Vietnam is world-renowned for its delicious food, and Hoi An is no exception as it’s home to some of the best foods to eat in Vietnam. This guide shares 5 unique dishes and drinks to try in Hoi An.
Hoi An is one of the most popular spots to visit in Vietnam; with iconic yellow buildings, lantern-lit streets and world-renowned tailors it’s not hard to see why. But did you know that Hoi An is also a foodie paradise?
Alongside the iconic Vietnamese dishes like pho, there are some unique Vietnamese dishes that can only be found in Hoi An. This guide shares 5 Hoi An favourites that you have to try during your trip, and where are the best places to eat them!
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.
How to get to Hoi An
Hoi An is easy to travel to thanks to its proximity to Da Nang, where you’ll find the international airport. A taxi from Da Nang should only cost around 400k, or you can take a shuttle bus for 140k and a public bus for 30k. Check out my Hoi An Travel Guide for more details.
Hoi An is also serviced by buses from nearby destinations, such as Quy Nhon, Nha Trang and Hue. The easiest way to book transport in advance is through Baolau* or Vexere, search engines that compare all travel options to find the best one for you.
Where to stay in Hoi An
Hoi An has no shortage of places to stay for all budgets. There are two main areas I recommend staying in Hoi An; just outside the ancient city (where taxis can drop you off, but still within easy walking distance) or near the beach (An Bang). I also recommend finding a hotel with free bicycle hire.
My favourite place to stay for its location near the ancient city and value for money is Thanh Van Hotel*. For backpackers looking to stay near the beach, Wanderlust* is a great option, with both private and dorm rooms.
Best Food to Eat in Hoi An
Now you know how to get to Hoi An and where to stay, let’s move on to the best food to eat in Hoi An! As I mentioned, the city is a popular place and perfect for foodies, with lots of high-quality dishes to be found. However, there are 5 meals that are unique to Hoi An that should be on your bucketlist to try during your trip!
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.
Where to find the best Cao Lau in Hoi An
Cao lầu can be found just about everywhere in Hoi An, but Trung Bac in the heart of the old city is renowned as one of the best. If you’re on a shoestring budget, the area by the riverside in the ancient city has street food vendors serving up budget bowls of cao lau.
Trung Bac 📍 87 Trần Phú, Phường Minh An, Hội An, Quảng Nam
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.
Where to eat White Rose Dumplings in Hoi An
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
5️⃣ Banh Mi
I have to agree with food guru Anthony Bourdain; the Hoi An has some of the best banh mi in Vietnam.
Banh mi’s are french style baguettes, introduced to during the colonial period, served with a twist of Vietnamese flavour. They are a staple of Vietnamese life, and something you need to try during your travels! The crunchy baguette rolls are filled with pate, mayo, chilli, cheese, pickled veggies and meat/eggs of your choosing.
Where to find the best banh mi in Hoi An
While Anthony Bourdain professed his love for the banh mi from Banh Mi Phuong, I have to admit that I prefer the banh mi from Phi Banh Mi (his special banh mi includes avocado and it is the perfect addition). Another frequented banh mi in Hoi An is Madam Khanh, nicknamed the “banh mi queen”.
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.
Where to eat Hoi An Chicken and Rice
The ancient city is dotted with many restaurants and vendors serving up Hoi An-style chicken and rice, but these are some of the best places to eat this food in Hoi An:
Long Cơm Gà 📍 16 Phan Chu Trinh, Phường Minh An, Hội An, Quảng Nam
Cơm Gà HÒA LÊ Hội An 📍 11 duong Cửa Đại, Hội An, Quảng Nam (near An Bang beach)
Com Ga Ba Buoi 📍 22 Phan Chu Trinh, Phường Minh An, Hội An, Quảng Nam (often busy)
Other food to eat in Hoi An
While the dishes mentioned above are specific to Hoi An, which you can’t try elsewhere, there are some other dishes that you should try while visiting the Quang Nam region of central Vietnam, called Banh Xeo and Mi Quang.
These crispy savoury pancakes are some of the best food in Vietnam. Cooked on a sizzling skillet, these taco-like crispy pancakes are stuffed with shrimp, pork and beansprouts. Best eaten wrapped in rice paper with salad leaves and herbs, then dipped into a sweet and spicy dipping sauce.
While banh xeo can be found all over Vietnam, they traditionally come from this region so it’s a great idea to try them while you’re here!
One of the most famous noodle dishes from the region around Hoi An is Mi Quang, a dry noodle dish, topped with meat, veggies, herbs, peanuts and crispy rice crackers. Normally there is a small amount of fragrant broth added. This dish is an all-time favourite of mine and Hoi An is the a great place to eat this food!
There you have it – 5 unique dishes to eat in Hoi An. I hope you’re hungry because it’s time to enjoy the amazing food in Hoi An!
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Planning a Trip to Hoi An
For more information on planning a trip to Vietnam, be sure to check out my Ultimate Vietnam Travel Guide which includes everything you need to know for travelling around the country.