10 Delicious Specialties of Ninh Binh – Culinary Highlights of the Ancient Capital Region

July 17, 2020 9 mins to read
Ninh Binh, the ancient capital, has been bestowed with magnificent natural landscapes by nature, including famous sites like Tam Coc Bich Dong, Trang An Bai Dinh, and the historical capital of Hoa Lu. However, one aspect still captivates travelers: the diverse and rich culinary scene.

The delicious specialties of Ninh Binh represent the fusion of the best local ingredients. When visiting Ninh Binh, indulging in these delicacies is a must-do for any traveler seeking to savor the flavors of this beautiful region.

Let’s journey with Vietnampeace.com to explore the rustic yet irresistibly flavorful local cuisine that will surely not disappoint.

1. Ninh Binh Crispy Rice

When asked about Ninh Binh’s specialties, you’ll get the most common answer: Ninh Binh’s crispy rice. A renowned dish of the ancient land, though humble, its taste leaves a lasting impression on every diner.

Unlike other crispy rice dishes, Ninh Binh’s version blends two types of dry and sticky rice, undergoing multiple processes of drying and frying to achieve perfectly crispy and fragrant batches. Ninh Binh’s crispy rice is often served with shredded pork and fragrant fried shallots or, for a more adventurous palate, with goat meat, innards, and flavorful sauce. You’ll remember the crispy texture of Ninh Binh’s crispy rice.

Don’t forget to grab some as souvenirs for friends and family; you can find Ninh Binh crispy rice almost anywhere in the city and tourist spots. A portion of crispy rice ranges from 35,000 to 45,000 VND. You can easily see this popular dish at local markets and stops.

2. Mountain Goat Meat

Another specialty of Ninh Binh to consider is mountain goat meat. Here, goats roam freely in the mountains, producing firm and delicious meat and unique cooking methods. Visitors can enjoy various goat dishes like grilled goat, steamed goat, goat served with lime, goat spring rolls, a stir-fried goat with lemongrass, goat in ginger sauce, and more.

What’s more remarkable is that most restaurants in Ninh Binh are famous for their crispy rice with goat sauce, a perfect combination of the two local specialties, creating a uniquely tantalizing flavor.

Whether mountain or farm-raised, Ninh Binh goat meat offers distinct soft, chewy, and flavorful experiences. Besides being a renowned delicacy, goat meat is beneficial for health. So, in Ninh Binh, don’t miss out on enjoying goat meat paired with a few glasses of local wine.

The price for a kilogram of Ninh Binh mountain goat meat ranges from 200,000 to 400,000 VND depending on the cut (ribs, neck, innards, etc.). Here are some recommended addresses:

– Ba Cua Restaurant: Trang An Hamlet, Truong Yen, Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh
– Cuong De Restaurant: Truong Yen, Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh
– Chinh Thu Restaurant: Khe Thuong Hamlet, Ninh Xuan, Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh Province

3. Ninh Binh Mountain Snails

Indeed, you’ve tried various types of snails from the sea and rivers, but Ninh Binh mountain snails might be a new experience for many. These snails usually inhabit limestone caves in Tam Diep, and it’s not easy to enjoy them as they are only available from April to August; during the rest of the year, they hide deep within the rocks.

To savor this unique delicacy, you must visit at the right time. Its naturally crispy texture, subtle sweetness, and a hint of herbal flavor will captivate you, especially when enjoying simple steamed snails. Alternatively, you can prepare them in salads, steamed with ginger, or stir-fried with tamarind sauce.

4. Eel Vermicelli

Another Ninh Binh specialty worth trying is eel vermicelli, a broth made from eel and bone, resulting in a sweet, rich, and flavorful soup.

You’ll relish the fragrant and tender eel meat, small yet firm, swimming in the broth, accompanied by finely sliced banana flowers. This dish embodies the renowned flavors of the region.

You can visit Dung Thanh Eel Vermicelli at 999 Tran Hung Dao, Van Giang Ward, Ninh Binh, to taste this dish for around 120,000 VND per serving.

5. Grilled Snakehead Fish Salad

While exploring Kim Son in Ninh Binh, don’t miss the opportunity to try grilled snakehead fish salad, a sophisticated dish skillfully prepared to eliminate the fishy odor, combined with fresh herbs to create an impressive delicacy.

The snakehead fish resembles an eel but with lighter-colored skin and a larger size. Despite its delicious meat and rich nutrients, it’s challenging to catch. Hence, the high price ranges from 500,000 to 600,000 VND per kilogram, depending on the season.

You’ll relish the salad with fresh greens and the unforgettable flavor of a special dipping sauce called “chẻo,” crafted from familiar spices like lemongrass, chili, and pepper, enhancing the dish’s uniqueness.

6. Yen Mac Fermented Pork Roll

A Ninh Binh specialty ideal for gifting on your travels is the Yen Mac fermented pork roll, inspired by Hue’s royal fermented pork roll, with a distinct and characteristic flavor.

It is made from thinly sliced pork leg meat combined with boiled pork skin, vermicelli, and salt, wrapped in guava and banana leaves to enhance the flavor.

