Da Nang’s busiest market hosts a culinary bonanza

HGH Travel

Da Nang’s busiest market hosts a culinary bonanza

In Da Nang, locals will tell you that Con Market is the best place to try signature dishes of the central region that is authentic, tasty and cheap.

Located at the intersection of Hung Vuong and Ong Ich Khiem streets, the market’s name dates back to the 1940s when the market was located on a high hill (con) in the heart of the city.

The market is home to over 2,000 stalls selling a wide range of goods, but food is a huge part of the attraction for locals. Apart from fresh produce and dried dishes, they are drawn in particular by salty, pungent condiments particular to the central region, like mam nem (fermented anchovy sauce), mam ruoc (fermented shrimp paste), mam tom (shrimp paste) and mam so (fermented ark clam sauce).

Lieu’s stall sells mi quang (Quang-style noodles), a dish that originated in Quang Nam Province that borders Da Nang. Thick, broad yellow rice noodles are served in red-orange turmeric sauce with a choice of pork, chicken, shrimp, quail eggs, mussel, and eel in a beef broth.

To increase flavors and textures, other ingredients like banh trang (sesame rice crackers), spring onion, basil, peanuts, coriander, lettuce and sliced banana flowers are added.

Inside the market, each food stall has limited space, so they can only serve five to 10 guests at a time.

This stall serves banh it tran (sticky rice dumpling) and banh bot loc (steamed tapioca cake with shrimp) with a fish sauce dip with pickled carrots.

Another popular pan Vietnam dish with local touches is banh cuon thit nuong (steamed rice rolls served with grilled pork).

The dish is served with nem chua (fermented pork), Vietnamese pork bologna cha lua and thinly-sliced grilled meat besides herbs, bean sprouts and a sweet fish sauce dip with alum sugar.

This is a dish that every visitor should try in the Con Market – rice paper rolls with pork and an assortment of herbs. A serving that costs VND40,000 ($1.74) per person includes a plate of thin rice papers, boiled pork cut into medium-sized pieces and fresh raw vegetables including several kinds of lettuce, perilla, onion, cilantro, cucumber and thinly-sliced mango.

A small cup of mam nem seasoned with chili garlic is the indispensable dipping sauce for the dish.

Unlike rice paper rolls with boiled pork in the southern region that is always served with fish sauce, the central region uses mam nem, made of fermented anchovies, sugar, Thai chili pepper, garlic, lemongrass, sugar, and crushed pineapples.

If you are fan of sweet soups, Hoa Xu’s stall will do justice with all kinds of red bean and green bean soups, mixed sweet soup, flan cake, smoothies and pickled fruits that are displayed on her store shelves.

Sugared Malay gooseberry (Phyllanthus acidus), sugared tamarind, other sweet pickles and banana jam are popular items in the market. Try all of them and buy what you like the most.

The market opens from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m every day.