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    A Local’s Guide to Hoi An’s Cuisine

    2/15/2024 2:09:34 AM

    What is the reason why visitors keep returning to Hoi An? Is it the ancient, yellow heritage buildings, rows of vibrant lanterns, or its picturesque beauty along the Thu Bon River? All true, but this enchanting city is also known for its exceptional cuisine, which will make you linger when you say your farewells. Embark on a gastronomy adventure with the locals to discover the best of Hoi An’s cuisine!

    Hoi An’s enchanting beauty

    I. Hoi An Culinary Influences

    The gastronomy history of Hoi An dates back to when the city was a bustling trading hub, with traders coming from everywhere, including China, Japan, and the West, bringing their cultural and cuisine influences. The location of Hoi An also makes a huge contribution to the forming of its cuisine. Here, visitors will find dishes inspired by national favorites and others unique to Quang Nam province. Some dishes are exclusive to Hoi An, for example, the incorporation of fresh herbs and vegetables from the local Tra Que Vegetable Village. The renowned culinary diversity has gained Hoi An recognition from Lonely Planet as a ‘global food paradise,’ and is recognised as Vietnam’s food capital by the World Association of Chefs. 
    Let’s dive in and discover the diversity of Hoi An’s cuisine with our locals' guidance!

    II. Com Ga Hoi An – Hoi An Chicken Rice

    1. What is Hoi An Chicken Rice?

    For Hoi An Chicken Rice, you might see the resemblance between Vietnam’s neighboring countries Malaysia, and Singapore with their Haianese chicken rice. Although sharing similarities in ingredients and way of cooking, the Hoi An Chicken Rice has its twist and elevates the dish with their local flavors. 
    Starting with the rice, Hoi An Chicken Rice is usually stir-fried beforehand with chicken fat and shallots, giving the rice grains a more aromatic flavor. After stir-frying the rice grains, it’s transferred into chicken broth to cook, with a bit of turmeric added for a more attractive yellow color. When Haianese chicken rice is served with boiled, tender chicken and diluted soy sauce, Hoi An’s on the other hand, is served shredded and mixed with herbs and vegetables like Vietnamese coriander, onions, green papaya, and carrot. It’s combined with a mixing sauce made from fish sauce, lime, sugar, and a little of their special chili. When eating in a local chicken rice shop, you’ll be served a smaller bowl of Nuoc ma, which is stir-fried chicken intestines, cooked in chicken broth. The savory, sour, and aromatic flavors are well-balanced and elevate the dish, leaving you to find yourself asking for seconds.

    2. Best Places to Eat Hoi An Chicken Rice

    - Com Ga Ba Nga

    Loved by many visitors visiting Hoi An, Com ga ba Nga has become a familiar face in every Hoi An’s food suggestions lists. Located in the center of the Old Quarter with a spacious setting, visitors can enjoy the chicken rice along with other famous dishes of Hoi An.
    • Address: No. 8, Phan Chu Trinh St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 10:00 – 22:00
    • Price range: 100.000 – 150.000 VND
    • Phone number: 090 530 09 47

    - Com Ga Ba Thuan

    A small shop located in a small alley of Hoi An, yet Mrs. Thuan’s delectable chicken rice still attracts many visitors and locals daily. Here, you can experience how locals have their chicken rice, simple, but it is a dish you could never forget.
    • Address: 685/4, Hai Ba Trung St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 10:00 – 20:00 
    • Price range: 30.000 – 60.000 VND
    • Phone number: 0235 3861 146

    - Com Ga Ba Buoi

    Com ga ba Buoi would be the first shop in the mind of every Vietnamese when speaking about Hoi An’s chicken rice. With a long history of selling chicken rice since the 1950s, Mrs. Buoi’s chicken rice shop now passed on to her children, sure knows how to keep the customers coming with their excellent cooking!
    • Address: No. 22, Phan Chau Trinh St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 11:00 – 14:30, 16:00 – 20:00
    • Price range: 35.000 – 50.000 VND
    • Phone number: 0905 767 999


