Hoi An is one of the most popular spots to visit in Vietnam. The town has become well known for its ancient yellow buildings and lantern-lit streets, not to mention the abundance of tailors creating artisan items. But did you know that Hoi An is also a foodie paradise? There are many famous Vietnamese dishes that can only be found in Hoi An. Here are 5 things you need to eat in Hoi An.
1️⃣ Cao Lau Noodles
Undoubtedly the most well-known thing you need to eat in Hoi An is cao lầu. As noted in an article on Afar “You can’t take cao lau out of Hoi An, nor can you take the Hoi An out of cao lau”. Cao lau is a local Hoi An noodle dish, not found anywhere else in Vietnam as the noodles can only be made with lye water from a local well. Cao lau noodles are thicker than normal rice noodles and topped with pork, herbs, a little fragrant broth and rice crackers. This light and crunchy noodle dish is a favourite of most visitors to Vietnam.
📍 Cao lầu can be found just about everywhere in Hoi An.
2️⃣ White Rose Dumplings
White rose dumplings, in Vietnamese bánh bao bánh vạc, are a famous local dish. So-called for the way that the white rice-dough falls into a rose-like shape when they are steamed, these local dumplings are filled with shrimp or pork and topped with crispy garlic.
There is only 1 family that supplies all the white rose dumplings in Hoi An. Apparently, the recipe has been carefully guarded for 3 generations. The family has its own restaurant where you can try white rose dumplings, but they also supply many other restaurants in Hoi An with their fresh-made dumplings.
White Rose Restuarant 📍 533 Hai Bà Trưng, Phường Cẩm Phổ, Hội An, Quảng Nam
3️⃣ Mót Herbal Tea
In the ancient city of Hoi An, one little herbal tea stand has become very popular; Mót Hội An. This refreshing herbal tea is made with lemongrass and decorated with lotus petals. It is very aesthetic and regarded as the quintessential drink to accompany an evening stroll around the ancient city.
Mót Hội An 📍 150 Trần Phú, Phường Minh An, Hội An, Quảng Nam
4️⃣ Banh Mi
It’s a bit random that Hoi An has become known for its banh mi’s, but I think a lot of that has to do with food guru Anthony Bourdain claiming Banh Mi Phuong as his favourite banh mi in Vietnam. Banh mi’s are french style baguettes (introduced to Vietnam during the colonial days) filled with pate, mayo, chilli, cheese, pickled veggies and meat/eggs of your choosing. They’re a staple of Vietnamese life.
I prefer the banh mi’s from Phi Banh Mi (his special banh mi includes avocado and it is the perfect addition) so check him out, and another frequented banh mi in Hoi An is Madam Khanh.
Banh Mì Phuong 📍 2b Phan Chu Trinh
Phi Banh Mi 📍 88 Thái Phiên
Madam Khanh – The Banh Mi Queen 📍 115 Trần Cao Vân
5️⃣ Hoi An Chicken and Rice
Another dish you need to eat in Hoi An is the Hoi An-style chicken and rice. While chicken and rice (cơm gà) can be found all over Vietnam, the Hoi An dish is very different. Hoi An-style chicken is boiled, shredded and seasoned with herbs. The chicken is served with yellow rice, an unusual way to find rice in Vietnam. The rice is yellow from turmeric and cooked in chicken broth to give it more flavour.
Planning a Trip to Hoi An
Hoi An is a must on most Vietnam itineraries, loved for its ancient streets and monthly lantern festival. If Hoi An is in your plans, be sure to also explore the nearby beach-lined city of Da Nang, as it offers a modern perspective on the region with lots of things to see and do. For more details on planning a trip to Hoi An, including places to stay and things to do, check out these posts: