Phu Yen is the friend-next-door of Khanh Hoa (where Nha Trang city is located), so it takes travelers only about three hours to move between these two places. Unlike the busy lifestyle of its friend, Phu Yen follows a simple routine. But do not underestimate this beauty because once you’re caught in its food spell, you’ll never want to find the way out! So what are the food candidates? Let’s check them out!
Candidate #1 – Chicken Rice (Com Ga)
You’ve just arrived in Phu Yen and you might feel a little bit tired. I have a simple dish that will wake you right up. Let’s stop for just a moment to get some chicken rice, my friend!
First, let me ask you something: Does the name of this dish sound familiar to you? Chicken rice is a popular dish in Vietnam, but each region has a specific way to make it. Let’s take Phu Yen and its “almost” neighbor, Hoi An, as an example. Unlike Hoi An rice which is cooked in a rice cooker, Phu Yen rice is cooked directly in a hot pan with oil, minced garlic, and chicken broth to make it radiant yellow.
It’s funny to think that there is a standard for chickens, just like the standard for supermodels. Each chicken must weigh around a kilo and eight hundred grams, or else it will be expelled from the first round!
Apart from rice and chicken, Phu Yen chicken rice must have sliced cucumbers, carrots, and hot mint. However, the most unique ingredient is the pickled onions. Normally, the onions are soaked with lemons and sugar for about a day not only to get rid of the pungent flavor but also to create a crispy texture and sweet scent. Whenever you have Phu Yen chicken rice, remember to pour a small amount of Vietnamese fish sauce and bite a little bit of green pepper at the same time. I believe you’ll understand what dreams are made of!
My suggestion: Com Ga Tuyet Nhung
Location: 189 Le Thanh Ton Street, Ward 3, Tuy Hoa City, Phu Yen
Opening time: 5:30 AM – 11 PM
Price range: 25,000 VND – 50,000 VND (1.25 USD – 2.50 USD)
Candidate #2 – Phu Yen Vietnamese Fried Pancake (Banh Xeo Phu Yen)
When you have rice flour, eggs, and pork (which I think are three of the greatest ingredients on Earth), what would you do? I don’t know about you but I would make a fried savory Vietnamese pancake!
Along with hot water fern cake, the fried pancake is also a traditional dish in Phu Yen. It is a perfect combination of rice flour, bean sprouts, belly pork, shrimp, or squid. A perfect pancake means you can taste the crispiness from the outside and the soft, juicy stuff inside. The right way to enjoy this pancake is with raw vegetables such as lettuce and other herbs. There are two different kinds of sauces: fermented fish sauce and original fish sauce. When you wrap this fried pancake into rice paper and herbs, you know that there’s not much more that needs to be said besides dip away!
My suggestion: A local food stall on Le Trung Kien Street
Location: 98 Le Trung Kien, Ward 1, Tuy Hoa city, Phu Yen
Opening time: 3 PM – 9:30 PM
Price range: 3,000 VND to 5,000 VND per pancake (0.15 USD – 0.50 USD)
Candidate #3 – Hot Waterfern Cake (Banh Beo Nong)
If I have to describe this dish in three words, I’ll definitely say: “Simple but undeniable!” This eye-catching food includes hot water fern cake topped with pork floss, fried bread, and oiled scallions.
Although the water fern cake seems easy to make, it requires patience to reach the most delightful level. First, the rice flour must stay in water overnight from four to six hours to prevent a sour odor. When the flour mixture is ready to use, the cook will then pour almost all the water out and refill it with warm water. After that, they’ll scoop a spoonful of that rice batter into small bowls and steam them from seven to eight minutes, or until the mixture turns into a milky color. Did you know that there is another way to recognize the cooked fern cake without looking at it? You’ll smell the aromatic rice scent expanding in the air, and yes, it’s time to savor!
The taste of Phu Yen hot fern cake is so delicious, not too sweet, and not too salty. It goes so well with crispy fried bread, oiled scallions, and its typical Vietnamese fish sauce. It is such an extremely addictive dish that even the Phu Yen locals have to admit: “We don’t order this dish in bowls or plates. We order it in TRAYS!” Do you not believe me? If so, why not come here and experience it yourself? But let me tell you in advance, don’t let your mouth hang open when you witness a tiny girl devouring two or three trays at once!
In the cool evening, tasting this hot water fern cake while watching the motorbikes passing by and the children having fun will make you love this dish as much as I do.
