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Luxury Travel Blog | Travcoa

Pop-Up Dining in Vietnam

With Travcoa, Dine How You Wish

Every evening in Ha Long Bay, the Vietnamese woman sets up her “restaurant” -- a lo-trau stove, some stools, and five red, plastic tables on the sidewalk. From a large stainless steel bowl her diners chose their live seafood: crab, lobster, scallops, snails, and the largest clams you’ve ever seen.

“You just point to the seafood you want, and she pulls it out and weighs it,” Shelly Norton, Travel Director for Travcoa, said. “All the seafood is put right on the grills. When the scallops open, she takes off the top half of the shell and spoons in a sauce that tastes like peanuts and herbs and is unbelievably perfect.”


Image: An aerial view of street diners in Vietnam; Alan Turkus, Flickr

Sidewalk dining is something you have to be prepared for -- there are cars zooming by and not a health inspector in sight. But according to Norton, it clearly works. All the ingredients used by the Vietnamese street vendors come from the owners’ gardens or the daily market, there is no processed food, and the seafood is all local and incredibly fresh -- even those clams that Norton describes as the size of a ‘bread plate.’

To taste the true flavors of Vietnam, foodies and world travelers alike take to the streets.

“Meals in five-star hotels are prepared with tourists in mind,” Norton says. “The flavors and ingredients are cleaned up to appeal to foreigners. Street food is aimed at locals -- with surprisingly luxe ingredients and a fusion of flavors. To eat street food is to live like a local.”

With Travcoa, one of the greatest perks is the Dine Around Program. It lets guests eat when and where they wish -- from Michelin-starred eateries to pop-up, street food “restaurants.”  Here’s how it works: pick the place, enjoy the meal, and then Travcoa reimburses you when you return. Best of all, the cost is included in the journey, except for alcohol and caviar.

Travcoa is known worldwide for its small-group Escorted Journeys, Private Tours and Custom Travel to Asia and other exotic travel destinations. To learn more, call your travel agent or a Travcoa Journey Consultant at 1-800-992-2003, or email

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Topics: Vietnam