Top 8 Foods You Need To Try in Hoi An
Hoi An is well-known not only for its long history, spectacular natural views and well-preserved architectures, but also for its special culinary culture. Trying Hoi An’s delicious foods is on the must-do list of every tourist visiting the Central of Vietnam.
Hoi An’s special cuisine includes many different foods, some of which are famous such as Banh Mi or Cao Lau, some are less known like Bun Thit Nuong or White Rose Dumpling. With many restaurants and bistros in this town, first-time visitors can be confused when finding the best places to try these foods. The following list will provide you with details of the 8 most attractive foods and where to find them, in order to help you to plan the best food tour in Hoi An.
Cao Lau is a special Vietnamese dish that can only be found in Hoi An. Its origin remains a myth – some says it was introduced by the Chinese, some says it derived from Japanese soba noodles. However, Cao Lau has a unique flavor created by unique ingredients representing what is best about Hoi An. The dish comprises of signature noodles made from local fresh rice, some slices of barbecue pork, lettuce and herbs from Tra Que Herb Village. The water used in Cao Lau must be taken from a specific well dug by Cham people, which make it impossible to replicate this dish outside Hoi An.
Where to eat: Most restaurants in Hoi An offer Cao Lau in their menus. Some of the most famous places are Thanh Cao Lau Restaurant at 26 Thai Phien and Cao Lau Trung Bac at 87 Tran Phu. Additionally, many Cao Lau street vendors on Tran Phu and Nguyen Hue Street also serve this dish with reasonable price.
Vietnamese Banh Mi is praised as “the world’s best sandwich” by famous reporters and chefs visiting this country. Hoi An is home to some of the best Banh Mi restaurants and vendors in Vietnam. Banh Mi here is like a symphony in a sandwich, with pork, ham, pate, long slices of cucumber, fresh cilantro, pickled carrots, tomato slices and sauce. The richness in this food is incredible, with a mix of 5 tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, spicy and 5 colors: red, green, yellow, white and black. Together with the special sauce, they create a unique taste and seduce you right from the first bite.
Where to eat: There are some well-known places in Hoi An that you should not miss if you want to try Banh Mi. The first one is Banh Mi Phuong, 2B Phan Chau Trinh Street, where the famous chef Anthony Bourdain had visited and fell in love with. Another one is Banh Mi Khanh, 115 Tran Cao Van Street, served by an old lady who is still enthusiastic in making the best Banh Mi in Hoi An. The last one is Banh Mi Lanh, 430 Cua Dai Street, which is less known than the other two but preferred by a lot of locals and tourists for its special flavor.
Quang Noodle is very popular in Hoi An and Quang Nam. Known as a variety of Pho, Quang Noodle still has its special features which contribute to the attractiveness of this dish. The noodles are yellow, matching with the color of shrimp and crab. Meat used in this dish can also be pork, beef, chicken and there is even a variation for vegetarians. Quang noodles is served with a lot of herbs like mint leaves, cilantro, basil and Vietnamese coriander, adding flavors to this signature and delicious dish.
Where to eat: Quang Noodle can be found in many places in Da Nang and Quang Nam, from restaurants to street shops. In Hoi An, you can try Quang Noodle at Mr Hai Restaurant, 6A Truong Minh Luong Street, Mrs Hat’s Shop, Bach Dang Street and various street vendors along the roads.
Chicken Rice (Com Ga)
Chicken Rice sound like a common dish, but Hoi An’s Chicken Rice has a special taste that makes it unforgettable to visitors. The rice is cooked with the chicken broth, added a little of fresh turmeric which makes the yellow color for it. Chicken is boiled and cut into small slices, seasoned with salt, pepper, chili and Vietnamese coriander. The rice and chicken meat are then mixed together and the dish is finished with additional mint leaves and onions. The complete dish has an attractive look and rich flavor, which will satisfy your hunger and your quest for a delicious food.
