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Food and Drink on a Halong Bay Cruise

Food and Drink on a Halong Bay Cruise

By Ruby ZhaoUpdated Nov. 2, 2022


There is nothing quite as relaxing as enjoying a meal and a drink while sailing through one of the natural wonders of the world. Let your knife cut through traditional Vietnamese food, seafood, or Western food while the prow of your boat cuts through the salt water below you.

Karst mountains rise from the bay like piles of mashed potatoes surrounded by pools of gravy, but you will not need to be concerned about food as that will all be provided on the boat… leaving you to sit back and marvel at the truly unique scenery of Halong Bay.

Quick Facts

  • Enjoy a unique dining experience with your meals on a Bay cruise.
  • Take an onboard cooking class and learn to create your own Vietnamese dishes.
  • Savor a BBQ-themed fixed meal prepared by the talented chefs on board.
  • Try some of the freshest seafood imaginable while sailing… on the sea!
  • Treat your palate with the comfortable flavors of one of the many Western dishes available on the cruise.

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What to expect on a cruise

Cruises in Halong Bay vary in length and price, but below is a typical example of what is included. If you travel with Asia Highlights then these experiences can be guaranteed.

Welcome drink

Your needs will be met from the moment you step onto the boat. Staff will offer you a beverage to quench your thirst and get things going. For families or younger adventurers, this will include locally sourced freshly squeezed juices; for adults, coffee and cocktails.

Recommended: This can be a great time to try Vietnam’s famous coffee. Strong, dark, and full-bodied, Vietnamese coffee is always delicious. Try it with an egg, for an extra creamy experience.


After some time has passed, to allow your appetite to grow, you will be invited to lunch. Lunches at sea vary depending on the cruise company, but you can expect a wide variety of Vietnamese and Western food.

Recommended: If you enjoy seafood you might try ngan. This large relative of the clam is used widely in Vietnamese cooking and traditional medicine, giving it added cultural as well as culinary value. It has become almost synonymous with the Bay and is quite delicious, baked or steamed.

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Cooking class

After lunch, it will be time for you to pitch in with some work, by learning to cook traditional Vietnamese dishes. Teachers will select a few of the most famous dishes and teach you their history and preparation.

These cooking classes are a highlight for many customers. The satisfaction of learning about the local culture in a tangible way while sailing across one of the most beautiful seas in the world is unique. You may feel like a local person, with the added privilege of observing the local natural beauty.

Nearly all cooking classes feature spring rolls. The teacher will choose a few other dishes depending on what produce and seafood is available at the time you travel. Due to the changing menus, each cooking class is different!

Recommended: Taste everything you cook!

BBQ-themed fixed dinner and cocktails

Sometimes it feels good to forego decision-making and this is especially true on vacation, making this event a smashing hit with all travelers. Choose from a pre-selected BBQ-themed menu that blends traditional flavors with global BBQ techniques.

You will be left full and satisfied after this event. Many customers have said that this meal alone made the cruise worth it. After the dinner, you can take your pick from a menu of complimentary cocktails to wash down the food.


After you wake the next day in your peaceful private room to the sound of waves splashing the sides of the French-Indochina sloop, you might be ready for another meal. Be sure to fill up, as your day will probably be full of kayaking, exploring a fishing village, or just relaxing in the sun.

No matter your itinerary, you’ll be sure to enjoy the fusion-style brunch. You will be able to choose from traditional Vietnamese breakfast dishes, or more traditional Western favorites such as potato and eggs.

Recommended: pho noodles. If you have made it this far without trying a bowl of the classic pho noodles then now is the time. The fine restaurant aboard the ship can provide the perfect setting for Vietnam’s most famous dish.

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Food highlights of Halong Bay

Don’t miss the following culinary delights.

Western food

Due to the high volume of tourists in the area, the Western food around Halong Bay is authentic and delicious. Aboard a cruise, such as the Jasmine Cruise provided on an Asia Highlights tour, you can anticipate a full menu of Western options.

Pizza, seafood bianca, capriccioso, fettuccini, and all manner of French-inspired cuisine are available. After a long trip in a new land, familiar food can recharge the body for more adventure.


In addition to ngan, Halong Bay is famous for its fresh fish and prawns. Halong prawns are especially famous, due to their large size and sweet flavor. They are often served in a sauce made from local herbs and spices, but can also be found in noodle dishes.

Salmon does not live in the bay but due to the French influence on the region’s cuisine it features in many onboard dishes. Otherwise, local fish such as snapper are prevalent in the traditional Vietnamese dishes served in the restaurant.

Halong snails are another local favorite, served in a tangy sauce. Locally sourced snails and sauces are served to order.

Ask the knowledgeable kitchen staff for recommendations about what is in season.


If you have food allergies or dietary restrictions, make sure you alert the staff ahead of time. If you travel with Asia Highlights, our guides will take note of this information at the beginning of the trip to make sure you remain healthy and comfortable during your entire journey.

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Feeling hungry for a vacation? Check out the unique and exciting trips offered by Asia Highlights, promising to provide tasty experiences.

The Asia Highlights experience includes everything above as well as an extended trip into other parts of the country. Our guides facilitate and advocate for you from the moment you sign up for the trip, ensuring comfort and adventure every minute of your journey.

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