    Hoi An Chicken Rice Ingredients

    III. Cao Lau

    1. What is Cao Lau?

    When visiting Hoi An, indulging in Cao Lau is a must for its regional exclusivity. Even for Vietnamese locals, finding an authentic Cao Lau outside of Hoi An is a challenge, as the noodles, the essence of the dish, are unlike any other and can only be crafted in this city.
    The rice noodles used in Cao Lau are not ordinary; they are soaked in water rich in calcium from the local well and mixed with ashes from trees on Cham Island. This unique process imparts a distinctive yellowish hue and a firmer texture to the noodles compared to others. Legend has it that the water for Cao Lau noodles must be drawn from the ancient Ba Le well in Hoi An's old town to achieve the correct texture.
    Served alongside the noodles are succulent pieces of roasted char siu (marinated pork), crisp lettuce, fresh bean sprouts, fragrant herbs, crunchy deep-fried pork skin, and a flavorful pork-based sauce. When savoring this dish, expect to be greeted by a deep, smoky flavor that is surprisingly light and refreshing on the palate.

    2. Best Places to Eat Cao Lau in Hoi An

    - Cao Lau Thanh

    Mrs. Thanh’s shop is a local, small, but busy shop. This is not only visitors' favorite Cao Lau spot, but it is also the local’s. You would likely have to wait for turns since the shop is always packed with customers.
    • Address: : No. 26, Thai Phien St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 7:00 – 19:00
    • Price range: 30.000 – 45.000 VND
    • Phone number: 0235 221 909

    - Cao Lau Trung Bac

    Trung Bac restaurant Hoi An is one of the oldest Cao Lau shops in Hoi An with more than 100 years in business. The Cao Lau here is famous for having a unique, signature flavor that no other shops can replicate, deep, rich, and flavourful.
    • Address: No. 87, Tran Phu St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 08:00 – 20:00
    • Price range: 50.000 – 110.000 VND
    • Phone number: 0510 3864622

    - Cao Lau Khong Gian Xanh

    Khong Gian Xanh, also means “Green Space” in English, is a famous Cao Lau shop among visitors to Hoi An. Here, you can enjoy a bowl of delectable Cao Lau, along with other famous dishes, in a luscious space with green trees around.
    • Address: No. 687, Hai Ba Trung St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 08:00-20:30
    • Price range: 30.000 – 60.000 VND
    • Phone number: 0905721 219


    Cao lau – the unique delicacy of Hoi An

    IV. Mi Quang

    1. What is Mi Quang?

    Mi Quang is a beloved noodle dish originating from Quang Nam province, the very region Hoi An is nestled within. One of the most striking features of Mi Quang that captivate visitors upon their first taste is its vibrant yellow noodles. Crafted from rice flour, these noodles derive their unique color from the addition of turmeric powder. They are accompanied by a sumptuous and velvety broth, poured over the noodles like a sauce, making it an ideal dish for the warmer months.
    Traditionally, Mi Quang noodles are paired with a variety of proteins, ranging from pork and chicken to fish. However, common options often include chicken, shrimp, pork, or quail eggs. As for garnishes, it's recommended to enjoy Mi Quang with an abundance of fresh vegetables, as is customary with many Vietnamese dishes. This may include mustard greens, crisp bean sprouts, fragrant scallions, tender lettuce, and thinly sliced banana flowers.

    2. Best Places to Eat Mi Quang in Hoi An

    - Mi Quang Khong Gian Xanh

    Aside from Cao Lau, Khong Gian Xanh is also famous with its Mi Quang. 
    • Address: No. 687, Hai Ba Trung St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 08:00 – 20:30
    • Price range: 30.000 – 60.000 VND
    • Phone number: 0905721 219

    - Mi Quang Ong Hai Hoi An

    Mi Quang Ong Hai is said by many people to be the best Mi Quang shop in Hoi An. The shop serves exclusively 2 dishes, Cao Lau and Mi Quang, allowing them to perfect their recipes. 
    • Address: No. 6A, Truong Minh Luong St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 06:00 – 22:00
    • Price range: 15.000 – 40.000 VND
    • Phone number: 0235 3914 406

