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  • Writer's pictureTravel Vietnam Local Guide

Hoi An Culinary Delights: Exploring the Top 10 Must-Try Dishes

Updated: May 24

Hoi An's awesome food scene has picked up flavors from China, France, and Japan over the years, but it still keeps its own local twist with tasty recipes and fresh ingredients. You gotta check out the street food—it's iconic and budget-friendly, serving up classic dishes that hit the spot. If you're into food culture, why not sign up for a foodie tour or cooking class while you're here? Or just wing it and make your own foodie adventure! Here's the scoop on the top 10 must-try dishes!

01 Cao Lau Hoi An (pork rice noodles)

cao lau pork rice noodles hoi an
Cao lau Hoian (pork rice noodles) (Source: Internet)

Cao lau is a famous noodle specialty that originated in Hoi An, boasting a delightful blend of Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese influences. This iconic dish features thick Japanese udon-like noodles, succulent pieces of roasted pork reminiscent of Chinese char siu, fresh greens, crunchy beansprouts, and crispy croutons, all bathed in the unique Hoi An-style sauce. Locals often enhance the flavors by mixing cao lau with lime juice, Vietnamese chili paste, and freshly sliced chili. It's a mouthwatering representation of Hoi An's culinary fusion.

Try it:

  • Cao Lầu bà Bé: 1 Trần Phú, Cẩm Châu

  • Quán Cao Lầu Thanh: 26 Thái Phiên, Phường Minh An

  • Morning Glory Original: 106 Nguyễn Thái Học, Phường Minh An

  • Ong Hai (Mr. Hai Restaurant): 6A Trương Minh Lượng, Cẩm Châu

02 Banh uot thit nuong Hoi An (grilled pork spring rolls)

banh uot thit nuong hoian (grilled pork spring rolls)
Banh uot thit nuong Hoian (grilled pork spring rolls) (Source: Internet)

Another delicious way to enjoy Hoi An's ubiquitous street food is by wrapping grilled meat skewers with wet cake. The meat is marinated in a tantalizing mix of spicy powder, pepper, lemongrass, shallot, rice wine, and honey, then skewered onto bamboo sticks and grilled over charcoal. Once cooked to perfection, the aromatic meat is wrapped in moist rice papers along with fragrant herbs, pickles, and tangy slices of star fruit. The perfect accompaniment? A thick and spicy dipping sauce made with soybean paste, peanuts, and chilies. With every bite, you'll be enchanted by the fabulous fusion of flavors.

Try it:

  • Ba Le Well Restaurant: 51 Trần Hưng Đạo, Phường Minh An

  • Sidewalk stalls next to Kazik Park: 13 Trần Phú, Cẩm Châu

  • Bà Hường: 31 Tiểu La, Phường Minh An

03 Mi Quang Hoi An (Quang noodles)

mi quang hoian (Quang noodles)
Mi Quang Hoian (Quang noodles) (Source: Internet)

Mi Quang is a special noodle dish hailing from Quang Nam Province, which includes Hoi An. A classic bowl features flat rice noodles, a touch of bone broth, slices of pork, beef or chicken, shrimp, and quail eggs. To amp up the flavors, you can add rice crackers, fresh veggies, and a medley of herbs like basil, peanuts, mint, and coriander. It's a flavor-packed delight unique to Central Vietnam.

Try it:

  • Mì Quảng Dì Hát: 81 Phan Chu Trinh, Phường Minh An

  • Mì Quảng Ông Hai - Mr. Hai Noodles: 6A Trương Minh Lượng, Cẩm Châu

  • Mì Quảng Hát: 4 Phan Chu Trinh, Phường Minh An

04 Com Ga Hoi An (chicken rice)

com ga hoian (chicken rice)
Com ga Hoian (chicken rice) (Source: Internet)

In Hoi An, locals prepare their chicken rice by using seasoned pilaf rice and tender shredded poached chicken as the main ingredients. They complement these with an assortment of salads made from shredded green papaya, carrots, onions, and fresh herbs to suit the Vietnamese palate.

The dish is further enhanced with a combination of rubbery hard-boiled egg yolk, chicken broth, soy sauce, and chili jam. The fragrant rice is cooked with poached chicken broth, turmeric, and pandan leaves over a wooden stove, resulting in a tantalizing golden yellow hue.

