Street Food Cao Bang – exploring North Vietnam

Street Food Cao Bang. Few would argue about how useful an invention the internet has been, from ugly people having sex to spotty virgins becoming gazillionaires (real word), but one thing I’m not always that keen on is how small it has made the world.

Type in almost any city, or town into Google an invariably you will come up with hundreds of results about what to eat and where to stay, with the reviewing mafia decreeing what is good, or not, but every now and again you find an untouched diamond in the rough, where net hath not fell. I found Cao Bang. The land the internet had forgotten!

Where is Cao Bang?

So to get the review type stuff out of the way Cao Bang is the capital of Cao Bang province, a northern Vietnamese area that borders China. Geography lesson over, I found myself here, Vietnam has great food, and Cao Bang was full of street food! Here’s my take on what to eat if you end up traveling to Cao Bang.

To read about amazing Hanoi street food click here.

Cao Bang Street food

OK – a fairly obvious choice considering, well this is a street food blog, but at night the semi-bustling streets of Cao Bang come alive with numerous vendors pulling up coverings to protect from the constant rain, and BBQing up a storm! Much meatier, less spicy, and much more rowdy than doing Kao Rou (BBQ) in China..

Hanoi beer with ice

The Vietnamese are quite tribal with their beers, and whilst the southerners might like Saigon Beer, north of the DMZ its all about Hanoi beer. One crazy quirk that I embraced is from the days before they had refrigeration en-masse where they would add ice to beers, now even if the beer is cold they prefer to drink their beer with ice. Hell, I even added sprite, and made it a cocktail!

Beer with Ice
Beer with Ice

Street Food Cao Bang – Duck, lots of duck

Fun fact duck is about the only word I know in Vietnamese. It is Ga if you are wondering. In Cao Bang, as in much of Vietnam they do love a duck, you name a way to cook it, and they do it, it’s fairly rare to have a meal in a restaurant in Cao Bang without there being at least one duck dish. Good news, I like duck.

Cao Bang Food
Cao Bang Food

Banh Mi in Cao Bang

Many years ago when I was studying for my TEFL certificate I briefly learned Vietnamese. Banh Mi means bread (with stuff in it like a sandwich), amusingly it sounds like “bang me”. You can buy these baguettes at the sides of almost every road in Cao Bang with the French influence being very apparent. Foisgras was actually invented by the Vietnamese!

To read about banh mi click here.

To read about Cambodian banh mi click here.

Lime, salt, pepper and street food Cao Bang!

This is fairly familiar in a lot of Vietnam, but I embraced it whilst dining in Cao Bang. Fairly simply, it’s a small dish with peppers, salt, and lime, you squeeze the lime into it and then dip your meat at will into it. Salt is my second favourite food after MSG, closely followed by lime and pepper. This is my dream dish.

Street Food Cao Bang – worth a visit?

So, whilst there is no particular reason to travel to Cao Bang it’s actually a really cool place to stop off if you are on your way to China, or south to Hanoi. The lack of tourists in Cao Bang give a sense of charm, and if you are adventurous there’s street food Cao Bang scene.

To read how to take the rain from Vietnam to China click here.

North Vietnam in general is just worth exploring itself. The countries may have renuified a long time ago, but they are still culturally very different.

Here’s some street food Cao Bang pictures to enjoy!

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