If there’s one city that’s absolute heaven for food lovers, it’s Hoi An. With a French influence in many of the dishes here, the food is fragrant and full of flavour. You’re sure to see a lot of tempting things here but there’s some classic Hoi An dishes that you simply have to try.
From steaming chicken noodle soups to crispy savoury pancakes and frothy coffees, here’s the essential dishes to try in Vietnam. Happy feasting!
The traditional dishes in Hoi An you need to eat
Probably one of the most famous dishes in Hoi An, pho is a steaming noodle soup dish that’s traditionally eaten for breakfast. It’s made with rice noodles, bone broth and plenty of fresh herbs. You then add chilli, limi and hoisin sauce to taste. You can either get Pho Ga (chicken) or Pho Bo (beef).
2. Banh Beo
This tasty snack originally comes from Hue, a city in Central Vietnam, but you can also find it in Hoi An. It’s small, thin rice paper ‘pancakes’ that come piled high with chopped up shrimp, scallions, mung bean, fried shallots, and fish sauce.
3. Mango Cake (banh xoai)
You will see these tasty cakes at the markets, sidewalks and street corners all over Hoi An. Don’t be fooled by the name – there’s actually no mango in this cake! It’s so-called because of its shape. It’s glutinous rice with sugar and crushed peanuts on the inside and is an unusually delicious treat.
4. Bánh mì
All bow down to the mighty bánh mì. You’ll see banh mi stalls over the country, serving this simple-yet-delicious sandwich. This is where the French influence comes into play: it’s a soft, fresh baguette, with pate, pork, fresh herbs, pickle carrots and chilli.
It’s the perfect snack for breakfast, lunch or dinner and is perfect drunk/hangover food. Be sure to visit the famous Anthony Bourdain Banh Mi stall in Hoi An.
5. Banh Xeo
This famous street food is a crispy Vietnamese take on a savoury pancake. The batter is a mix of rice flour and coconut milk with turmeric. They then fill it with pork strips, shrimp, bean sprouts and spring onion and fry it to perfection. There’s a certain way to eat ban xeo: you place a piece of it on a rice paper roll, add fresh veggies and dip it into sauce after each bite.
6. White Rose dumplings
Another local Hoi An dish, you can try these delicate dumplings that look like white roses, hence the name. They fill the translucent white dough with spicy mince shrimp or pork and gently steam the dumplings. They come topped with crispy shallot and a tangy dipping sauce.
Be sure to sure to eat this when you’re in Hoi An!
7. Cao Lau noodles
This hearty noodle dish is native to Hoi An, where lye water from a nearby well is used to make the noodles. You can’t really eat it anywhere else in Vietnam because of this.
It comes topped with slices of barbecue pork, pork crackling, bean sprouts, lettuce and herbs, and crispy deep fried squares of those tasty noodles.