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

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!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, all marked with * Booking through these links generates a small commission for me at no extra cost to you.

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.

For more information on planning a trip to Hoi An, check out my Hoi An Travel Guide.

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.

food to eat in hoi an cao lao noodles best food in 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

food to eat in hoi an mot herbal tea best food in vietnam

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.

food to eat in hoi an banh mi best food in vietnam

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.

Banh Xeo

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!

best food to eat in Hoi An central Vietnam mi quang noodles

Mi Quang

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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food to eat in hoi an vietnam things to do travel guide cao lau
food to eat in hoi an vietnam things to do travel guide cao lau

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.

✍️ Things to do in Hoi An
✍️ 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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