    - Mi Quang Di Hat

    Located in the busy street of Phan Chau Trinh, Mi Quang Di Hat is loved by many for its affordable price along with delectable flavors and quality.
    • Address: No. 81, Phan Chau Trinh St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 17:00 – 22:00
    • Price range: 15.000 – 25.000 VND
    • Phone number: 093 479 61 72


    Mi Quang with chicken as protein, usually eaten with rice crackers

    V. Banh Mi Hoi An

    1. What is Banh Mi?

    Banh Mi has secured its place among Vietnam's culinary delights, with each region boasting its own unique version of this versatile sandwich. In Hoi An, Banh Mi Thap Cam takes center stage, offering a delightful medley of flavors and textures. Here, you have the freedom to customize your Banh Mi with a plethora of toppings, including liver pate, char siu, ham, eggs, pickled radish, cucumber, and an assortment of herbs. What sets Hoi An's Banh Mi apart is its rich, flavorful sauce and the inclusion of the special Hoi An chili.
    Served in a compact baguette that fits snugly in your hand, each bite of Banh Mi promises an explosion of flavors and textures that harmonize perfectly. For those seeking vegetarian options, Hoi An also offers Banh Mi with plant-based fillings such as Gio chay and Cha chay (vegan sausages).

    2. The Best Places to Eat Banh Mi in Hoi An

    - Banh Mi Madam Khanh

    Madam Khanh, affectionately known as the Banh Mi Queen, is adored by locals and tourists alike. This iconic Banh Mi shop, run by an 80-year-old couple with over 30 years of experience, has become famous for its incredible, delectable Banh Mis.
    • Address:No. 115 Tran Cao Van St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 6h30 – 19h30
    • Price range: 20.000 – 30.000 VND
    • Phone number: 0777 476 177

    - Banh Mi Chay Hoa Sen (vegetarian)

    A vegetarian option for Banh Mi lovers. At Banh Mi Chay Hoa Sen, visitors are able to try the vegan sausages, harmoniously blend together with their special sauce, at a very affordable price.


    • Address: No. 659 Hai Ba Trung St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 06:00 – 20:00
    • Price range: 15.000 VND
    • Phone number: 0932 725 178


    Banh Mi Thap Cam in Hoi An with eggs, char siu, liver pate and pickles

    VI. Banh Uot Thit Nuong

    1. What is Banh Uot Thit Nuong?

    Many Vietnamese regard this dish as a snack, yet it's surprisingly filling, thanks to its main ingredient: marinated pork cooked on lemongrass skewers over a charcoal grill. Served hot, the grilled pork is accompanied by a variety of fresh vegetables such as herbs, lettuce, cucumber, and a tangy element like star fruit. Additionally, it's served with rice paper and Banh Uot, a version of steamed rice flour sheets that are also used for Pho noodles.
    To assemble the dish, start by placing a dry rice paper followed by a sheet of Banh Uot. An easy tip, commonly used by locals to prevent the tearing of delicate rice papers, is to place a sheet of rice paper on top of the stack of Banh Uot. With the dry paper adhered to the top layer of the Banh Uot stack, simply pull it away, creating the base for your wrap. Next, add your desired toppings such as grilled pork, herbs, and vegetables, wrap it up, dip it in the peanut sauce, and enjoy. The result is a delightful combination of smoky flavors and fresh textures.

    2. The Best Places to Eat Banh Uot Thit Nuong in Hoi An

    - Bale Well Restaurant

    Ba Le Well is a traditional Vietnamese restaurant tucked away just beyond Hoi An's old town, near the renowned Ba Le Well. The owner is a delightful character who can truly enhance your visit with her vibrant personality.
    • Address: No. 51, Tran Hung Dao St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 10:00 – 22:00
    • Price range: 20.000 – 120.000 VND
    • Phone number: 0905 131 911