To enjoy the authentic taste of Yen Mac fermented pork roll, pair it with dill leaves, sung leaves, or apricot leaves. As a delicacy crafted from the essence of nature, it’s best enjoyed on-site and makes for a thoughtful gift.

The price for each portion of Yen Mac fermented pork roll ranges from 50,000 to 100,000 VND. You can refer to the following addresses:

– Ninh Binh Dragon Market: 71 Van Giang Street
– Anh Quan Fermented Pork Roll Production Facility: Yen Mac, Yen Mo, Ninh Binh
– Yen Mac Fermented Pork Roll Production Facility: 70, Alley 11, Van Giang Ward, Ninh Binh City

7. Gia Vien Shrimp Paste

Mentioning Gia Vien shrimp paste is synonymous with indulging in a rich, culturally distinctive delicacy from the ancient capital region of Ninh Binh. Crafting a delicious batch of shrimp paste is an intricate process, from selecting high-quality shrimp to ensuring hygienic production.

Winter is the ideal time for making shrimp paste, as the temperature facilitates the production of the wealthiest, most fragrant batches. Travelers can enjoy shrimp paste with boiled vegetables, boiled meat, or steamed rice.

The price for each jar of Gia Vien shrimp paste ranges from 150,000 to 250,000 VND. Here are some reference addresses:

– Gia Sinh Shrimp Paste Production Facility: Gia Vien, Ninh Binh
– Tran Thi Trang Shrimp Paste Production Facility: No. 68, Me Town, Gia Vien

8. Nho Quan Grape Wine

In addition to traditional rustic dishes, we can’t overlook an impressive Ninh Binh specialty, Nho Quan grape wine, appreciated by both domestic and international travelers. This wine is crafted by the Muong people living in the Nho Quan region.

It has a unique flavor profile derived from familiar ingredients like sticky rice, rice, and sweet potatoes. It is particularly fermented from fruits and forest leaves like guava, ginger, and galangal. After fermentation, it produces an intense, aromatic, yet not overly heavy wine.

The price for Nho Quan grape wine gifts varies from 200,000 to 600,000 VND. Here’s a reference address:

– Thang Long Restaurant: Trang An, Chi Phong, Ninh Binh.

9. Ninh Binh Glutinous Rice Balls

For those with a sweet tooth visiting Ninh Binh, the traditional glutinous rice balls, kneaded from glutinous rice flour, remain a favorite. The unique aspect of this dish is its combination with honey, peanuts, and the leaves of Moc cuc to create a distinctively appealing flavor.

These rice balls have a sweet, smooth taste without being overpowering, along with a delicate fragrance from the Moc cuc and grapefruit flowers. These round, enticing balls and the nutty richness of peanuts create a delicious treat that appeals to many diners.

The price for each portion of glutinous rice balls ranges from 25,000 to 50,000 VND. Here’s a reference address:

– Glutinous rice ball stall: No. 2, Van Giang, Ninh Binh City

10. Gao Fruit

As a unique Ninh Binh specialty fruit, you can only find this fruit here, growing abundantly in stream crevices and on hillsides. Gao fruit is used for pickling fish or making soup, helping to mask the fishy odor and imparting a light sourness and coolness, making it very beneficial for health.

In Ninh Binh, besides enjoying the exotic Gao fruit, you should purchase it at local markets as a specialty gift for friends and family! You can easily find this unique fruit at traditional markets for about 80,000 VND per kilogram.

What could be better than visiting the ancient capital, exploring its impressive natural wonders, and indulging in Ninh Binh’s delicious specialties? Ninh Binh’s nature and people always welcome you with the most remarkable experiences. So, come and visit this place at least once!

In conclusion, Ninh Binh is a treasure trove of culinary delights, offering a tempting array of flavors reflecting the region’s rich cultural heritage. From the savory crunch of crispy rice to the delicate sweetness of glutinous rice balls, each dish tells a story of tradition, craftsmanship, and the vibrant spirit of Ninh Binh.

As you embark on your culinary adventure through this picturesque region, let Vietnampeace.com be your guide, providing valuable insights and recommendations to ensure your journey is extraordinary. With its wealth of resources and expertise, Vietnampeace.com invites you to immerse yourself in the diverse flavors of Ninh Binh, where every bite celebrates the land’s bountiful harvest and centuries-old culinary heritage. So, pack your appetite and let Vietnampeace.com lead the way to unforgettable gastronomic experiences in Ninh Binh.

Ninh Binh burnt rice (Photo: Collection)

Mountain goat meat (Image: Collection)

Sticky rice with ant eggs (Image: Collection)

Kim Son tuna salad (Image: Collection)

Kim Son rice noodles (Photo: Collection)

Nho Quan Wine (Photo: Collection)

The braised fish dish looks like it wants to eat immediately (Image: Collection)

Eel noodles are tasty and delicious (Image: Collection)

Roasted crab with attractive guise leaves (Image: Collection)

Ninh Binh floating cake (Photo: Collection)

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