 (which translates as “number 1 restaurant”) is a must. It’s a grill-your-own feast experience with a coal brazier at the table. Order whatever meat and seafood you would like, and it will also come with vegetables like okra and cassava to grill, as well as lettuce, herbs and sauces to make nem wraps. Try grilled shrimp (tom) with salt and chilli, 70,000 dong, and bo nuong la lot, beef with lemongrass wrapped in la lot leaves, which impart a beautiful flavour to the beef while keeping the meat juicy. There’s plenty of options (see what others are having and point) and plenty of beer to go with it. The place is lively, packed and the service swift. If you’re solo you’ll definitely be out of place but don’t let that deter you from trying this out. Find it at Lo C2 – 82-83 Lac Hong; taxi drivers will know the restaurant.
For some it may be a little far to travel just for this cheap local eat, but foodies pay attention. A local took us for banh xeo here and it was the largest we’ve ever seen. Banh xeo is a savoury stuffed crepe. The batter of rice flour and turmeric is made in a hot wok and loaded up with bean sprouts, fatty pork and shrimp.
We’ve had large banh xeo before but the ones at Ngoc Hoa were over the top — the size of a flying saucer — and included a smorgasbord of additional interesting ingredients like mung beans. Soak the whole thing with a drizzle of the sweet and sour dressing made with fish sauce, then take chunks of it and stuff it lettuce leaves or rice paper and eat it in little wraps. It’s a lot of stuff to stuff and by the end you’ll be stuffed for only 40,000 dong. T: (091) 8311 181. It’s located at 415 Lam Quang Ky, around three kilometres south of the town centre out in the direction of the main bus station. The joint opens at around 16:00. (Lat/long: 9.988688,105.093320.)