    - Sister Suong Sidewalk Stall

    Mentioning the "Number One Grilled Meat in the Old Town", food enthusiasts often praise the name of Sister Sương's grilled pork skewers. Here, carefully selected skewers of marinated meat are grilled over glowing red charcoal stoves, emitting a delightful aroma.
    • Address: No. 13, Tran Phu St., Hoi An, next to Kazik Park
    • Opening time: 15h00 - 21h00
    • Price range: 5.000 VND/skewer

    - Ba Huong’s 

    Ba Huong’s shop has been passed down since her mother's time along with its reown unique flavor. The marinated meat is rich and has a distinct taste that cannot be found elsewhere.
    • Address: No. 31, Tieu La St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 13h00 – 21h00
    • Price range: 100.000 VND
    • Phone number: 0816 572 711


    A serving of Banh uot thit nuong including grill pork, dry rice papers, Banh uot, dipping sauce, and vegetables

    VII. Bun Thit Nuong

    1. What is Bun Thit Nuong?

    On a scorching day, this dish offers both satisfaction and refreshment. Similar to the Bun cha of the North, this street food features slices of barbecued pork, rice noodles, and fresh salad greens. However, with Bun thit nuong, all the ingredients are combined with a satay-type sauce that is thicker than the dipping sauce used in Bun cha. It's the ideal choice for a quick and flavorful bite.

    2. Best Places to Eat Bun Thit Nuong in Hoi An

    - Di Bay Hoi An

    One of the must-visit places for delicious Bun thit nuong in Hoi An is Di Bay's stall. Despite being just a small stall in the culinary area of the old town market, its incredible flavors have earned it a spot on every top list of Hoi An's best eateries.
    • Address: Lot 05 culinary area of Hoi An Market, Tran Quy Cap St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 07:00 – 18:00
    • Price range: 25.000 – 50.000 VND

    - Ty Ty Restaurant

    Quan An Ty Ty is one of those hidden gems, tucked away in plain sight. Situated at the end of an alley in the ancient town, it's renowned for a select few dishes, including Bun Thit Nuong.
    • Address: No. 17/6, Hai Ba Trung St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 07:00-22:00
    • Price range: 40.000 – 100.000 VND


    A classic Bun thit nuong with rice vermicelli, grilled pork, fried shallots, green onions, peanuts, and fish sauce

    VIII. Banh Xeo

    1. What is Banh Xeo?

    Banh xeo, which translates to "sizzling pancake" in Vietnam, derives its name from the process of pouring the batter onto a sizzling pan. While it is popular throughout Vietnam, each region puts its twist on the dish. In Ho Chi Minh City, for instance, Banh Xeo is often prepared in a large wok, resulting in a larger, thinner, and crispier pancake. In Hoi An, however, it is typically made in smaller skillets, resulting in pancakes that are thicker and more filling. The toppings inside remain the same between regions, a combination of thinly sliced pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and green onions.
    There are various ways to enjoy Banh Xeo. Some prefer to eat it on its own, while others prefer to wrap it. Similar to Banh Uot Thit Nuong, Banh Xeo is served with rice paper, along with a selection of herbs and vegetables. The dipping sauce is typically a sweet and sour fish sauce commonly paired with Vietnamese spring rolls.

    2. The Best Places to Eat Banh Xeo in Hoi An

    - Banh Xeo Co Anh

    Don't overlook this place, situated near the night market for its convenient location. Their banh xeo is both budget-friendly and delightfully crispy. After enjoying the Banh Xeo, visitors can take a leisurely stroll around the night market area to experience the lively atmosphere of Hoi An's friendly locals!
    • Address: No. 9, Thoai Ngoc Hau St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 10:00 – 21:00
    • Price range: 30.000 – 100.000 VND
    • Phone number: 078 368 9266

    - Banh Xeo Minh Tu

    Located in the Hoi An's food market, this small but mighty stall offers some of the best Banh Xeo that you can find in Hoi An.
    • Address: Food market, Old Town, Hoi An
    • Opening time: 08:00 – 19:00
    • Price range: 30.000 – 70.000 VND
    • Phone number: 0905 838 458


    Hoi An uses smaller skillets to make Banh xeo comparing to the South region

    IX. Banh Bao Banh Vac

    1. What is Banh Bao Banh Vac?

    Named for its distinctive rose-like shape, this dumpling is exclusive to Hoi An and has a recipe that is said to be closely guarded by the third generation of a family that has been making these dumplings for generations. Made from rice flour and the same well water used in Cao Lau, these steamed dumplings are filled with a savory mixture of minced pork, shrimp, and mushrooms. They are then topped with crispy spring onions and shallots, adding layers of flavor and texture to the dish.

