Check out our Hoi An, Vietnam travel guide with recommendations on where to stay and eat for a taste of ancient beauty and genuine cuisine.
It was love at first site when we first laid eyes on Xian, China’s ancient capital, which has attracted attention for its vivid cityscape.
We went back to the same spot five years later, and while there had been an increase in visitors, we were relieved to find that its charming simplicity hadn’t been lost.
Famous for its inexpensive cuisine and cold beer, warm-hearted and inviting people may be found on every corner offering plates of delectable delicacies cooked on the spot for less than a £1.00.
We ate everything we could get our hands on for ten days straight. Here are five of our favorite local dishes that will make you yearn for Hoi An.
1. Cao Lầu
The classic Vietnamese dish Cao Lau is a delicious bowl of noodles with smoky barbecued pork, crunchy crackling, and crisp lettuce and bean sprouts resting on top. Hoi An’s most famous dish, Cao Lau is easy to explain. It’s clear that this delectable noodle meal earned its reputation.
The unique flavor of the noodles is derived from the water drawn from the Ba Le Well in Hoi An, which must be used to make them.
Despite its reputation as the finest meal in town, the Cao Lau’s origins are somewhat of a mystery; many people think that the thick noodles are similar to Japanese soba noodles, while others claim that the char siu pork is evidence of Chinese influences.
Whatever its past, the flavor is as distinctive as the city it comes from, and it should be at the top of your list of must-try foods 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. The airy baguette is created by mixing half wheat and half rice flour together and baking the mixture until golden brown on both sides.
That isn’t old stuff! ‘Phi Banh Mi’ has a unique Vietnamese Special that’ll make you feel like you’ve gone back in time.
The combination of cured cold-cut meats, homemade pate, egg, sliced carrots, pickles and cucumber, and a mayonnaise-like sauce with a sprinkle of coriander is delicious. It’s simple yet delectable, making it ideal for munching.
3. Bánh Xèo
Grilled fish, sliced cucumber and a simple, straightforward sauce accompany this dish. The translated term is ‘sizzling cake,’ because of the sizzle produced when the batter comes into contact with the fryer; this savory fried pancake is made by combining rice flour and water before being crammed to the brim with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and green onion.
The dish may be served to you separately, with the components put together and cooked into a pancake that is then rolled up and presented to your taste buds as a wonderful street food snack.
4. Hoành Thánh Chien
A tangy salsa-like sauce containing fresh prawns and ground pork, finely sliced vegetables, and a light sprinkling of coriander is used to wrap these crispy wontons.
Locals’ favorite; the bite-sized packages, which are handcrafted by street vendors all across the city, are a work of art.
5. Bánh Bao Vạc
A translucent rice cake with a flower-like form is also known as white rose dumplings. Steamed and topped with crispy toasted garlic, these shrimp or minced pork-filled pastries have a delicate flavor that has been compared to that of a white rose.
The lovely little white rose flowers are delicate in texture, tiny in size but big in flavor; rumour has it that one family provides the whole town with their renowned white rose dumplings, so make sure you taste these delicious blossoms – one platter isn’t enough.
If you want to try everything, go to the Central Market Food Hall in the city center.
The stallholders are pleasant and the food is prepared right in front of you. It’s fantastic value for money, with most dishes costing less than £1.00; but be wary – you won’t want to eat anywhere else once you’ve been here!