While most visitors to Quy Nhon would come for the long stretches of beautiful beaches and general seaside charm, sampling the local cuisine should also be a key part of any itinerary.
With fishing being one of the region’s key industries, Quy Nhon naturally excels in seafood. The countless fishing boats visible along the coastline throughout the day and night are a sure indication of a bountiful supply of fresh seafood. Fortunately, it’s also very affordable.
Besides seafood, Quy Nhon is also home to plenty of delicious local specialties that have a distinctly Quy Nhon flavor. From the infamous Banh Xeo Tom Nhay to the more delicate Banh Beo, everything comes fresh and flavorsome. You’ll also notice that peanuts feature heavily in toppings and dipping sauces. Discover these dishes in a simple, authentic setting with non-tourist prices, as most places largely cater to residents and local tourists.
Here are a few local restaurants and eateries we recommend around Quy Nhon and the dishes you should try.
Quán ăn Bồng Bềnh
Set in a small fishing village a short drive south of Quy Nhon is Quan an Bong Benh. Open since 1992, this floating seafood restaurant is particularly popular with the locals for their creative way of cooking and receptiveness to customer feedback.
Mrs Sen, one of the two owners of the restaurant, was inspired to pursue her passion for cooking after winning runner-up in a local cooking competition in Phu Yen. She set up Quan an Bong Benh with great success and soon a number of other floating restaurants appeared on the estuary. To ensure you’re at the right place, look for the restaurant sitting in the middle of a row of three at the end of the bridge.
On arrival, you will be shown a series of tanks with a vast array of live seafood from lobsters, crabs and prawns to all different kinds of shellfish. All items are sold by by weight and their price and availability will depend on the catch. For a rough estimation of costs, you can expect it to be about 400,000 vnd/kg for crabs, 600,000 vnd/kg for prawns and a starting price of 400,000 vnd/kg for fish.
You can then select how you would like each to be cooked, be it grilled, fried, steamed or made into a soup. Some of the specialties here include crab hotpot, steamed lobsters and grilled lobsters with cheese. We also highly recommend stir-fried tamarind crabs, chilli grilled prawns, lemongrass clam soup and grilled shellfish served with crushed peanuts and spring onion. To add to the experience, food is served at a low table and guests are seated on mats.
If you are getting to Quan an Bong Benh by taxi, it is a good idea to arrange for your driver to wait for you as it may be tricky to find another taxi in the area.
Find them at: Đầm Cù Mông (Cu Mong Estuary), Xuân Bình, Sông Cầu, Phú Yên Opening hours: 9am – 10pm Price: Roughly 300,000 – 500,000 vnd ($13 – $21.50 USD) per person
Gia Vỹ 2
A classic Vietnamese-style eatery with simple furniture and basic facilities, Gia Vy 2 is undoubtedly an institution in Quy Nhon. With over 450 reviews on Google, this place is definitely no secret.
The specialty here is Banh Xeo Tom Nhay, a savory pancake made with rice flour, turmeric powder and prawns, topped with onions, bean sprouts and spring onion. There is also the option of beef here if prawns aren’t quite to your taste. Once served, you can cut it into halves and assemble it into a rice paper roll with the assortment of herbs, thinly sliced mango and condiments provided on your table.
Unlike the Banh Xeo of other regions in Vietnam, these are of a typical Binh Dinh style. Cooked in a small frying pan and left open rather than folded, the pancakes resemble tiny, crunchy pizzas. Pancakes are prepared at the front of the shop, where one lady may manage up to 12 small pans on gas stoves at one time.
The owner and waiters here do not speak English but they’re good at working out what you’re after by showing you the options they have. If you’re simply here for the specialty, just use your fingers to indicate how many pancakes you would like. We recommend two per person.