My suggestion: Banh Beo Co Mai
Location: 92 Le Trung Kien Street, Ward 1, Tuy Hoa city, Phu Yen province
Opening time: 1 PM – 10 PM
Price range: 15,000 VND per tray of 10 small bowls (0.70 USD)
Candidate #4 – Oyster Porridge (Chao Hau)
Have you ever heard the quote: “Good wood is better than good paint?” You can apply this to oysters. The outside appearance of an oyster is so ugly and rough but once the shells are removed, oh man, I don’t know what to say! The fluffy, juicy, sweet, addictive ivory oyster meat is absolutely addicting!
To make satisfying oyster porridge, chefs choose qualified rice and then add a little bit of sticky rice. The rice is soaked and cleaned, then cooked until the rice expands. The oysters are washed and marinated, then stir-fried with oiled scallions. After that, they are poured into the porridge.
The sweet flavor and health benefits have made this dish famous everywhere. Depending on the weather, people can choose to enjoy either hot or cold oyster porridge. As long as you savor this dish, you will experience the natural sweetness coming from oysters and the rice porridge. This dish is also a great choice to add to your dinner rotation.
My suggestion: A no-name local food stall on Le Loi Street
Location: 363 Le Loi Street, Tuy Hoa city, Phu Yen
Opening time: 6:30 AM – 10 AM
Price range: 15,000 VND per bowl (0.70 USD)
Candidate #5 – Fish Cake Noodle Soup with Chives (Banh Canh He)
I know many of you don’t show enough love for chives, so this dish is here to fix it! Fish cake soup with chives will knock your socks off with its fascinating flavor.
One of the ingredients that decide the success of this dish is fish cake. The fish is minced thoroughly, then seasoned and folded into pieces. After that, it is steamed or deep fried. A healthy helping of fresh green chives is served on top. And most importantly, the broth isn’t made from pig thigh bones but from fresh fishbones. That’s the reason why the broth has a naturally sweet taste of fish that you’ll never tire of.
My suggestion: a no-name local food stall on Hoang Dieu street
Location: 5 Hoang Dieu Street, Tuy Hoa city, Phu Yen
Opening time: 3 PM – 10 PM
Price range: 10,000 VND per bowl (0.50 USD)
Candidate #6 – Blood Clam of O Loan Lagoon
(So Huyet O Loan)
People say that if you leave Phu Yen without trying seafood, it means that you NEVER visited Phu Yen! On top of that, blood clams in O Loan lagoon are the most famous of them all. They are bigger than anywhere else, easily caught, and they appear regularly. Chefs often include them in many dishes with different ingredients such as grilled onions, chilis, or tamarind and vegetables.
The best time to try them is at night when all the lights are on and the streets are less busy. Slurping blood clams while sipping a local moonshine (I’d suggest Bau Da alcohol) and watching the starry sky will be absolutely relaxing and poetic.
You can experience this dish in restaurants near O Loan Lagoon.
Click here for the location of O Loan Lagoon
Price range: 30,000 VND – 40,000 VND per dish (1.50 USD – 2 USD)
The Last Candidate #7 – Tuna’s Eyeballs (Mat Ca Ngu)
I believe that tuna’s eye is the most thrilling food in Phu Yen. You want to know the reason why? Take a look at this photo below:
But don’t panic! I guarantee that this dish is a blessing in disguise! To make a standard dish, a tuna must weigh between 40 to 50 kilograms. Chefs then remove the fish’s eye and place it in a small jar with vegetables, spices, and some herbs such as jujubes. After boiling on the fire, the fishy odor is totally replaced by a delicious fragrance that reminds me of the majestic sea!
In the midst of the cool weather surrounded by the sea breeze in Phu Yen, tasting the soup, biting a piece of jujube, and enjoying the fish will certainly be a great cultural experience for you.
My suggestion: Quan Ba Tam – Ca Ngu Dai Duong
Location: 293C Le Duan, ward 7, Tuy Hoa city, Phu Yen province
Opening time: 9 AM – 9 PM
Price range: 36,000 VND per bowl of tuna eyeballs (1.80 USD)
We’ve been through seven awesome food candidates which are surprisingly cheap. But do they cost under 10 bucks in summary? I’ll give you 10 seconds to do the quick math.
One, two, ten!
The answer is a big YES! So, my friend, what are you waiting for? Come to Phu Yen, admire the marvelous scenery, try the local food and then do what? Bring a full tummy back home!
In case I have convinced you to visit Phu Yen, I’ll gently drop the links here for more information about this great province:
If you enjoyed reading this article and would like some more fun info about what to see, do and eat (and a bunch of interesting cafes!) in Vietnam, follow us at the Christina’s blog!