Fresh air and even fresher produce in Dalat

Dalat is one of my favourite places in Vietnam. Its higher altitude, lakes and abundance of vegetation and plantations make it a favourite for honeymooning locals, which has spawned a slew of ridiculously kitsch attractions, like swan boats you can pedal around the lake and costumes (hilltribe, cowboy, emporer etc.) for hire at some of the waterfalls outside town. We stopped by Bao Dai’s Summer Palace, an art deco ‘nautical style’ home of Vietnam’s last emporer and who should be lurking in the gardens but a ladyboy in a monkey suit ready to take you around the grounds in a horse-drawn cart!!

The best things about Dalat are the cool climate (you can check out everyone’s winter garb while the western tourists walk around in shorts!) and the locally grown fresh produce. Most of the things to see and do in Dalat are located a bit outside town (waterfalls, farms, pagodas) so if you’re just wandering around the centre, the market is undoubtedly the highlight.

Dalat’s central market is one of the best food markets I’ve seen – it’s so colourful, with the streets surrounding it bursting with colourful displays of strawberries, avocadoes, coconuts, bananas, blackberries and more. Dalat’s climate means berries and other fruits not typically found in tropical countries can flourish.

Inside the market, the stalls sell dried and candied versions of all the local fruits, plus tea and coffee. Unusually, the items have marked prices (and they’re cheap – 4,000 to 25,000 dong per bag of dried fruit) so you don’t really need to bother bargaining, plus the stallholders ply you with cups of oolong tea and samples of their fruity wares. And they’re not even that pushy, which compelled me to buy more – a clever sales tactic?!


5 Responses

  1. the nibbling marmot April 9, 2009 / 2:00 pm

    You described it well, and it sounds lovely… I would like to visit it someday. Yum.

  2. jen laceda April 9, 2009 / 2:07 pm

    Very clever sales tactic indeed! You know, this is exactly what I miss from living in Asia. Fresh, juicy, indigenous fruits of all kinds! Not imported ones from some faraway locale! I truly envy your position. We just got snow here in Toronto 2 days ago. Snow in April!!

  3. Baron's Life April 10, 2009 / 10:20 am

    When I lived in Asia, we used to go to the wet market for fish, chickens, veggies, etc… it was a great experience…and of course you had to bargain all the time..cause they would always try to take the white man for a ride…lol it was a matter of honor, in some cases…great post, thanks so much for sharing this with us

  4. Cate April 12, 2009 / 10:28 am

    I never made it to Dalat wish I had. It sounds my kind of place especially with the higher altitude. And the yummy fruit.I do miss Vietnamese food (the authentic stuff).

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