In Vietnam, a hot pot is called lẩu or cù lao, and the sour soup called canh chua is often cooked in hot pot style (called lẩu canh chua). The generic term for a salted fish hot pot is lẩu mắm.
Hotpot can be found in most of the cities and provinces in the Mekong Delta.
If you are in Can Tho City, you must go to the Hotpot alley located at Hem 1 Ly Tu Trong dubbed Hẻm Vit Nau Chao, the Hot Pot Alley is one of the attractions for locals and students in the Xuan Khanh Quarter that is still a kind of secret tipp in Can Tho even though it recently started to becoming popular with expats as well (especially with those who are not afraid of Vietnamese only menus). The alley hosts about a dozen restaurants all offering the same specialty, Can Tho Hot Pot in different styles with fresh fish from the Mekong river or with Duck (also a local specialty).
Hot Pots are served on a fire cooker on your table. As the soup gets cooking you can add different vegetables, leaves, egg noodles or rice noodles, tofu and eggs. You only pay for the side dishes you use and you can order more of any dish you wish. You also get free refills of the hot pot soup. Ask for “them nuoc” meaning more water. It might seem unusual to put in some of the leaves into the hot pot, but try and you will love it. The dishes you will find in most places are:
- Vit Nau Chao (Duck hot pot)
- Lau Hai San (Seafood hot pot)
- Lau Ca Keo (Fish hot pot, small fish that looks similar to Eel)
- Lau Chua (Sweet sour hot pot with river fish)
As the menu is usually only in Vietnamese, you can just look around at other tables when you enter the restaurant and point out, that you would like to order the same. You will also often find a friendly local who speaks some English or German and will be happy to help you. They will probably cheer to you with beer and will be glad to talk to you more afterwards.
Some places are very full. These are the best. Do not be afraid to enter a place that looks like there are no more tables available, just take your time, look out for the waiter and indicate the number of people you are all together (e.g. show two fingers and say “hai nguoi” meaning “two people”). They will then find a table for you or clean up some space.
A more romantic restaurant than the usual neon light places is located in the alley towards Ly Tu Trong street. They have some colorful lamps and you can also sit outside. If you are up for an even more local experience choose one of the restaurants further down the alley.
The Hot Pot Alley (Hẻm Vit Nau Chao) is located between Mau Than Street and Ly Tu Trong Street. As many of these small alleys do not show up on tourist maps or online maps, you might need to ask somebody on the street for directions, but it is also not difficult to find if you stick to the directions here: From Mau Than Streetenter Hem 142 Mau Than opposite the yellow painted Hotel Xoai, after a hundred metres there is a bifurcation. Turn left here and continue on the alley when it turns right. You will cross a tiny bridge and see the first restaurant shortly after that. From Ly Tu Trong Street enter Hem 1 Ly Tu Trong close to Luu Huu Phuoc Park.
Nam Mon The Boutique Hotel also does food tours in Can Tho, the 1st & Original Bite tour on the back of the bikes. When you do not know the vietnamese language, afraid to take your first step into the shop or don’t know what to order, this is your chance. The hotel organise such food tours to cater to travelers who are food lovers and dare to try new things. If you are interested, click here for more information.
You may also contact us at +84 932862168 (outside Vietnam), 0932862168 (inside Vietnam)