Phan Thiet was originally developed as a fishing community. Further development came when several fish sauce factories opened in the city during the second half of the twentieth century, but the city only became a tourist destination in the mid-1990s.
Due to the community’s connections and dependence on the sea, indigenous cuisine is primarily made up of a variety of fish, crustaceans and other marine life brought ashore by local fishermen on a daily basis. This diversity of ocean life has allowed the Phan Thiet community to be very creative and invent dishes that are unique to this region of Vietnam.
As tourism grows, so does the number and variety of seafood restaurants. Around the turn of the century, a restaurant became known for serving fresh seafood. Cay Bang restaurant on the border between Ham Tien and Phu Hai wards has become so popular that the parking area seems to be always filled with tourist cars from other parts of Vietnam. However, other restaurants began to compete. Since Cay Bang’s customers are mainly large Vietnamese tour groups, this is not the most comfortable environment for individual diners or tourists.
There is a fierce debate about which seafood restaurant is the best, so I will list the ones that are most popular with both tourists and locals, along with the pros and cons and to The reader decides which is the best option.
In 2007 and 2008, some resourceful fishermen and their families set up a few tables and a few chairs, along with some plastic tubs of raw fish and a charcoal grill on property owned by the government in the center of Ham Tien. These impromptu grilled seafood restaurants began to attract many tourists, so many families opened more restaurants. Soon, along the breakwater there were more than a dozen ‘Bo Ke Restaurants’.
The problem is that they don’t have tap water nor toilet so the hygiene is very bad. While still very popular, these ‘Bo Ke Restaurants’ are notorious for food poisoning and are best avoided.
In 2014 and 2015, some Mui Ne residents decided to follow the success of their neighbors in Ham Tien and started a number of fresh seafood restaurants near their sea wall, with views of the sea. town and fishing boats docked at Mui Ne port.
Unlike the ‘Bo Ke Restaurant’ in Ham Tien, the restaurants in Mui Ne are built on private land with running water. They comply with government regulations and they are regularly checked by local authorities to ensure that they are following appropriate health and hygiene standards. Therefore, ‘Bo Ke Restaurant’ in Mui Ne does not have the same frequency of reporting cases of diarrhea or stomach pain as in Ham Tien.
As for individual seafood restaurants, here are the five best restaurants by popularity, reviews, and local community:
one third ke keThe sea wall area in Phan Thiet is famous for its seafood restaurants that are not located along the coast but instead along the Ca Ty River in the city center. Although there are a number of seafood restaurants on Pham Van Dong Street that runs along the waterfront, Thuan Phat Seafood Restaurant at 109 seems to be the most popular.
In Mui Ne ward, the most famous seafood restaurant is Fishing Village at 173 Huynh Thuc Khang. Like Cay Bang, the majority of customers are large tour groups of Vietnam, but unlike Cay Bang, the restaurant has its own dining area in front, mainly suitable for individual guests, so the space is more comfortable.
The second most popular seafood restaurant in Mui Ne is packed with locals rather than tour groups. An Thinh Phat restaurant on Huynh Tan Phat street is very good and the prices reflect the fact that it is more of a local restaurant than a tourist restaurant. The menu items are extremely cheap and the service is very good.
In Ham Tien ward, Lacheln restaurant at 89 Nguyen Dinh Chieu below Mui Ne Hills Resorts seems to be quite popular and has generally received very good reviews on tripadvisor.
Another seafood restaurant in Ham Tien ward that I particularly like is Hong Vinh 1 at 126 Nguyen Dinh Chieu. Although it’s a large open space with not much ambient air, it is located at the water’s edge with great ocean views. Both the seafood and the service were pretty good.