Where to eat: Chicken Rice is a popular dish in Hoi An and you can find it in many restaurants or street shops. However, if you want to try the best dish, you can go to Madam Buoi Chicken Rice, 22 Phan Chau Trinh Street; Mrs Nga Chicken Rice, 8 Phan Chau Trinh Street or Mrs Huong Chicken Rice, 48 Le Loi Street.
Banh Xeo is a famous Vietnamese pancake and you can find a lot of local interpretation in different cities of Vietnam. Banh Xeo Hoi An is special in its look, recipe and taste that will create an unforgettable experience for tourists trying it. Compared to other areas’ pancakes, Banh Xeo Hoi An is quite tiny. It is made by rice powder, with bean sprouts, shrimp, pork and egg as toppings. The sweet, creamy sauce and fresh greens from Tra Que Herb Village add more flavors to the dish and make travelers addicted to it.
Where to eat: Banh Xeo is a common street food in Hoi An and can be found in many street shops and food stalls along the roads. There are also numerous stalls selling Banh Xeo if you visit Hoi An Market at night. In case you want to have a cozy place to sit and try it, you can visit Bale Well Restaurant, praised by many tourists as a great place to try not only Banh Xeo but also many other delicious Hoi An’s dishes.
White Rose (Banh Bao Banh Vac)
White Rose is named based on its appearance like a rose blooming on your dish. It is a classical shrimp dumpling with a small lump of meat placed skillfully at the center of two thin rounds of rice paper. This dumpling is then steamed and the heat makes the edges become soft and wrap a little, creating the beautiful rose-like image. White Roses are served with crispy bits of fried garlic and special fish sauce. Aside from the pretty appearance, the softness of texture, the sweetness of sauce and the crunch of toppings altogether create a delicious and attractive dish.
Where to eat: The recipe of White Rose is a secret which only one family in Hoi An has. Tran Tuan Ngai, the owner of Mr Ngai’s Restaurant, is the third generation in this family. Many restaurants in town sell this dish, but most of them buy the dish from him. That is why the best place to try White Roses is Mr Ngai’s Restaurant, 533 Hai Ba Trung Street.
Banh Uot Thit Nuong
Banh Uot Thit Nuong is a kind of spring rolls, with special recipe and ingredients of Hoi An. It is a thin rice pancake steamed to perfection, accompanied by barbecue, herbs and cucumber. To make the barbecue, the seller grinds the meat, wraps it around a bamboo chopstick and bakes with charcoal which brings a good smell to the meat. The food is served with sour, sweet and spicy sauce, creating a strong and delicious taste.
Where to eat: Banh Uot Thit Nuong is such a popular dish in Hoi An that it is easy to find a restaurant or food stalls serving it. You can find it on the pavement of Tran Phu Street, at the crossroads between Hai Ba Trung and Tran Hung Dao Street, and on the riverside of Hoai River.
Bun Thit Nuong
Bun Thit Nuong is a favorite street food in Hoi An. It is made of white rice noodle, lettuce, cucumber, beansprouts, basil, peanuts and mint. It is then topped with sweet and spicy slices of grilled pork baked with charcoal. Depending on personal taste, you can also add some extra flavor with green chili and peanut-based gravy. Bun Thit Nuong is a tasty food and a special variation of Vietnamese noodle that you should try in the Central of Vietnam.
Where to eat: You can try Bun Thit Nuong in many established restaurants in the Ancient Town, as well as numerous street shops. Normally, restaurants serving Cao Lau also include Bun Thit Nuong in their menus, so you will find it easy and convenient to try Cao Lau and Bun Thit Nuong at one go.
Hoi An is such a street food paradise with lots of special, delicious foods and the stories and culture behind them. After a long trip around Hoi An, you can stop by any restaurant and try some tasty dishes, or just operate a food tour to know more about this town’s culinary. It is one part of the attractiveness of Hoi An, a place worthy of traveling and discovering. With the above list, we hope that you have gained information and come up with the ideas for your incoming trips to this beautiful and unique town.