    2. The Best Places to Eat Banh Bao Banh Vac

    White Rose Restaurant (run by the family who specializes in these dumplings)
    Operated by a family renowned for their expertise in dumplings, this restaurant allows you to observe skilled artisans crafting their famous White Rose Dumplings with precision. The freshly prepared dumplings presented beautifully and bursting with flavor, are sure to delight all diners.
    • Address: No. 533, Hai Ba Trung St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 07:00 – 20:30
    • Price range: 50.000 – 100.000 VND
    • Phone number: 0903010986


    Banh Bao Banh Vac, also called Rose Dumplings for its rose-like shape

    X. Chi Ma Phu

    1. What is Chi Ma Phu?

    When exploring Vietnam, you'll likely come across various colorful desserts known as "Che." In Hoi An, there's a unique version of Che that stands out from the rest due to its striking pure-black color. This is Chi Ma Phu, a black sesame pudding-like dessert. Originating from China, Chi Ma Phu has captured the hearts of many Vietnamese across generations. This special dessert is known for its enticing fragrance and its sweet, velvety, and indulgent flavor. Chi Ma Phu is best enjoyed warm, and you’ll need to eat it slowly to feel and taste all the flavor layers.

    2. The Best Places to Eat Chi Ma Phu in Hoi An

    - Mr Thieu Chi Ma Phu

    Mr. Thieu is familiar to Hoi An’s locals as the iconic elderly figure, nearly 100 years old, besides his Chi Ma Phu pot every morning. He has a deep passion for his small vendor and has been dedicated to his stall every single day for many years. It wasn't until he was over 100 years old that he finally decided to retire, passing down both his tea stall and the long-held "secret family recipe" to his wife, children, and grandchildren.
    • Address: Opposite to No. 118, Nguyen Truong To St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 06:00 – 09:00
    • Price range: 20.000 – 35.000 VND
    • Phone number: 0905 204 051

    - Che Co Nga

    At Co Nga's stall, you can enjoy a variety of affordable desserts such as lotus seed Che, corn, green bean, red bean, black sesame, sweetened pomelo peel, tofu pudding, and clear tapioca cake. Despite being a small dessert stall located on the sidewalk, it always attracts a large crowd of customers.


    • Address: No. 36, Bach Dang St., Hoi An
    • Opening time: 16:00 – 21:00
    • Price range: 10.000 – 20.000 VND

    - Che Co Hiep

    Co Hiep's stall is situated right on the sidewalk, boasting a rustic and simple style. The flavors of their dishes tend to be refreshing and mildly sweet, allowing you to enjoy several servings without feeling overwhelmed. The two friendly and affectionate sellers often attract many tourists to stop by.
    • Address: No. 24, Le Loi St., Hoi An.
    • Opening time: 15:00 – 23:00
    • Price range: 10.000 – 20.000 VND


    Hoi An’s velvety, rich, flavorful dessert
    Mr. Thieu introduced Chi Ma Phu to the people of Hoi An and continued selling it until he was 100 years old, passing down the tradition to his daughter

    XI. Final words

    Hoi An may be a small city, yet they have it all, from its enchanting lantern-lit streets and ancient architecture to its warm and welcoming people and diverse culinary scene. The list of Hoi An's delicacies seems endless, with a blend of unique local dishes and influences from afar. To truly experience everything this charming city has to offer, why not book a ticket for this summer and embark on a culinary adventure?
    Interested in learning more about Vietnam and planning your next vacation? Visit us at VietnamStay's website here to discover insider tips and recommendations for an unforgettable trip.
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