A Guide to Eating in Hoi An, Vietnam

A Guide to Eating in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Famous for it’s ancient beauty and authentic food, check out our guide to eating in Hoi An, Vietnam.

This vibrant city first stole our hearts back in 2011 after days spent wandering around winding streets lined with timber-framed buildings and silk lanterns.

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Fast forward five years and although there’s been an increase in tourists, we were glad to see our favourite spot in Vietnam hadn’t lost it’s old-fashioned charm.

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Famous for it’s cheap food and cold beer; warm-hearted and welcoming locals can be found on every street corner offering plates of delicious goodness cooked on the spot for less than a £1.00.

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After ten days of eating everything we could get our hands on. Here’s our five favourite local dishes that will leave you hungry for Hoi An.

1. Cao Lầu

Slices of smoky barbecue pork, crunchy crackling and crisp lettuce and bean sprouts rest on top of soft, thick rice noodles drizzled with a spoonful of stock; Cao Lau is the signature dish of Hoi An and it’s clear to see how this tasty noodle delight earned it’s reputation.

Cao Lầu in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Available only in Hoi An, the town’s speciality must be made using water drawn from the Ba Le Well, giving the noodles their unique taste.

Cao Lầu in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Even with it’s reputation of being the best meal in town, the origin of the iconic Cao Lau is somewhat a mystery; many believe the thick noodles are similar to Japanese soba noodles, yet others argue the char siu pork indicates Chinese routes.

Whatever it’s history; the taste is as unique as the city it belongs to and should be at the top of your list of must-try meals in Hoi An.

2. Bánh Mì

Now I know what you’re thinking, and before you say it – no, it’s not just a sandwich, it’s a sensation. A byproduct of french colonialism in Vietnam; the airy baguette is made by using half wheat and half rice flour, deliciously crispy on the outside yet soft on the inside.

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It doesn’t get fresher than that! Check out the Vietnamese Special from ‘Phi Banh Mi’

Bánh Mì in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Hot, salty, sour and sweet; oozing with cured cold-cut meats, homemade pate, egg, sliced carrots, pickles and cucumber and finished with a drizzle of a mayonaise-like sauce and a sprinkle of coriander. It’s simple and delicious and makes for the perfect snack.

3. Bánh Xèo

Quite literally translating to the ‘sizzling cake,’ because of the sound made when the batter hits the fryer; this savoury fried pancake is accomplished by mixing rice flour and water and then stuffed to the brim with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts and green onion.

Bánh Xèo in Hoi An, Vietnam.

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Don’t be fooled by it’s omelette-like appearance; the components of the dish may be served to you separately; add them onto the pancake, roll it up and give your tastebuds a treat with this delicious street food snack.

4. Hoành Thánh Chien

This crispy wonton is covered in a tangy salsa-like sauce packed with fresh prawns and ground pork, thinly sliced vegetables and finished with a pinch of coriander and a sprinkle of crunchy onions.

Hoành Thánh Chien in Hoi An, Vietnam.

A popular choice among locals; not only did these fried wontons taste amazing, the bite-sized parcels are a work of art, carefully crafted by street vendors across the city.

5. Bánh Bao Vạc

Commonly known as white rose dumplings, these translucent rice cakes are famous not only for their flavour, but their flower-like appearance. Filled with either shrimp or minced pork, the dumplings are steamed and covered with crunchy toasted garlic.

Bánh Bao Vạc in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Soft in texture, small in size but big in flavour; rumour has it that one family provides the whole town with their famous white rose dumplings, so be sure to try these flavoursome flowers – one plate just isn’t enough.

If you want to sample all of the above then head downtown to the Central Market Food Hall.

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The stall holders are friendly and the food is cooked fresh right in front of your eyes. With most dishes costing less than £1.00, it’s great value for money; but beware – once you’ve been here you won’t want to eat anywhere else!

Other restaurants we’d recommend are;

Hi Restaurant

Cafe 43

Morning Glory

Unfortunately they don’t have websites but directions can be found on Trip Advisor.

Have you tried any of these dishes?

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A Guide to Eating in Hoi An, Vietnam.

 

 

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22 Comments

  1. 26th June 2017 / 10:39 pm

    You have awaken our fresh memories from this April. The food in Hoi An is really amazing! Thanks for the article 🙂

  2. 2nd May 2017 / 12:16 am

    Oh wow I had totally forgot that I had eaten Banh Xeo too when I was in Vietnam.
    I realised the pancakes and ricepaper LOL.
    Isnt the food in Vietnam great?
    x

  3. 30th March 2017 / 1:42 pm

    I totally love street food and manage to eat some wherever I go. That being said, I don’t think far eastern countries would have many options for me – I’m a veggie and all that you’ve listed here are not!!! 🙁

  4. 28th March 2017 / 8:52 pm

    Omg your pictures have just made my mouth water! I loved Hoi An so much and now I know I am definitely going to have to get Vietnamese food for lunch haha. Glad you had such a great time in this beautiful city!

