Updated: Feb 29
You want to explore one of the specialities of Vietnam. Don't forget to complete your trip with the list of must-try foods in Hoi An.
Vietnamese cuisine is one of the most curious things in the world that travelers should try at least one time in their time. Cuisine from the Central Vietnam is different from that in the South or North. If you really want to explore Vietnamese cuisine, don't forget these must-try foods in Hoi An. Hoi An is supposed to be one of the food paradise where people can try the difference of some Vietnamese food and the specialities of Hoi An. The food and beverage are diversified and you can try them at restaurants or on streets. Here is the list of some restaurants and food you should try if you choose Hoi An for your stop in Central Vietnam.
Must-try foods in Hoi An - Cao Lau (Hoi An secret noodles)
Why is this a secret of Hoi An? As it is hard to be made anywhere else. According to people living there, making Cao Lau needs a complicated recipe and unique materials and ingredients. People have to go to a thousand-year-old well (Bá Lễ) in Hoi An to take water to make Cao Lau. The rice to make the noodles of Cao Lau must be soaked in ash water from Chàm island (Cù Lao Chàm). With the vegetables from Trà Quế organic vegetable village, Cao Lau makes its own unique. What a complicated procedure! However, Cao Lau is not named after its materials or ingredients. Cao Lau literally means high floor in English. In the past, people living in Hoi An had to mind their shops even while eating; therefore, they had to sit on high floor to do it. Hence, the dish was named after that event.
You can easily find Cao Lau everywhere in Hoi An, from the street vendors to restaurants and the price depends on where you try it. Among them, the restaurant highly recommended is Rau Muống Xanh Restaurant (Morning Glory Restaurant). Its address is 106 Nguyễn Thái Học, Minh An Ward, Hoi An. It is typically designed and styled like any restaurants around Hoi An. Take a seat there on the high floor, sightsee the ancient town and enjoy Cao Lau is a anything you need for your day.
Some foreigners find it hard to say the Vietnamese word “Mi Quang” and they say “Quang Noodles” instead; however, you should try as much as you can. As the term noodle in English cannot describe all the rice-made noodles in Vietnamese. So does Mi Quang. It is thicker and bigger than others with two main colors: white and yellow. It should be noted that Mi Quang in Central Vietnam is different from that in the South which has more water than. Toppings of Mi Quang can be pork, shrimp, chicken, quail eggs… but the most necessary toppings are peanuts and sesame rice crackers.
You can also find Mi Quang everywhere in Hoi An as it is one of the most famous dishes there. The price for one bowl of Mi Quang is around 20.000 VND to 70.000 VND depending on where you eat. One of the highly recommended restaurants is Ông Hai Restaurant located in 6A Trương Minh Lượng, Cẩm Châu Ward, Hội An.
Xí mà Hội An
Also known as Chè mè đen (black sesame sweet soup). It is one of the most famous desserts in Hoi An that you should try when traveling there. In the past when Chinese traders came to Hoi An, black sesame was imported from Fujian Province in China. Therefore, it is a traditional beverage of Hoi An too. This dessert is also believed to be good for health thanks to its ingredients like black sesame, coconut, Chinese herbal medicine, rice flour and sugar. As it is famous, you can find it everywhere from street vendors to restaurants’ desserts.
Mango cake is believed to be one of the must-try foods in Hoi An. Some might think this cake is made from mango; however, it completely has nothing to do with mango. The reason why it is named after mango is due to its shape. According to local farmers, its shape looks like mango seed so they call it mango cake, in Vietnamese - Bánh Xoài. The cake is shaped round and small with white color of sticky rice outside and peanuts and sugar inside. You can find it at some street vendors with a very cheap price, around 5.000 VND for one.
Bánh bèo is one of the most famous traditional foods of Central Vietnam; therefore, when you start your journey in the Central of Vietnam in general, find Bánh bèo and try this delicious dessert. People can eat directly by the bowls of Bánh bèo or put them in a dish mixed with its soup. The soup is made from dried or fresh shrimp, scallions, roasted peanuts, mung bean paste, fried shallots, and fish sauce. The difference of Bánh bèo in Hoi An is the dry topping made from deep-fried Cao Lau. One of the famous places to try it is Bánh bèo Bà Bảy (Aunt Bảy) located at the corner of an old wall on Hoàng Văn Thụ Street. One order includes three small bowls of Bánh bèo costing 15.000 VND.
What are you waiting for to explore this heaven of food? Of course this list cannot include other food and beverage in Hoi An, but these are the most unique cuisines of Hoi An that you cannot find anywhere else in the country. Let’s go and explore this food heaven by yourself and enjoy the taste of them while sightseeing the ancient town.
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