What Americans talk about when they talk about Vietnamese food is mostly pho, with a little bit of banh mi thrown into the mix. For those willing to branch out, a meal at Da Nang Quan — a restaurant specializing in Central Vietnamese cuisine — serves as a fascinating, and quite delicious, education. If you try one new dish, let it be something with baby clams, or hen — an ingredient that’s widely eaten throughout much of Central Vietnam, usually sautéed with fresh chilies and aromatics. Da Nang Quan’s bun hen is a masterwork of deep ocean funk: spaghetti-like rice noodles topped with clams, fried shallots, peanuts, and a fermented shrimp paste sauce. Other notable regional specialties include the bun beo (steamed rice cakes topped with ground beef, shrimp, and fish sauce) and one of the best versions of lemongrass-infused bun bo Hue — Vietnam’s second most famous beef noodle soup — in town. $$

— Luke Tsai


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