  5. 28th March 2017 / 12:14 pm

    YUM!!! Now I am craving a Bánh Mì! You’ve convinced me, I need to go to Hoi An. The Cao Lầu sounds tasty as well.

  6. 28th March 2017 / 6:15 am

    The food looks amazing! We have some Vietnamese restaurants in London but its definelty not the same to experience it in Vietnam! I hope I can visit it very soon! Your post is great, now I know what to eat when I get there! Your photos are lovely!

  7. Chiara
    28th March 2017 / 4:07 am

    I love food and trying new ones when I travel the world so I loved this article! 🙂 Thank you for writing it! It made me curious about new food

  8. 28th March 2017 / 3:31 am

    Love your food pictures! Made me hungry just looking at them! Definitely adding a few of these to my itinerary when I go!

  9. 28th March 2017 / 12:40 am

    I have eaten Banh Mi before, but I’m sure it’s nothing like this one. It’s good that I already had lunch because of all this crazy delicious looking food… Actually, I think that I would like Cao Lao the most.

  10. 28th March 2017 / 12:31 am

    This is an awesome guide! Cheap local food is usually the best, especially in SEA! We missed Vietnam this time but eagerly awaiting our time there!

  11. 13th February 2017 / 11:58 pm

    This is why I’m saving my self for Vietnamese food. I just can’t trust that it’ll be done right until I’ve had a taste from the country. All of the foods you’ve listed sound uber delicious, especially the Cao Lầu (cuz pork!) and the Bánh Xèo… yum! Hoping to visit Vietnam this spring so I can experience all the noms!

  12. 13th February 2017 / 1:07 pm

    I should not have read this just before lunch. I’m so hungry now and nothing I eat can top this! I’ve never been to Vietnam but I’ve always wanted to visit Hoi An. It looks like such a charming city plus, I heard you can get amazing clothes made there too. Sign me up!

    • 21st May 2017 / 4:14 pm

      I got an email from their teacher, and all the students loved their postcards. I would love to do this with more Enl-ashglanguige teachers around the world. I think it was definitely a win-win for all of us.

  13. 13th February 2017 / 11:09 am

    Oh my gosh I love Vietnamese food. I was in Hoi An nine years ago! I can’t believe it’s been so long already but this makes me just want to go back and eat it up! Great guide.

  14. Rocio Cadena
    13th February 2017 / 9:41 am

    Omg yesss! I loved the food porn in this post. I’ve always been excited to visit Vietnam for many reasons but especially their food. So it was interesting that a close friend recently went and was unimpressed with the food. I couldn’t believe it but I fear he didn’t know what to look for. Your article reinstates my faith of all the delicious food that awaits me!

  15. 12th February 2017 / 9:19 pm

    I’ll be going to Hoi An in a few weeks and I’m getting so excited!! I can’t wait to eat all the delicious foods!

    • rosieb
      13th February 2017 / 8:37 pm

      ah so jealous! you will love it! make sure you spend an afternoon at An Bang Beach 🙂

  16. 11th February 2017 / 1:54 pm

    Alas, I didn’t make it to Hoi An when I went to Vietnam, but I hope I can rectify that soon! Cao Lầu looks absolutely amazing!!!

    Just as an aside, this was an especially cruel post to force us to read. I went from content to absolutely ravenous in the amount of time it took me to read this. Cruel and unusual, this was 😛

    Seriously though, thanks for the recommendations!

  17. 9th February 2017 / 12:49 pm

    Vietnam is a country that I haven’t spent nearly enough time exploring and I really, really wanna get back there. The only time I went was on a Korean tour with my mom and aunts, where would you believe, they only took us to “Korean restaurants.” Just slit my wrists already. ARgghhh!!! Loved this guide though, and will definitely keep it in mind when I do get back there (hopefully this year).

  18. 9th February 2017 / 3:50 am

    Ahhhh this post takes me back! We LOVED LOVED LOVED the food in Hoi An! We actually found two restaurants we couldn’t stop eating at and had every meal at the two of them slowly checking off everything on their menu! Cao Lau is must too! I miss how fresh and light the food was, I never felt too full or gross after eating in Hoi An. This definitely makes us want to go back for the food alone!

  19. 7th February 2017 / 10:25 am

    Too early for lunch while I am reading this but this post makes me hungry already. How special is the Ba Le Well, I wonder, for it to give a special flavor? Interesting, right? And also the white rose petals being rumoured as supplied by one family. If true, then no wonder it has its iwn unique charm, too.

  20. 6th February 2017 / 8:14 pm

    My mouth was watering while I read that!! We love to try the street food everywhere and I usually prefer the market vibe to a restaurant. Haven’t made it to Vietnam yet but it’s definitely on the list!! Thanks for the recommendations, bookmarking this.

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