Quang Ninh is well-known as a province rich in cultural identity with many festivals and cultural and tourism events that are associated with the formation and development of each locality. These unique festivals feature beautiful aspects of the spiritual and cultural lives of many ethnic groups, including cuisine.
Culinary beauty is a combination of the essence of skilful hands and the long-standing spiritual life of the local people. As such, Quang Ninh cuisine is rich and diverse with a variety of dishes from the forest and the sea.
In major festivals and early spring festivals in Dong Trieu Town, in addition to games, there are always culinary corners introducing local specialties such as worms, fiddler crabs, and custard apples as well as many other rustic dishes, including sesame rice cake, ‘banh duc lac’ (plain rice flan with peanuts), banh cuon (steamed rice paper rolls), and vermicelli noodles.
Exploring the land beside Bach Dang River, visitors can join Bach Dang Festival and enjoy special dishes with local delicacies such as Quang Yen spring rolls, Lien Vi fish salad, oyster salad, fried vermicelli, and Hoang Tan shrimp.
"When traveling or attending festivals, visitors can enjoy the unique local culture through the lens of cuisine. Enjoying delicious food and bringing local specialties home while learning more about customs and cultural beauty of localities are exciting experiences for tourists, especially foreign visitors,” said Tran Dang An, Director of Halotour Ha Long.
In localities in the Eastern region of the province such as Binh Lieu District, the culinary culture of the Tay, Dao and San Chi ethnic minority people is always attractive to tourists. Many specialties have become popular, such as banh ngai (wormwood cake), banh day (round glutinous rice cake), five-colour sticky rice, sticky rice with ginger leaves, fish, vermicelli noodles, and black goose. Even after attending the traditional festivals, famous "brands" such as Dong Van stir-fried pho (noodles) and new rice are dishes that every tourist must definitely experience.
A space introducing local agricultural specialties at Ha Lau Market, Tien Yen District. (Photo: baoquangninh.vn)
In Tien Yen District, traditional cuisine of ethnic minorities has been increasingly respected and developed more systematically. At cultural and sports events, ethnic groups have arranged areas to display and introduce local culinary culture. Many attractive dishes have been sold at the events, such as fragrant five-colour sticky rice served with spring rolls and sweet and sour fish sauce, pink peanut candy, and many kinds of cake.
Especially, during the 2023 Culture and Sports Week for Ethnic Groups in Northeastern Region, there were dozens of on-site food stalls and large-scale food stalls on pedestrian streets. The 2023 Street Food Festival featured twenty stalls for displaying and selling various specialties and dishes. At this year's Dai Duc Golden Season Festival, there was also a culinary space for local specialties with over twelve stalls.
According to Duong Thi Hau, Deputy Head of the Culture and Information Office of Tien Yen District, in addition to vibrant cultural activities and festivals, culinary corners have become attractive destinations, accounting for more than 50% of visitors to the events. The office plans to propose an increase of culinary activities to serve guests in some beautiful spaces and old houses on walking streets to attract greater numbers of visitors to the events.
At a space to introduce regional specialties at the Quang Ninh Culinary Festival. (Photo: baoquangninh.vn)
Quang Ninh culinary culture has spread wider and farther to friends inside and outside the province with major events such as the annual Quang Ninh Culinary Festival at Sunworld (Bai Chay Tourist Area, Ha Long City). Many localities such as Dong Trieu, Quang Yen, Binh Lieu, and Tien Yen have also shown interest in orienting and planning for separate culinary spaces and places to sell products under the One Commune One Product (OCOP) programme. These are advantages to honour cultural and culinary values and enhance and promote culinary tourism.