CHAU DOC - Restaurants

Bun caChau Doc locals are, justifiably, proud of their food. Chau Doc’s canh chua (a sweet-and-sour fish soup often made with basa, something like catfish) is remarkable, as are the 50-cent bowls of Khmer-style bun ca (fish with rice noodles, flower buds and peppers), slurped down for breakfast around town – ask where you see locals crouched over a bowl in the market area. It’s about 2000 to 3000D. They may ask if you want a ‘fish head’ – that’s 5000D extra.

I took a private boat trip around Chau Doc’s river sights, and bought a fish just-caught from a guy in a canoe then had a restaurant cook it up into a giant lunch with two bowls, one of canh chua and one of ca kho to (stewed fish served in a clay pot) for about $3 or $4.

Those looking for burgers or higher-class dining should go to the Victoria hotel. From 4pm dinner’s served on the wood-deck Le Jarai boat, moored nearby. There’s also bar food and the sit-down Bassac Restaurant.

Oh, it’s said that all over the Mekong Chau Doc is known for its particularly meaty field mice – you can find them at the market, if you look.

Known as the king of canh chua in Chau Doc, the Bong justifies its crown, despite its humble conditions of plain tile and wall-bolted TV showing a soap opera or soccer game. There are several noodle/rice dishes on the short English/Vietnamese menu, but don’t overlook the canh chua (30,000D). It’s on the east-west road Thuong Dang Le, a couple blocks north of the market.
Tel 076-867-271; 22 Thuong Dang; open 7am to 9pm or so

The restaurant – along the river, about three blocks north of the market area – floats on a network of bamboo-roofed dining areas with fun views of floating villages and row boats going across the water. Food is quite good, and popular with locals. The menu is in English. Dishes run 25,000 to 40,000D.
18 Tran Hung Dao

Thot Not
There are coconuts and there are coconuts. Thot not (sometimes thot lot), a milk-less coconut with a particularly sweet meat, is widely considered the most tasty, and it’s only found near the Cambodian border, around Chau Doc. Actually Cambodia has long claimed this area of Vietnam as theirs because of the presence of this coconut (they are abundant in Cambodia).

You can find stands selling glasses of refreshing thot not, made by boiling the meat and adding ice are about 20km south on the road to Tri Ton if you’re going too Tra So, Tuc Dup or Ha Tien by motorbike.