Find them at: 14 Diên Hồng, Lê Hồng Phong, Thành phố Qui Nhơn Opening hours: 6am -10pm Price: 25,000 vnd ($1.05 USD) per pancake
Bánh Bèo Kim Đình
Open since 1977, Banh Beo Kim Dinh has passed down from mother to son. The specialties here are Banh Beo (steamed rice cake) and Banh Bot Loc (shrimp dumpling), and while they are similar to other versions found across the central region of Vietnam, they taste distinctly different.
Made with small cup moulds, Banh Beo is a small, steamed rice cake shaped like a water fern (hence its name ‘Bèo’). It’s thick and glutinous, and usually topped with scallions, crushed peanuts and bread crumbs. Served with a spoonful of the classic Vietnamese ‘Nước chấm’ (fish sauce based dipping sauce), each cake is intended as one mouthful and unites the flavors in a delicate, harmonious way.
Banh Bot Loc is a small, shrimp dumpling with translucent skin, enjoyed with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. Made with tapioca starch, it gives the dumplings an elastic and chewy texture.
Located across the road from Quy Nhon beach with extra seating on the promenade, this is an ideal spot to take a break and enjoy the calm surroundings. The service here is very friendly and the owner speaks some English. There is also an extensive drinks and desserts menu for those looking to stay a little longer.
Find them at: 18A Nguyễn Huệ, Phường Lê Lợi, Thành phố Qui Nhơn Opening hours: 7am – 8pm Price: 15,000 vnd ($0.65 USD) per plate (about 10 pieces)
Bún Thịt Nướng CÔ BỐN
Bun Thit Nuong Co Bon on 120 Nguyen Thai Hoc is the second restaurant of the original shop on 232 Tran Hung Dao. A classic Vietnamese canteen serving a variety of rice and noodle dishes, you can only order its signature Bun Thit Nuong after 2pm. Breakfast options are served between 10am to 1pm and includes three rice dishes.
Bun Thit Nuong is a popular Vietnamese dish of cold rice noodles topped with grilled pork, roasted peanuts, fresh herbs and vegetables. Grilled over hot coals, the smoky flavor of the pork adds a depth to this well-known dish. In the Co Bon version, you’ll also find the addition of fermented pork and fried rice noodle roll.
The dish is freshly prepared in the cabinet out the front and all ingredients are arranged on top of the noodles with a hoisin-based dressing. This is then ready for you to mix and enjoy.
Another item worth trying here is the Bo La Lop, a dish consisting of minced beef wrapped in betel leaves and grilled over charcoal. A plate of 10 will only set you back another 20,000 vnd ($0.85 USD).
Find them at: 120 Nguyễn Thái Học, Lê Hồng Phong, Thành phố Qui Nhơn Opening hours: 10am – 1pm, 2pm – 10pm Price: 20,000 vnd ($0.85 USD) per bowl of Bun Thit Nuong
Ngô Văn Sở Street
A couple of streets back from the beach, Ngo Van So street is home to many eateries serving a variety of Quy Nhon street food. Popular across every menu here is Nem Nuong (grilled pork roll), Nem Chua (fermented pork roll) and Tre (fermented pig’s ear). This is normally served as a platter along with rice paper, cucumber, fresh leaves and fried rice noodle roll.
Nem Nuong is made from minced pork and mixed with salt, pepper, sugar, garlic and other spices. It’s rolled into sticks, thread onto a skewer and grilled over charcoal. Throughout the day, you will see many women out on the streets grilling in big batches.
Tre is a treat that’s famous to Quy Nhon and it’s particular popular during Tet festival. It’s seasoned with sesame, galangal root, chili and garlic, and you’ll often see these wrapped in a thick roll of straw like a broom.
Evenings are when the Ngo Van So street is at its busiest and the day is normally spent preparing the food. Come around 6pm to see the street packed out.
Find them at: Ngô Văn Sở, Trần Phú, Thành phố Qui Nhơn Opening hours: 3pm – 12am Price: Approx 120,000 vnd per pork platter ($5.20 USD)