Try it:

  • Cơm Gà Bà Buội: 22 Phan Chu Trinh, Phường Minh An

  • Hoi An chicken rice: 47/2 Tran Hung Dao

05 Banh hoa hong trang Hoi An (white rose dumpling)

banh hoa hong trang hoian (white rose dumpling)
Banh hoa hong trang Hoian (white rose dumpling) (Source: Internet)

They call it "white rose" simply because it looks like one. These steamed dumplings boast chewy rice wrappers stuffed with juicy shrimp, minced pork, and mushrooms. Chefs plate them up with a sprinkle of crispy shallots and green onions, then serve them with a zesty mix of fish sauce, chili, and sugar on the side.

Try it:

  • Bong Hong Trang Restaurant - 533 Hai Ba Trung Street, Cam Pho Ward, Hoi An City

06 Banh mi Hoi An

banh mi hoian
Banh mi Hoian (Source: Internet)

Like everywhere in Vietnam, you can grab this staple sandwich from street stalls all over Hoi An. While bánh mì is everywhere, the late Anthony Bourdain, American chef and travel journalist, hailed the ones from Bánh Mì Phượng as the best in town.

Try it:

  • Bánh Mì Phượng: 2B Phan Chu Trinh, Cẩm Châu

  • Madam Khanh - The Banh Mi Queen: 115 Trần Cao Vân, Phường Minh An

07 Banh Beo Hoi An (water fern cake)

banh beo hoian (water fern cake)
Banh beo Hoian (water fern cake) (Source: Internet)

Banh beo is a delightful small steamed rice cake topped with an orange sauce made from dried shrimp, ground pork, scallions, oil, and rice vinegar. To add even more flavor, it's finished with a drizzle of fish sauce and crispy fried shallots. Typically served in a round tray with five tiny cups, vendors provide flat teaspoons for easy scooping. It's a savory treat that's as delicious as it is convenient to enjoy.

Try it:

  • Bà Bảy (Aunt Bay's Banh Beo) - 2 Hoang Van Thu Street (on the corner of the old wall), Hoi An City

08 Wonton in Hoi An

Wonton hoian
Wonton Hoian (Source: Internet)

Wonton, often dubbed as Hoi An pizza (Hoanh thanh chien in Vietnamese), was originally brought by Chinese traders and adapted to suit local preferences. The Hoi An version features deep-fried wontons without the wrapping, topped with a flavorful mix of shrimp, minced pork, onions, vegetables, and various spices, akin to a salsa. To balance out the richness, they're typically dipped in a blend of chili sauce, soy sauce, and vinegar. It's a delicious fusion of flavors that satisfies both locals and visitors alike.

Try it:

  • Van Loc Restaurant - 27 Tran Phu Street, Minh An Ward, Hoi An City

09 Banh xeo Hoi An (Vietnamese pancake)

banh xeo hoian (Vietnamese pancake)
Banh xeo Hoian (Vietnamese pancake) (Source: Internet)

Banh xeo, a cherished delicacy found throughout Vietnam, boasts a distinctive flavor in Hoi An. This savory and crispy crepe is crafted from deep-fried rice flour infused with coconut milk and turmeric spice powder. Topped generously with pork, prawns, onions, bean sprouts, garlic chives, and mushrooms, it's a flavor explosion.

To savor it the Vietnamese way, wrap the pancake in rice paper along with lettuce leaves and herbs, then dip it into fermented peanut sauce or fish sauce. Hoi An's banh xeo is typically smaller in size, making it easier to roll up. You can snag this delightful dish at roadside stalls, local markets, and street restaurants throughout Hoi An.

Try it:

  • Bánh Xèo Sông Hoài (Bánh Xèo Cô Anh) - 59/32, 18/8 Street, Minh An Ward, Hoi An City

10 Banh xoai Hoi An (mango cake)

banh xoai hoian (mango cake)
Banh xoai Hoian (mango cake) (Source: Internet)

Unlike the mango cakes in Nha Trang, Hoi An's mango cakes are a bit of a twist—they don't actually have mango in them! The name comes from their mango-like shape, but the ingredients are a bit different. Picture Japanese mochi covered in chewy sticky rice—that's the vibe. But inside, you'll find crushed peanuts mixed with sugar, giving it a soft and subtly sweet texture. These Banh Xoai treats are a favorite dessert in Hoi An, and you can snag them from street vendors all around the Old Town.

Try it:

  • The street-vendor stalls close to the Japanese bridge

  • Hoi An Market - 19 Tran Phu Street, Cam Chau Ward, Hoi An City

Special thing: For tourists seeking an immersive cultural experience, joining a cooking class in Hoi An presents an unrivaled opportunity to delve into the secrets of Vietnamese cuisine.

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