Hoi An Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.
The town is home to some 88,000 people and even though it is small it attracts many tourists, also being a well established place on the backpacker trail. Many visit for the numerous art and craft shops and tailors, who produce made-to-measure clothes for a fraction of what they would cost in the west.
There are many popular nightspots and several internet cafés, bars and restaurants have opened along the riverfront. Lying just a few kilometres inland, Hoi An packs in lots of affordable accommodation, budget shopping, authentic eating experiences, and interesting sights which are best explored on foot.
Close by is the fascinating ruins of My Son, as well as Cua Dai Beach and China Beach – the latter which are popular for beach activities like windsurfing, snorkelling, swimming and sunbathing. The city of Hoi An is one of the quietest in Vietnam. Cars are not allowed in the main streets and, unlike in the rest of the country, motorcycles do not blow their horns all the time.
Hoi An has no airport, and no train station either. The only way to get there is by road. You can hire a taxi from the neighbouring city of Da Nang, which does have an airport with daily flights from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other large Vietnamese cities. There’s also a train station in Da Nang, and bus services are plentiful. We have a wide selection of hotels for you to choose from in both Cua Dai Beach and Hoi An City, whatever suits your pocket and style and the selection is wide – from the five-star Palm Garden Resort Hoi An to simpler accommodation choices such as the Phuoc An Hotel.
Hoi An attracts millions of visitors every year to its centuries-old relics, nights that are magically lit up by hand-made lanterns, and gentle activities like cruising on the Hoai River that flows through it.
1. Chicken rice
The best cooks use free-range chickens raised in countryside gardens, not the industrial factory-style birds. Poultry raised in the gardens is stronger and more springy, with a far richer flavor than the soggy stuff produced in “industrial agriculture” facilities. While westerners often prefer fattier, more tender chicken meat, Vietnamese birds considered the best for eating are often smaller with dense, muscular meat. The trick of the recipe is to skilfully make the chicken pieces smell fragrant and spicy without loosening the meat.
Where to try Chicken rice in Hoi An?
Ms Buoi 22 Phan Chau Trinh
7. Cao Lau
Cao Lau is the foremost traditional food in Hoi An. Visitors to Hoi An always remember Cao Lau, which was considered by the Quang Nam people as a special symbol representing Hoi An. Cao Lau does not taste like any other Vietnamese dish, but nobody can really recognize it as being comparable to Chinese or Japanese cuisine. Despite its Chinese-like appearance, the Chinese people don’t consider it to be Chinese food. Until now, the origin of Cao Lau is still enveloped mystery.
Where to try Cao Lau in Hoi An?
One of the best places for cao lau is a food stall named Ba Be in a market opposite Ong Temple.
Trung Bac Restaurant at 87 Tran Phu is also said to sell original cao lau.
3. Banh bao – banh vac
The famous dish actually consists of two kinds of steamed rice dumplings.
Banh vac is filled with ground shrimp, garlic, spring onion, lemon grass, and spices. Banh bao, on the other hand, has minced pork and mushrooms as the main fillings.
The dish is served with a dipping sauce made from shrimp broth.
Where to try this food in Hoi An?
For the best dumplings, you have to visit Bong Hong Trang (White Rose) on Nhi Trung Street, where you can also see how the trademark dish is made.
4. Banh dap
Banh dap is perhaps one of the simplest foods in Hoi An’s cuisine, but its contradictory textures easily makes the biggest impression on foreigners.
Banh dap is actually a combination of two kinds of rice papers, one white, thin and kind of sticky and the other, dry, crispy and brittle.
Where to try Banh dap in Hoi An?
A good eatery to check out the special pancake is Ba Gia, which is located in Hamlet 1, Cam Nam Commune.
5. Banh beo
“Bánh Bèo” is very popular in the middle of Viet Nam and it is also a special local food in Hội An. Tourists arriving in Hoi An not only enjoy the beautiful scenery, but also enjoy the special foods. Enjoying food is also a culinary art and more importantly, local food also expresses the culture and traditions of the different regions, where you have ever visited.
Where to try it?
1. Aunt Tai’s “Bánh Bèo cart”: Ly Thuong Kiet, Ngo Gia Tu, Tran Hung Dao and on Nguyen Hue street.
2. Aunt Bay’s is at the corner of the old wall on Hoang Van Thu street.
7. “Bánh Bèo Rừng” is at 17 Dinh Tien Hoang street (near Tan An market)
6. Banh cuon(wet pancake rolled)
"Bánh cuốn" ia common dish at restaurants in Hoi An. You should check out street stalls along the Hoai river.
6. Banh xeo
“Banh xeo” is eaten hot in the cold season. Walking along this street, people cannot help hearing the joyful sound of the cooking and the flavor of this dish coming out of the restaurant kitchens, which makes it hard to resist the temptation of walking into one of the restaurants along the street to enjoy this delicious banh xeo.
7. Hoanh thanh
Hoanh thanh is popular dish in Hoi An. Like in many other places, hoanh thanh there is served with soup, with or without noodles or deep-fried.
You can get good Hoanh thanh at Van Loc eatery at 27 Tran Phu street or eatery at 27 Thai Phien street.
8. Quang Noodles
Literally translated as Quang (Quang Nam)-styled noodles, mi Quang is popular around the country, even among foreigners.
It is recognizable with its thin, flat rice noodles glazed with a mixture of peanut oil fried with onion and usually yellow broth.
They also recommend a street stall on Nguyen Hue Street, saying it sells the dish in its original version known as mi Quang Phu Chiem. The dish is named after a Quang Nam village believed to be its birthplace.
9. Che Bap(sweet corn pudding)
Sweet corn pudding dessert topped with coconut sauce, served cold. Sweet corn is a very common dessert component throughout Asia and its naturally sugary profile makes us wonder why it doesn’t have the same designation back home.
Where to try:
A good eatery to check out the special food in Hamlet 1, Cam Nam Commune.