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  • Elizabeth Cochran

How to travel like a local and foodie in Da Nang, Vietnam

Updated: Oct 24

I have been living in Danang, Vietnam for over a year now. I am a half Vietnamese living here and my time has been mostly good a very local life here in Danang. I haven’t written about Danang really or written about my experiences in Vietnam much yet either. I have taken time for adapting to just one city, which is very different from my past travel experiences and stories. I have found myself in Danang Vietnam for over one year already and counting. I explore the city much more like a foodie and going for local experiences the most that I can. <!-- Hello Travelpayouts -->

So here we go! I asked Chat GPT a tourist question, which I was inspired and curious to do this from a youtube vlogger, who planned their entire itinerary using ChatGPT. Could this work for the city I live in? So, I tested it and since I live in Vietnam in Danang city I decided to ask ChatGPT what to do if “you are a foodie and local traveler in Danang Vietnam” and give my advice too. But first, here is what Chat GPT said.

Guide from Chat GPT...

If you're a foodie and local traveler in Danang, Vietnam, you're in for a treat! Here are some must-do activities for you: 1. Try Local Street Food: Sample the vibrant street food scene in Danang. Head to places like Con Market, Han Market, or An Thuong area, where you'll find a plethora of local dishes like banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich), bun cha ca (fish cake noodles), mi quang (turmeric noodles), and many more. 2. Explore the Local Markets: Visit the local markets, such as Han Market or Con Market, to experience the bustling atmosphere and vibrant local life. You can find fresh produce, seafood, and a range of local specialties to try or purchase as souvenirs. 3. Visit the Seafood Restaurants: Danang is known for its fresh seafood, so make sure to venture into seafood restaurants. The most popular seafood street in Danang is "Hoang Dieu," where you can enjoy a range of seafood dishes like grilled clams, shrimp pancakes, and grilled fish. 4. Take a Food Tour: Join a food tour where a knowledgeable guide will take you to various local food spots, explaining the history and significance of each dish. This way, you can taste a variety of local specialties and discover hidden gems that you might miss on your own. 5. Visit Local Coffee Shops: Danang has a rich coffee culture, so make sure to visit local coffee shops to experience traditional Vietnamese coffee. Try the popular "ca phe sua da" (iced coffee with condensed milk) or "ca phe trung" (egg coffee) for a unique twist. 6. Enjoy Seafood BBQ at My Khe Beach: Experience the local beach culture by indulging in a seafood BBQ on My Khe Beach. Many restaurants offer fresh seafood that you can select and grill right on the beach, allowing you to enjoy delicious food with beautiful seaside views. 7. Learn to Cook Vietnamese Cuisine: Take a cooking class and learn to prepare your favorite Vietnamese dishes. Local instructors will guide you through the ingredients and techniques, and you'll have the opportunity to savor the fruits of your labor. 8. Discover Central Vietnamese Cuisine: Don't miss the chance to explore the distinctive flavors of Central Vietnamese cuisine, which includes unique dishes like banh xeo (sizzling pancake), banh beo (steamed rice cakes), and bun bo Hue (spicy beef noodle soup). Remember to venture beyond the main tourist areas to get an authentic taste of the local food scene in Danang. Enjoy your culinary adventure!

Now as a nearly local of 1 year living in Danang and as someone who is a foodie and local traveler, here is what I have to say for an itinerary for Danang Vietnam. Okay so foodies and local travelers, THIS is the correct guide for you when in Danang.

vietnamnoodles, noodlesoup, myquang
My Quang noodles. The thing I love about this dish is it can't decide, is it a noodle soup a salad? It's both :)

Local Guides Advice for Danang.. 1. Try the Central Cuisine: Central Vietnam already has many different provinces and each has its own unique food. While in Danang try the local cuisine from the “Quang Nam” region. Some specials you can look out for are “my quang (turmeric noodles with chicken or beef is most common), bun ca ngu (tuna vermicelli noodle soup) or bun cha ca (fish cake with other meats/seafood with vermicelli), banh beo (little savory cake snacks), cao lau (Hoi an meat and noodles), Com Ga (Hoi An style chicken rice) , banh trang cuon thit heo (rolled rice paper with pork and herbs), avocado ice cream, and go to a seafood place on the beach near My Khe or Son Tra area like Man Thai.

There are many more foods you can try in Danang, but these are the local foods and special to this area of Vietnam, so you can only eat them in Danang and Hoi An area. My favorite local Danang food is probably the banh trang cuon thit heo it is super fun to eat, very refreshing, balanced, and has delicious herbs and anchovy sauce to dip it in.

