Most people come to Hoi An for its fairytale-like sight, which is the loving child of a rustic, yet romantic, architecture, and a well-preserved history that's woven into each brick. However, many people aren’t aware that Hoi An also has a moreish cuisine that derives from Central Vietnam’s culture. Here are our top picks for Hoi An street food so that you won’t miss this magical side of the town.
Anthony Bourdain praised Banh Mi Phuong as the most delicious banh mi in the world
Nothing starts off our Hoi An street food list better than banh mi - a dish that needs no introduction. It’s a stable Vietnamese breakfast, consisting of a small baguette, pâté, pork sausage, ham, vegetables, mayonnaise, and pickled carrots and daikons.
Banh mi is full of flavors: salty, sour, fatty, umami, and sweet, and it’s easy to carry around. Especially at Banh Mi Phuong and Banh Mi Madam Khanh, the filling to twice the usual portion, so their banh mi is much more satisfying.
You can’t find cao lau anywhere in Vietnam but Hoi An
Even though cao lau isn’t an original Hoi An street food, eating cao lau has now become an unmissable thing to do in Hoi An. There are pork slices, herbs, a little bit of water, and the most special ingredient - rice noodles. Rice noodles for cao lau in Hoi An is made from rice soaked with burnt wood ashes, giving it the signature yellow hue and a firm, silky texture.
Banh bao - banh vac is a light Hoi An street food that won’t make you too full
These are two similar dishes which are often served together. “Banh bao” means baozi, and “banh vac” goes under a beautiful moniker: white rose. “Banh bao” in Hoi An is different from the usual bao buns. Like “banh vac”, it is a dumpling-like food made from rice flour wrapping filled with shrimp or meat. When steamed, the wrap becomes milky white, almost transparent, which gives the dish the nickname “white rose”. As with cao lau, this is a Hoi An street food that you can’t find anywhere else in Vietnam.
Some say that Hoi An fried wontons are the Vietnamese version of nachos
Hoi An street food is heavily influenced by Chinese cuisine, hence don’t be surprised to taste the Chinese sweet and sour sauce on this affordable delicacy. The sauce combines with freshly chopped tomatoes, and parsley then goes on top of fried wonton wrappers. Being sour, sweet, crispy, and light, fried wontons are a must-try Hoi An street food for a quick snack.
Recommendation: White Rose Restaurant (533 Hai Ba Trung Street, Hoi An): VND 100,000
You can easily find com ga in Hoi An thanks to its popularity
Again, this is another famed Hoi An street food that didn’t originate from Hoi An. Yet the locals have given it so much love and delicious changes that when we think of chicken rice in Vietnam, we think of the city. Com ga Hoi An combines rice cooked in chicken broth and turmeric, which gives the dish a yellow color, shredded chicken, and fresh herbs. Simple yet fulfilling, chicken rice will make you full without making a dent in your wallet.
Recommendation: Com Ga Ba Buoi (22 Phan Chau Trinh Street, Hoi An): VND 35,000
Banh khot is famous in the South and Central Vietnam
Banh khot is more well-known in Southern Vietnam, but it’s also a common Hoi An street food. Try banh khot trung cut (banh khot with quail eggs); crispy on the outside but creamy on the inside, this variation won’t disappoint your taste buds.
Recommendation: Banh Can Co Tuat (opposite 128B Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hoi An): VND 10,000 - VND 50,000
Grab nuoc mot for a quick cool down while strolling through Hoi An Ancient Town
Nuoc mot is a herbal tea brewed from lemongrass, cinnamon, honeysuckle, lemon, arhat fruit,..., that smells great and tastes even better. It’s also said to have detoxifying effects, and the rustic decoration looks picture-perfect! If you’re going to get a drink, why not this Hoi An’s sensation?
Recommendation: Mot (150 Tran Phu Street, Hoi An): VND 10,000 - VND 15,000
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Hoi An street food is so varied and yummy that you can never get hungry! Apart from the abovementioned eateries, Hoi An has many famous food streets, where you can find inexpensive yet mouth-watering treats: Thai Phien, Tran Cao Van, Phan Chau Trinh,… to name a few.
Don’t have much time to spend in Hoi An? Look through this Hoi An 1-day Itinerary.
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© Written by Ngan Mai for itourvn.com