Bun mam
Dried noodle with anchovy fish sauce – Bún mắm

Bun mam is made out of vermicelli, pork or roasted pork, vegetables, unripe jackfruit, roasted peanuts and, of course, anchovy fish sauce.

To me, Bun mam:

– is the simplest yet most addictive dish of Danang
– has been haunting me during my four years in Japan
– was what I ate every morning every time I went back to Vietnam on university vacations
– is what I am eating while writing this post (home-made)
As the name suggests, the exquisiteness of this dish depends mostly on its anchovy fish sauce. Originally Bun mam is accompanied with boiled pork, and other alternatives include roasted pork (my favourite) or nem chua (fermented pork roll). Of course it can’t go without the special chilli jam which is a trademark of the central region. It is very easy to make a bowl of Bun mam, but not as easy to make a good one.

With roasted pork and cha

With roasted pork and nem chua

Chilli sauce
Where: Quan 110 – 110 Huynh Thuc Khang 
How much: 25,000VND as of Dec 19, 2011
When: Morning
Mam nem
Anchovy fish sauce – Mắm nêm
Before introducing other dishes of Danang, I feel the urge to write a post about this very special kind of fish sauce that plays a significant role on Danang cuisine – Mam nem.

Mam nem, alternatively mam cai, is a very unique local sauce of the central region. It is made from fermented anchovy sauce (cá cơm), pineapple, garlic and chilli; and is widely used to accompany many kinds of food. It has a very strong scent which for the first times may be uncomfortable to smell, but once you get used to it, this is the kind of fish sauce that you will get addicted to. During my 4 years in Japan, it is its smell and taste that haunted me day after day.

In Danang, Mam nem is used together with many dishes such as “Banh trang cuon thit heo”, “Bun mam” and other traditional dishes. Mam nem is the “hate it or love it” sauce, but as it is so special and unique, why not take a risk and discover one massive feature of Danang cuisine!
Mi Quang
Mì Quảng tôm thịt trứng – Mi Quang with pork and shrimp

If you want the truly original dish of Danang, this must be it. “Mì” means noodles and “Quảng” here stands for the province Quang Nam. Well, before you get confused, Danang used to be a part of Quang Nam in the past (called “Quang Nam – Da Nang” province) until 1997 when it was separated and became one of the five independent municipalities in Vietnam. 

There are many types of Mi Quang, ranging from the basic ones such as pork&shrimp or chicken, to more special ingredients like snakehead fish, eel or jellyfish. A bowl of Mi Quang contains a rich layer of vegetables at the bottom, followed by noodles and a fair amount of broth. Unlike many other Vietnamese noodle soup bowls which are usually covered completely by their broths, Mi Quang broth is added just enough to barely soak the noodles. Last but not least, Mi Quang cannot go without the toppings of crushed roasted peanuts, rice crackers, herbs, lemons, and chilli. 

There is no correct way to cook Mi Quang – it really depends on your tastes and preferences. To most of Danangians including me, the best Mi Quang is home-made by their mothers or grandmothers, attached with love and memories. Mi Quang brings out the feeling of genuineness and simplicity just like the people in Central Vietnam, one that is hard to come across in the modern dishes.

Learn how to cook Mi Quang here.

Mi Quang with chicken – Mì Quảng gà 

Mi Quang with snakehead fish – Mì Quảng cá lóc

Mi Quang with eel – Mì quảng lươn


When: preferably lunch. Breakfast and dinner are also ok.