Sapa’s Traditional Market – Bac Ha Market

Not only is the biggest minorities’ people fair in Sapa but Bac Ha Market is also well-known for its poetic scenery and peaceful atmosphere. Tourists could hardly find a place that still remains the unique characteristics of ethnic culture like Bac Ha Market.

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Located in Bac Ha  District, Lao Cai Province, about 2.5 hours traveling by bus from Lao Cai City, Bac Ha Market, which is held on every Sunday morning, is the occasion for various local ethnic minorities to gather and exchange their local goods as well as their cultures with those of neighboring provinces. When coming to this market, visitors may be overwhelmed by the sea of colorful ethnic costumes and the delightful atmosphere. Local people there do consider Bac Ha Market as a festive event and try to maintain this custom until now. Everyone looks really excited on this day.

Bac Ha Market is divided into different sections offering different types of goods. Each section has its own atmosphere and sounds. The section where buffaloes, oxen and horses are sold is located in the high hill separated from the other sections. This is the most crowded place in the market especially the selling dog spot since it attracts a lot of people from other distant places with the wish to get a pet.  

Local brocade weaving products, which are hand-made by local women, are greatly desired by customers. Brocade fabric is not only used for the needs of ethics in daily life but also made into various souvenirs to meet the high demand of tourists. Bac Ha Market has a really big area to sell only brocade; therefore, you should fully check everything and refer to more information beforehand in order not to buy the low-quality products.

Source: tourguidevietnam The colorful Bac Ha market of Sapa

At Bac Ha Market, you can try many specialties with a quite low cost for instance like Thang Co (Thắng Cố), Pho Chua ( Phở Chua or sour pho), corn wine and many types of snacks.

>>>More information about the special dish of Sapa – Thang Co, please visit here.

In the early morning, in every corner of Bac Ha Market, all food stalls have already prepared to welcome customers. You can easily spot these stands placed on both sides along the main way to the market. You can also find many stalls that have Thang Co, one of the most famous dishes in northwestern Vietnam. This specialty is a traditional dish of the Mong ethnic group cooked with horse meat and 27 kinds of spices. Because of its unpleasant smell, not anyone could try this unique food. Despite this, Thang Co is indeed delicious and has an unforgettable taste. It costs about more than $1.5 (30,000VND) for one dish.

Besides Thang Co, traditional Bac Ha pho or well-known as sour pho is also widely spread. The special thing about the dish is that its noodle is brown due to the special local red rice grown in Lung Phinh commune, which makes the dish outstanding from other types of pho. The aroma of fermented black soybeans, the greasiness of the noodle mixed with spicy sauce and pickled cabbage have created Pho Chua, a perfect combination of flavor and color of its ingredients. There are different tastes in different pho stalls. You can try this food with only $1 (20,000VND).

Source: Gemma Clarke Photography

Tourists could have more memorable experiences with ethnic people by taking pictures with them and talking about their unique culture. This is a great chance for anyone who comes to Bac Ha Market to have a deeper understanding of ethnic cultural customs and explore their daily life as well.

Don’t hesitate to pay a visit to Bac Ha Market in your future trip to Sapa, it won’t let you down.

Trang Nguyen

Thang Co – Unique Food In Sapa

Located in Vietnam’s northwestern remote mountains, Sapa is famous for not only its stunning hidden landscapes but its wide variety of unique specialties as well. However, there is a dish that could horrify everyone with its extremely unpleasant smell but as well makes you addicted to it just by taking the first bite. And that is Thắng Cố, one of the most well-known dishes in Northwestern Vietnam.

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1/Traditional Food Of The H’mong:

Thắng Cố or so-called Thắng Cố Ngựa is a traditional food of the H’mong people and believed to have first appeared more than 200 years ago, when the H’mong, Tay, Nung ethnic groups migrated to Bac Ha in Lao Cai province. It is originated from the northeastern mountainous Ha Giang, and gradually gained popularity among all of the ethnic minorities in the remote northern mountains of Vietnam. People here are really proud of Thang Co dish.

Sapa is not only famous for its stunning sceneries but also its most special food. Source: Whereto



In the past, the main ingredient to make a traditional Thang Co dish is horse meat, instead of buffalo meat, pork or beef like the Kinh’s cuisines. Each kind of remade recipe of Thang Co owns its featured flavor; however, Thang Co in Bac Ha ( Muong Khuong) may obtain the best flavor.

Despite its unique taste, the cooking process is quite simple with 12 traditional ingredients, for instance, cardamom, citronella, ginger, star aniseed, cinnamon twig, Thang Co plant and others.

3/The recipe:

To make the dish, firstly, meat and internal organs must be carefully cleaned by being boiled up and then sliced into pieces before marinated. After that, without any oil, it will be fried up in a big pan on a charcoal stove. Lastly, we will leave all of the spices, together with main ingredients prepared, to simmer for hours. For a tastier dish, backbones and ribs are added to make the soup more flavored and sweeter. In order to make the soup look clearer, we must strain the veggies from the broth.

It is maybe a featured characteristic of Thang Co when we use a big pot or a kind of deep-fry pan instead of a normal pot and the pot is always seethed even when customers are enjoying it. It should be eaten with fresh vegetables such as lemongrass, chayote, cabbage, chili leaf, especially special sauce of H’mong people, which is made from Muong Khuong chili.

Thang Co – one of the unique specialties in Vietnam Source:














Thang Co can also be eaten with mèn mén, grilled corn, especially aromatic corn wine. The best recommendation for you to fully experience the authentic taste is enjoying Thang Co with a little warm and aromatic ethnic corn wine of Bac Ha or San Lung wine.

4/Only on special occasions:

Previously, Thang Co was only served on the special occasions like Tet holiday, village’s big crop festivals or in the large fair like Bac Ha market, which was not held regularly. Nowadays, it is gaining more popularity and appears in the menus of many restaurants. However, to get the real and original taste of the food, you should have the dish in fairs and markets in Sapa, especially in Bac Ha market.

If you plan to travel to Sapa, you must not miss this one-of-a-kind specialty of the mountainous upland, the unique recipe of Northwest Vietnam.

>>>For travel tips to Sapa, please visit here

Trang Nguyen

Visiting Sapa: Tips for Planning Your Trip

Located at the height of 1600m above sea level in Vietnam’s remote northwest mountains, Sapa in Lao Cai Province is famous for not only its stunning sceneries but also friendly local people and cultural diversities. It contains hidden wonders of natural landscapes and overlooks bright green rice fields in Muong Hoa valley. The epic scenery is often filled with thick mist rolling across the mountain peaks, but even when it is cloudy, the town can easily be spotted by the colorful clothes of hill-tribe dwellers. Sapa is definitely a precious gift that Mother Nature dedicates to Vietnam.

In this article, we will give you some awesome traveling tips to Sapa.

Continue reading “Visiting Sapa: Tips for Planning Your Trip”