An English Foodie in Phong Nha

To those who know me it’s pretty obvious I love good food although I am very difficult to cater for because I have allergies and am extremely fussy. When I first visited Phong Nha I craved cheese and decent wine but over the years the amount of restaurants and cafes providing all types of delicious food has improved immensely and there are many places I enjoyed eating at this summer. All my meals have been gluten free and without chillies so I’ve listed all the restaurants where I ate a few times. They are not in any particular order and the ones with a * are also places to stay (homestay/hotel/hostel).

1. Little Vietnam
I love the pho ga (chicken noodle soup) there and they also do a good sized portion of fried rice.

2. Sunflowers
My favourite dishes are mushroom curry and the fresh spring rolls but all the food is pretty good.

3. Phong Nha Vegan
This one is about 3km from the main town centre but they do a delivery service. I always have the same few dishes; mushroom la lot, banh cuon, and any of the soups are fantastic, especially the mushroom!

4. Funny Monkeys*
Near to the church (but don’t let that put you off) the owners are lovely and the BBQ food is really tasty. They also do some great passion fruit drinks and the beer is always cold.

5. Coco House*
One of the places I have been eating at since it first opened and the chef has skills. I highly recommend the clay pot dishes and the sweet potato fries are probably the best in Phong Nha.

6. A Little Leaf*
Seriously good seafood served here as well as being a contender for coldest beer. The owner is knowledgeable and will let you try his special tea too. I love the BBQ prawns, spring rolls and the scallops the most.

7. Vung Hue
One of the original eateries in Phong Nha and they still have some of the best food in town. A family owned business with a great menu, if you are eating alone you can try the mixed plate. As a group there is so much to share to enjoy a selection of pork, beef and veggie dishes. The spring rolls are good, the stewed pork excellent and the pork ribs delicious.

8. Thang Nhung BBQ
This place has got it spot on for pork lovers! Anything from breakfast through to evening meal is so tasty and cheap. Surprisingly they do one of the best tofu soups I’ve tried too.

9. Banh Xeo market stall
One of the best value meals in Phong Nha and is situated at a small space on the left as you enter the local market area. The pork and shrimp crispy rice pancakes are great and it’s served pretty fast when you want to keep ordering more. Great for lunch or dinner but get there early.

10. Lucky Home (formerly Lucky Lucky)*
Situated on the river about 1km out of town it has the perfect views for watching the boats go by. The owners give excellent service despite limited English and they have some of the best snacks (peanuts) in town.

11. D-Arts
This is directly opposite Easy Tiger has great staff who will make you feel very welcome. The bun cha comes in 3 sizes and is the best in town! There is a comfy chill out seating area inside for drinking a chilled cider or cold beer too.

12. Phong Nha River House*
Ideal for a group booking for dinner this place has some of the best pork dishes I’ve had in Phong Nha. Set on the river about 3km from the town centre. The chef is excellent, the portions are a good size and if you fancy western style chips here probably has the best ones! I’d recommend booking in advance.

13. Jungle Boss Homestay*
This is a place to go for either breakfast or dinner and you should book in advance. The evening buffet style dinner is superb and if you get chance to try the garlic pumpkin dish you should. They also have a pool, some of the nicest staff and a smiley bartender to make your experience a good one.

14. Carambola Bungalows*
A great place with nice views of the river and an extensive menu. The pork dishes are the best. This place also has wine which is a bonus and is in a quiet part of town.

15. Restful River Bungalows*
This was my place to go for a lunch break. The staff are friendly, the pool and River loaction are great and the food is simple but tasty. My favourites are the fried rice and the chicken stir fry dishes. They have a well stocked drinks fridge too.

16. Oxalis Home*
I absolutely love the tofu dish and the chicken and cashew dish here. It’s on the river and has lots of seating in the shade with good views.

17. Momma D’s
Known for its amazing cocktails, craft beer and incredible sunset views this rooftop bar is a gem. The peanuts and french fries are my favourite snacks here but you can also order from various different menus (Indian, Vietnamese, Italian) as well as their own food menu. Ideal with a bottle of decent wine!

18. Namaste
If you’re craving Indian food then this is the place to go, the menu is extensive and the beer is probably the coldest in Phong Nha. I often have the special menu which works out cheaper. I bet Raj, the manager could tell you my favourite dish – bhuna murgh with garlic rice!! Service is ace too.

19. Chao Vietnam
One of the newer places serving modern interpretations of classic Vietnamese dishes from around the country. Great menu, excellent wine and a cool place to eat. My favourites are pretty much everything on the menu and the spring rolls are fantastic.

20. Easy Tiger*
You can’t go wrong with eating at this well known hostel, plenty to choose from and the staff are well trained. I enjoy the stir fry and the sausages here the most but there is so much to choose from. The wine is good value for money too.

21. Capture Cafe
Next door to Easy Tiger and famous for its pizzas. My gluten free favourites are the bacon, beans and potatoes for breakfast, the fab smoothies and the bolognese with potato wedges. I’ve been known to create my own salad too. This place is my favourite for wine and picking up western style snacks (they have crisps)!

22. Bamboo cafe
My favourite dishes here are the pork kebabs and the beef stew. The staff speak good English and are friendly, including the owner who may get the guitar out and sing now and again. The cocktails are strong and beers cold.

23. Veggie Box
Another vegan restaurant which I am a massive fan of the hotpot – it’s great value for money, so healthy and tastes delicious. If you are by yourself order vegan soup which is the hotpot for one, already prepared and in the bowl. The coconut rice is so good and a chat with Ha, the waitress, makes everyone’s day.

24. Coffee Station
It’s worth saying I don’t like coffee but this cute cafe is still one of my favourites for breakfast. The fruit salad with homemade yogurt is filling and the smoothie bowls are just the thing to sort out a hangover. Dare I say the herbal tea is excellent.

25. Underground
One of my favourite places to eat in Phong Nha because I have much more gluten free choices with a western flare. The Forever Pork, the tamarind chicken dish and the fresh garden rolls are the best. The passion fruit smoothie is also excellent. Not the cheapest but you are getting excellent quality at this restaurant.

26. The Villas at Victory Road Villas*
This place is a bit of a treat! I love that it has some of the best staff working here and that there is a good menu selection. If you are looking for cheap eats, this is not the place but you certainly get good value. My favourite dishes are the confit duck leg with lentils, pho ga (for breakfast), potato gratin with asparagus and truffle oil and the potato and edamame bean salad. The wine is moreish, the happy hour a bit too good and popcorn is often served with your drinks. I can recommend the margaritas.

27. Moi Moi
I got a car there on several occasions but you can go by motorbike or bicycle (if you and the bicycle are fit enough). My favourite dish there is the bamboo pork but the casava dumplings and chicken are also good. The food is as fresh as it comes so probably best to order in advance. Great for groups and very relaxed.

28. The Pub with Cold Beer
This certainly lives up to its name but could just have easily been named the pub with the best chicken and peanut sauce. It’s a bit of a cycle ride and if it’s rainy I’d take a car or motorbike. The food is simple but brilliant if you love BBQ chicken and aren’t allergic to peanuts! I could drink that sauce, it’s that good.

29. East Hill
Also a BBQ chicken place but good to hang out at sunset. The food is cheap and tasty and has cold Tiger beers and a good selection of juices.

30. Phong Nha Farmstay*
One of my favourite places to visit when I want to get away from the Phong Nha town centre. They have a mix of western and Vietnamese food and there is a massive wine selection and a fully stocked bar. Service is impressive and it’s a great place to chill out by the pool or by the fire – an all weather kind of place.

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