2. Try the local markets: I would suggest you go to local markets, but the recommended markets were very touristy. I recommend Cho Man Thai, Con Market, or wherever you are staying find the local market or “cho” near you. If you want to go to an actual day-to-day local market go to a local area, which I would recommend “Cho Man Thai” for Son tra area in the fishermen’s village. This one is the most local feel if you are staying on the beach. You can bike over, do a very early sunsrise walk over to man thai beach area and stop at the local “man thai market”. Here you will see the bustling life on the seaside of morning fishermen arriving to sell on the streets and transport the fish to the “Man Thai market”. This is a truly fishy experience, but a must see when you are in Danang.

After you went to the Man Thai market, you can walk back to the beach and refresh with a nouc mia (sugar cane juice), fresh coconut, or a Viet Coffee of your choice. There are some local small cafes on your walk or if you wish you can enjoy the beachside café at Man Thai beach. Another local market you can try is in the city center area of the Hai Chau district. A unique one is near the Big C GO! And it is the Con market. This market has been around a long time as it is centrally located in Danang. You could go in the morning time just before lunch and explore around a bit in Con Market, then head across the street to Big C GO for shopping or try Vietnam fast food or bubble tea.

3. Family fun. Danang is great for families or groups. Try the Helio Center at night for a night market, games, and inside center that is great for the entire family, with gaming centers, big play areas, and a cinema. On that road is also SunWorld, which is a mini amusement park and game center. I recommend arriving a bit after lunch and enjoying at SunWorld, then spending your evening at Helio night market and center. If you want hot pot, sushi, or other local spots they are just across the road.

Sun World amusement park "BrandX" photo credits

4. Coffee Workshop. I think when in Vietnam, a coffee workshop is a must. There are several cafes that do affordable coffee workshops. One I can think of is Puna Café or Ala Cafe for latte art making, Vietnamese style Coffees. They have active Facebook pages, I recommend messaging them on there.

Workshop event at "Ala Cafe"

5. Try the local coffee. This is an obvious one, but something unique for Danang would be the fruit inspired coffee, such as an avocado coffee, orange iced coffee, or other limited time specialties. These can only be found in the summertime usually as they are in season. Not all cafes will have it, but some do special summertime coffee specials.

6. Explore the Nature. In Danang while it is a big and new modern city, there is still nature to explore. Go over to Son Tra, bring your friends or family and rent a car or motorbikes and picnic. You can walk around various areas, do some light hiking, see lakes, and ride all the way up the top to a peaceful lookout in fresh air. Besides Son Tra, there is a lot of nature 1 hour past the airport and there are mountains, waterfalls, white water rafting, and other very adventurous outdoor activities. You can rent a motorbike or rent a driver for the whole day. As it is out in nature you can get a taxi there easily, but on the way back not so easy. It is best to drive yourself or rent a driver. 7. International Food Scene. If you want to try cuisine from the West, Vegan Food, Indian, Mexican, Tex-Mex, Korean or Japanese most of the food will be near the An Thoung Area or near the My Khe beach. In An Thoung they recently opened a nightly night market with street food. You can walk around easily over in this area and will find a lot of varieties of Western food mostly at a mid-high price. There are many Indian Restaurants , New York Style Pizza, German Deli’s, Japanese Sushi, Korean Style Cticken and snack foods, and many Western themed bars. Most of these businesses are new within the past 1-2 years and new ones pop up all the time, so I won’t list specific places. I find the food in this area to be good, its mid- range to high price, but I find that it lacks international variety as most of the food is only western food. I would like to see a truly more international cuisine variety such as more Asian cuisines more Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Southeast Asian cuisines- Malay, Indonesian, Thai, Laos, Burmese and even more variety from other regions of the world like the middle east, African foods, or maybe even Eastern European cuisines with the influx of new immigrants. As you can see Danang is a truly fun and foodie place for those looking for a local, yet foodie trip to Vietnam. I think Danang is a nice modern city, with hints of traditional charm. It is a huge modern city, but has less chaos than Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, which is why I chose to live in this rapidly changing seaside city in Central Vietnam. Enjoy your trip to Danang City during April- October as the weather will be most convenient during these times avoiding the rainy season. Danang is a super popular holiday spot for Vietnamese travelers, Koreans, Japanese, and a decent amount of American, Canadian, Indian, and British travelers.

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