Photo: Seafood at the ready.

Eat and meet

It's impossible to review Qui Nhon without pointing out that Barbara's Kiwi Connection on Xuan Dieu is a great place to eat. There isn't a huge selection, but unlike a lot of other places, if it's on the menu, they always seem to have it in the kitchen. There are daily specials like pork shops or roast chicken and rice, some pasta dishes -- macaroni, spaghetti, or penne with great beef marinara sauce and healthy does of shredded cheddar and parmesan cheese. They also make a great toasted cheese sandwich with tomatoes, onions, ham, and even pineapple, if you like. The prices are surprisingly fair, considering they've practically cornered the Western food market in town, and the local Qui Nhon beer is available for 4,000 VND per bottle.

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The other Western option is the Imperial Restaurant at the Saigon-Quynhon Hotel. It's large and usually empty, but they do have dishes like Lobster Thermidor and Lamb Chops, with entrees in the 100- to 200,000 VND range, and a good selection of wines. There's also an upscale but reasonably prices pho shop attached to the restaurant, if you want a very cleanly-prepared, slightly-pricey bowl of noodles.

On the Vietnamese side of things, Qui Nhon has a lot of sit-down seafood places. One of the more popular spots is Que Huong 2 -- the chicken with saffron rice and the beef stew come recommended, as well as the seafood dishes. The original Que Huong Restaurant is located bit north on Tang Bat Ho St, corner of Tran Cao Van. The Sinh Thai Lake area to the north of town is good for a visit in the afternoon or evening -- there are a couple of seafood places on Phan Dinh Phung St along the water including Song Thuy, noted for offering endangered species like sea-turtle, though apparently not on the English-language menu.

The area around Long Khanh pagoda on Tran Cao Van street is a great place to head for lunch or dinner. There are several vegetarian places (look for the signs saying com chay,) including Tinh Tam, just north of the pagoda, which has delicious veggie dishes at cheap prices -- definitely try some o hoa nhoi which is bitter-melon, usually with pork in the middle, here a tasty soy substitute. There's nicer seating in the back of the restaurant. The area is also good for meals of com which literally means 'cooked rice' but implies a wide variety of meat, fish, and vegetable entrees served with rice. They usually have all their offerings laid out on display so you can point and pick. A good one, just south of the pagoda, is Com Binh Dan.

There's a funky little neighbourhood just off the beach that you might miss by just wandering around, which has a couple of a seafood places that come recommended by Barbara's Kiwi Connection: 2000 Seafood on Tran Doc St and Dong Seafood, with its impressive storefront and upstairs seating, one block over on Nguyen Lac. To get to this neighbourhood, take Nguyen Hue west until it's just about to end and then take the extreme left down a road that heads to the beach and eventually turns into sand. The side streets are to the left.

In the evenings, you'll notice tables and chairs set up on a corner of the intersection of Ngo May and An Vuong Duong Sts. It's a great place for an evening beverage, with lots of desert-type drinks on offer, and along a side street, some bia tuoi joints serving fresh beer and some very exotic accompaniments, such as cut ram, which is grilled quail, along with trung cut, which are -- there's no good way to put this -- foetal quail's eggs.

2000 Seafood: 1 Tran Doc St, Qui Nhon. T: (056) 812 787
Com Binh Dan: 121 Tran Cao Van, Qui Nhon. T: (056) 823 980. Hours: 07:00 to 10:30
Dong Seafood: 26 Nguyen Lac, Qui Nhon. T: (056) 824 877
Hoang Huy Seafood: 18 Suan Dieu, Qui Nhon. T: (056) 893 915, F: (056) 815 120
The Imperial Restaurant: 24 Nguyen Hue St, Qui Nhon. T: (054) 820 100, F: (056) 828 128. Hours: 06:00 to 22:00
Tinh Tam: 145 Tran Cao Van, Qui Nhon. T: (056) 827 773. Hours: 06:00 to 20:00
Song Thuy: 107 Phan Dinh Phung, Qui Nhon. T: (056) 817 733. Hours: 07:00 to 22:00

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Qui Nhon? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Vietnam.

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