Sapa – the misty town, one of the famous tourist destinations in Vietnam. Sapa’s fame is attributed not only to its abundant natural beauty, mild climate, and fresh air but also to its rich local cuisine with many delicious dishes and unique specialties that can only be found in Sapa.
Each dish has its own unique flavors, and each local product is handcrafted by the people, carrying the traditional cultural essence of Sapa. Let’s explore the top 20 Sapa specialties that are not only delicious but also make great gifts for your loved ones, courtesy of Hanoilocaltour!
1. Sapa Specialties: Delicious and Famous
Every tourist who sets foot in Sapa is mesmerized by the beauty of the place. Planning an itinerary to explore Sapa can be challenging due to its many beautiful spots awaiting your visit. Apart from admiring the scenery, savoring the delicious local dishes and famous Sapa specialties is a must.
1.1. “Thắng Cố” (Horse Meat Hotpot)
1.2. “Thịt Trâu Gác Bếp” (Stove-Roasted Buffalo Meat)
1.3. “Cá Hồi Vân Sapa” (Sapa Salmon)
1.4. “Lợn Bản Cắp Nách Quay” (Roasted Stolen-Pig)
The “Mường Sapa” pig, also known as “lợn cắp nách” or “stolen-pig,” belongs to a small breed of pigs raised freely by the locals. Once mature, these pigs are taken away by the villagers and sold in markets, hence the name “stolen-pig.”
1.5. “Cá Suối Nướng” (Grilled Spring Fish)
1.6. “Cơm Lam” (Bamboo Rice)
1.7. “Thịt Gà Đen” (Black Chicken)
1.8. “Xôi Bảy Màu” (Seven-Color Sticky Rice)
1.9. “Cốn Sủi”
1.10. Sapa Grilled Dishes
2. Sapa Specialties for This Season
2.1. “Mầm đá”
“Mầm đá,” a special type of rare vegetable, grows at high altitudes in the northern mountains of Bắc Hà. These vegetables are only available at the end of winter and the beginning of spring when they are young, tender, and about 20-30 cm long. “Mầm đá” has a sweet and slightly bitter taste, which comes to life when sautéed with buffalo meat or eaten with soy sauce and boiled eggs.
2.2. Sapa Plums and Apricots
Sapa offers a variety of delicious, sweet, and fragrant fruits that you shouldn’t miss during the summer, when plum and apricot orchards are laden with ripe red fruits. You can find various types of plums such as “Mận Tả Lý,” “Mận Tả Van,” “Mận vàng,” “Mận đỏ,” “Mận Tam Hoa,” and “Mận Hậu.” Apricots can be slightly sour and come in both yellow and white varieties.
2.3. Fresh Strawberry and Passion Fruit
To enjoy the freshest strawberries, you can visit Sapa during the fruit’s main harvesting season from January to April. Sapa strawberries are sweet, juicy, and flavorful, making them perfect for eating fresh, making jams, or using them in various dishes and drinks. Passion fruit is also abundant during this time, offering a refreshing and tangy taste.
2.4. “Tao mèo Sapa”
The “Tao méo” is a small, round fruit with a striking red color. It has a slightly sweet and tangy taste. You can buy “Tao méo Sapa” in local markets or orchards during its peak season in Sapa. Some families may also offer this fruit as part of their homestay service.
3. Sapa Specialties as Gifts for Loved Ones
3.1. Sapa Forest Chestnuts
One of the Sapa specialties that many tourists choose to bring back as gifts is forest chestnuts. These chestnuts have a rich, aromatic, and slightly sweet flavor after being roasted. Forest chestnuts can be found at most souvenir stalls and roadside eateries throughout Sapa town, making them easy to locate and purchase as souvenirs. They are also a popular snack enjoyed by people of all ages. You can even observe the chestnut roasting process and explore other snacks to take home.
3.2. Sapa Bamboo Shoots
Sapa bamboo shoots refer to the tender and fresh inner part of bamboo, typically about 20-30 cm in length. These bamboo shoots have a sweet and slightly bitter taste that fully engages the taste buds of travelers when savored. Dried Sapa bamboo shoots are easy to store, making them a great choice for bringing back as gifts for friends and family.
3.3. Sapa Forest Mushrooms
Sapa forest mushrooms are among the cherished Sapa specialties that are recommended to purchase as gifts, especially during the summer season. These mushrooms have thin caps, a bright color, and small stems. Sapa forest mushrooms have a sweet taste, subtle aroma, and are perfect for adding to stir-fried dishes, broths, or hot pots. They not only serve as a delectable Sapa specialty but also a valuable gift due to their high nutritional content.
3.4. Sapa Liquor: Apple Wine, Shan Tuyet Tea Wine
It is said that a trip to Sapa is incomplete without savoring the local liquor. Sapa offers a variety of renowned liquor specialties, including apple wine, Shan Tuyet tea wine, corn wine, and more. All of these liquors are made from natural ingredients unique to Sapa, giving them distinct and captivating flavors.
Additionally, apple wine is believed to have therapeutic effects, such as alleviating headaches, dizziness, promoting relaxation, and aiding sleep. It can make an excellent and meaningful gift for husbands, fathers, or grandfathers.
3.5. Muong Khuong Chili Sauce
Muong Khuong chili sauce is a natural gift that captures the essence of the mountainous regions. It originates from the mountainous district of Muong Khuong in Lao Cai, Vietnam. Unlike the typical chili sauces you might find in supermarkets, Muong Khuong chili sauce is prepared according to a traditional recipe. In addition to fresh chilies and garlic, this sauce includes a variety of local herbs, such as cilantro, mint, and many other unique ingredients. This combination gives it a rich and distinctive flavor that sets it apart from other chili sauces.
3.6. Crossroads Salt
Crossroads salt is a famous specialty in the Northwest region of Vietnam. People often use it as a dipping sauce or as a seasoning for various dishes like chicken, duck, and pork. Crossroads salt is made from more than ten different ingredients, all of which are grown at an altitude of 1,600 meters. Some of the characteristic spices are mắc khén, thảo quả, garlic, chili, ginger, and more, sourced from the renowned Hoang Lien Forest (part of the Hoang Lien National Park).
3.7. Brocade Products
In addition to edible specialties and dried goods, you can also choose to purchase colorful brocade products at the Sapa or Bac Ha markets to give as gifts to your friends and family. Common brocade products from Sapa include scarves, bags, wallets, clothing, and more. These gifts are meaningful and impressive because they carry the essence of the local culture and craftsmanship of the people of Sapa.
4. Where to Buy Sapa Specialties?
To have the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of delicious and affordable Sapa specialties, you can explore the central area of Sa Pa town or visit the ethnic markets, such as Bac Ha Market, Coc Ly Market, and Muong Hum Market.
If you’re looking to buy fruits like peaches and plums, you can purchase them directly from the orchards or from the numerous vendors along the roads. During your sightseeing and market visits, if you come across any Sapa specialties that you love and wish to gift to your loved ones, you can buy them on the spot. For special delicacies like buffalo meat and chili sauce, it’s recommended to purchase them directly from the local ethnic communities during your visit to ensure the highest quality.
Sapa is a place of stunning beauty, with countless breathtaking landscapes waiting for you to explore. You will be awestruck by the majestic scenery of nature here, and while you immerse yourself in these experiences, you might quickly become tired and hungry. Therefore, do not miss the chance to savor these excellent Sapa specialties that Hanoilocaltour has introduced to you during your upcoming journey!