Though there’s no longer any place to stay here, the best places to eat are in the centre of Muong Thanh Ward, which can be reached by turning off 7-5 Road at the cemetery or the Dien Bien Phu Hanoi Hotel. It’s a bit of a walk and in the evening you may have trouble rustling up a xe om or taxi, so if you don’t fancy a particularly dark walk back to your hotel, see if the restaurant can help you out with transport.
There are plenty of street kitchens and local restaurants, serving up a variety of dishes. The area gets busy at night so look around at where the locals go and see what you like the look of.
At the end of Hoang Cong Chat (which starts at 7-5 Road a short walk down from the Dien Bien Phu Hotel, just before A1 Hill) is Vinh Thom Restaurant, which has a wide ranging menu but only in Vietnamese, and no-one speaks English although they are very welcoming. Another choice is Lien Tuoi Restaurant, which serves Vietnamese and Chinese dishes, and has English menus. To get there take the turning between A1 Hill and the Cemetery and it’s about a 10 minute walk down on the right.
There are plenty of places to eat com and pho along Nguyen Chi Thanh, which is within walking distance of most hotels. It’s also a great place for coffee — there are several lovely little cafes serving the traditional, strong, pungent brew, and also make for a good place for a relaxing drink in the evening.
Cafe Window is one of our favourites, and popular with locals, but there are several interesting looking options including Ju Cafe. Also, in the market which runs from Nguyen Chi Thanh to Muong Thanh Bridge you might find a guy grilling up whole chickens and pork kebabs at a cart on the street.
Lien Tuoi Restaurant: Hoang Van Thai Street, Muong Thanh Ward, west of Tran Can Street, Dien Bien Phu. T: (0230) 382 4919.
Vinh Thom Restaurant: No. 68 Hoang Cong Chat, Dien Bien Phu. T: (0230) 382 4291. Hours: 08:00 to 24:00, closed Sundays.