Which are the best local restaurants in Sapa, Vietnam, is one of the most asked questions I have as a trip leader, which I do love to answer. I like delicious food, so I want to make sure my travelers find their ways to the best local restaurants in the town. Also, it requires quite an amount of sometime to reach the mountains of Sapa, then beside enjoying the mountain hikes we should be rewarded with good local food available there as well. This article therefore shows you the best 5 local restaurants in Sapa.
#1. Red Dao House
This is my number one favorite restaurant in Sapa, and I’ve been eating here with my travelers for the past decade. Whenever I travel to Sapa, we eat here for at least one meal, their foods are appreciated and recommended by all of my travelers.
Located on a street in the north of the town, which is about 3-minute walk from the stone church, Red Dao House is one of the busiest restaurants in Sapa. Yes, Red Dao is also the name of one of the 5 ethnic minority groups living in Sapa (Red Dao, Black H’mong, Giay, Tay and Xa Pho People), so the restaurant is set in a traditional stilt house themed with red color – the identical red outfits of the Red Dao people, and their staffs are also wearing their traditional outfits.
I just love the taste of their food, the attentive services and the ambience of the restaurant. Food are very reasonably priced, and there are both tables outside to catch the sun and indoor with a cozier atmosphere for your choices. Try their duck or chicken cooked with honey on sizzling pan, or eggplant sautéed with garlic.
Red Dao House: 4B Thac Bac Street, Sapa, Lao Cai, Vietnam
Opening hours: 7h30 to 22h00
Tel: (+84) 214 3872 927
#2. Indigo Restaurant
My second favorite local restaurant in Sapa is the Indigo, which nests around the corner off the main street of the town. If the Red Dao House features the culture of the Red Dao people, the Indigo Restaurant is distinctively attributed with characters of the Black H’mong – the largest hill tribes in Sapa.
Their menu offers a wide variety of Vietnamese food, from local specialties to popular dishes which can be found in other cities along the length of the country. But it doesn’t matter which region the food was originated, their chef won’t disappoint you. Staffs are friendly and helpful, and like many young H’mong girls around the town, they speak good English.
Try their pork grilled on sizzling pan, sautéed eggplant or chayote buds stir-fried with garlic. Their red pumpkin soup, bun cha and sturgeon hotpot are also worth trying.
Indigo Restaurant: 23 Dong Loi Street, Sapa, Lao Cai, Vietnam
Opening hours: 7h30 to 23h00
Tel: (+84) 214 3873 016
#3. Little Sapa
Just like the name, it’s a small owner-serve restaurant, hideaway from the town’s main street, but Little Sapa is known for its tasty local foods, reasonable price, great service and intimate atmosphere. So, it’s recommended for anyone looking for good quality and quantity.
My favorite dishes here are stir-fried chicken with sweet and sour sauce, deep fried spring rolls and duck glazed with honey (yes, I’m a meat person). What I like best here is that you will be served by the owner, who speaks good English. I think when we find an establishment where the owner is the chef, waiter and glass-washer, we’ll receive food prepared with love.
This is truly a good value gem in Sapa.
Little Sapa: 05 Dong Loi Street, Sapa, Lao Cai, Vietnam
Opening hours: 8h00 to 15h00, 17h00 to 22h00
Tel: (+84) 388 063 526
#4. Viet Emotion
Viet Emotion is actually a café, restaurant, sandwich and pasties, all combined into one. Located right in the center of Sapa town (there are two of them, but I prefer the one at the flower garden), so if the fog is not too heavy, you can enjoy your food overlooking the little garden in front, stone church and the stadium.
It’s easy to recognize the restaurant, as it’s well decorated with small green trees all over its appearance. The décor inside is even quirkier, but in a very cozy way. Viet Emotion offers a great menu selection, all the dishes are tasty, especially the eggplant with honey - which I always order when I come. The dish can’t be missed, or you’ll be sorry!
If you are a veggie, this place will make you happy too. Their food is more expensive than many other traditional Vietnamese food restaurants, but the portions are more than ample. If you are not looking for food, come for a drink. Try to get a place at the balcony in the first floor, or on its balconies upstairs, for the street views below. There is a fire on the first floor, which is great to stay close to on the cold days.
Viet Emotion: 17 Xuan Vien Street, Sapa, Lao Cai, Vietnam
Opening hours: 7h00 to 22h00
Tel: (+84): 982 406 961
#5. The Hill Station Signature Restaurant
My first food experience at The Hill Station Signature Restaurant was with 4 American travelers in 2015, it was a cooking class on the H’mong food at their kitchen downstairs, and my clients said it was a real and their best cooking experience ever. The food market visit and learning processes were led by a young but skillful H’mong chef, the place is still run by H’mong people today.
A bit different from other restaurant in town, The Hill Station Signature Restaurant specializes in authentic ethnic food from the area, mostly inspired by H’mong people cuisine. Due to the tradition of slaughtering of whole animals at festive gatherings and the lack of refrigeration, there is a wide array of hot & cold smoked buffalo and pork meats made by the H’mong, the best of them are being served at the restaurant with exciting and unique textures and flavors.
For example, you can try their smoked buffalo meat, flash-cooked pork with lime, ash-baked Sapa rainbow trout in banana leaves, and the traditional H’mong-style black pudding. If you are a vegetarian, you will find their choices of excellent seasonal vegetables of the area presented in the traditional style, banana flower dishes and H’mong style tofu.
The Hill Station Signature Restaurant: 37 Fansipan Street, Sapa, Lao Cai, Vietnam
Opening hours: 7h00 to 22h00
Tel: (+84) 2143887111
Those are the top 5 local restaurants in Sapa, hope you've found one for your lunch or dinner. Incense Travel offers tailor-made tours to Sapa, contact us to start building your itinerary with our travel expert today.