5 foods to eat in hoi an must try vietnamese food cao lau

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 AfarYou 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.

5 things to eat in Hoi An vietnam ancient city must try food guide cao lau2️⃣ 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

5 things to eat in Hoi An vietnam ancient city must try food guide mot herbal tea4️⃣ 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

5 things to eat in Hoi An vietnam ancient city must try food guide phi banh mi

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:

✍️ Hoi An Wanderlist
✍️ Hoi An Travel Guide
✍️ Self-guided bicycle tour of the Hoi An countryside

Meet Frances; Scottish lass turned Vietnam expat, and creator of this space. She can be found sippin’ ice tea’s and writing about her adventures from her sunny base of Saigon, Vietnam’s southern metropolis. All with a healthy side of researching her next road trip. With 5 years of living, travelling and scooting around Asia under her belt – let Frances be your guide to travelling the region.


  • Long Nguyen

    April 4, 2022

    Wow that Cao Lau noodles looks delicious!!! Im 33 and cant believe i never been in Vietnam. In November i bought some tickets for feb 2020, then covid came and had to cancel…. May 2022 i will be flying down to Vietnam from Norway for the first time!!!! So exited! =)

  • Lawrence Wright

    July 23, 2022

    Loving reading through your travel blog and all the fantastic place in Vietnam! As a massive foodie (I would love to try authentic Banh Mi) and someone whose dream is to visit South East Asia particularly Vietnam I am depressed that my nut and peanut allergy probably makes it incredibly hard. I was just wondering if you had any advice on if its even possible or are nuts and peanuts too much a part of the culture that it will be hard to get by travelling for a month.


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