10 Things We Ate (and Drank) in Hoi An, Vietnam

I have written more about food in Vietnam than any other destination we’ve been to thus far on our Round the World tour. Spending 5 days travelling in Hoi An meant we had more than enough time to try all the local specialities, returning to some of our favourites two or three times!

Here are ten things we ate (or drank) in Hoi An, Vietnam:

Mì Quảng

Hoi An Vietnam Mì Quảng
What We Ate in Hoi An | Mì Quảng

Mì Quảng is a local Vietnamese noodle dish that originated from the Quảng Nam region, the province that Hoi An is located in.    The most typical variation of Mi Quang is a bowl of thick and flat rice noodle, with pork, shrimp and a small quail’s egg, topped with peanuts and a rice cracker.  The dish is served with a small bit of broth (but not enough to call this a soup bowl) and a side of fresh greens. If you can find Mi Quang at a roadside stand or restaurant, chances are, they’ll serve Cao Lau as well (see below).

  • Expect to pay: 30,000VND (minimum) — prices range wildly depending on whether you are ordering this on the street, at a local eatery, or a restaurant with western standards.

Cao Lầu

Another Central Vietnamese dish, Cao Lầu is a noodle bowl made with rice noodles, pork, and local greens.

  • Expect to pay: 30,000VND (minimum) — prices range wildly depending on whether you are ordering this on the street, at a local eatery, or a restaurant with western standards.

Anthony Bourdain’s Bánh Mì

anthony bourdain hoi an banh mi
What We Ate in Hoi An | Banh Mi

Cheap, flavourful, and delicious, bánh mì is a Vietnamese baguette sandwich. In Hoi An, Bánh Mì Phượng is the restaurant made popular by its appearance on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations show.   The bánh mì here are made to order in a hectic and disorganized way, the same lady you order from also takes your money, and you can either wait outside for your order, or be pushed around by other customers also vying for a spot to watch the ladies assembling the bánh mì.  It’s the busiest restaurant on the block, there is always a line up outside (although it moves very quickly).  Despite the restaurant being overrun with tourists, I really enjoyed my barbecue meat bánh mì — I ended up eating here THREE times!

  • Expect to pay: 25,000VND

White Rose Dumplings

Hoi An White Rose Dumplings
What We Ate in Hoi An | White Rose Dumplings

White Rose Dumplings are a Hoi An specialty: prawn or pork dumplings wrapped in a translucent sticky rice dough and bunched up to resemble little white roses and often topped with crunchy dried shallots. The taste and style remind me of Chinese shrimp dumplings.  Although many restaurants and eateries in Hoi An serves this on their menu, the original creator of the White Rose Dumplings is from White Rose Restaurant. The restaurant only serves two items, these dumplings and the Hoi An Pizza (see below).  I would recommend coming here for the dumplings as an appetizer, then moving on to somewhere else for a proper dinner.

  • Expect to pay: 70,000VND (overpriced!) for a plate of 10 dumplings

Hoi An Pizza / Fried Wonton

Hoi An Pizza
What We Ate in Hoi An | Hoi An Pizza

At White Rose Restaurant, the only other thing they serve on their menu is Hoi An Pizza (also known as “Fried Wonton”) which has onions and prawn in a tomato-like sweet and sour sauce on top of a  round, crispy wonton wrapper cut into four slices (like a pizza).  Can’t say this was my favourite, I didn’t think the flavour was balanced and the sweet and sour sauce tasted like something you’d get at a cheap Asian fast food restaurant.  I saw similar offerings on the streets of Hoi An but didn’t try again.  In my opinion, there are way better things to eat in Hoi An than this!

  • Expect to pay: 100,000VND (overpriced!) at White Rose Restaurant, but you can find it for much cheaper on the street.

Lotus Flower Iced Tea from Mót Hội An

Herbal Iced Tea from Mót Hội An Vietnam
What We Drank in Hoi An | Herbal Iced Tea from Mót Hội An

On the main pedestrian street in Hoi An (Tran Phu Street), there’s an eatery and cafe named Mót Hội An, which is best known for their iced herbal drinks for sale in a big pot from over a dozen herbs and spices including lotus flower, ginger, and lemongrass.  The tea is scooped into a plastic cup of ice, and topped with a flower petal and leaf. This is a sweet and refreshing, Instagram-worthy drink which is perfect for cooling down on a hot day.

  • Expect to Pay: 10,000VND for a small cup to go

Coconut Coffee

Coconut Coffee Phin Cafe Hoi An
What We Drank in Hoi An | Coconut Coffee from Phin Coffee

A Vietnamese speciality, iced coconut coffee is an espresso-based coffee drink made with coconut cream and condensed milk.  It tastes like a coconut-flavoured frappuchino.  The presentation is pretty cool as well, usually a thick dollop of whipped coconut cream topping the coffee beverage.  I’ve only tried the iced version, but it seems like you can order it hot as well.

  • Expect to pay: 40,000VND at a modern cafe.
  • Try this at: Phin Cafe or at Roast Coffee & Bakery, or Hoi An Roastery, the “Starbucks of Hoi An” — pretty much every cafe we went to serves this on the menu.

Mango Sticky Cake

Eating in Hoi An Mango Cake
What We Ate in Hoi An | Mango Cake

“Mango” Cake is made with mochi-like sticky rice on the outside, with a crushed peanut and sugar filling. I was surprised that there’s actually no mango in mango cake. Apparently it’s only called that because the oval shape of the cake looks like a mango seed.  You can find these randomly on the street, sold by little Vietnamese ladies.

  • Expect to pay: 10,000VND each, cheaper if you buy multiples.

Banana Pancake

For a sweet crepe-like snack that’s great for sharing, try a made to order banana pancake.  Batter is poured onto a sizzling hot pan, cooked with sliced banana wrapped inside.

  • Expect to pay: 30,000VND

Rolled Ice Cream

Hoi An Rolled Ice Cream
What We Ate in Hoi An | Rolled Ice Cream

This is more of a performance than a traditional delicacy, but at the Hoi An night market (and most of Vietnam) you’ll see ice cream being made on the street. The novelty is watching them make the ice cream fresh from ice and milk, then seeing them roll into rolls.   I like how you can see them using fresh fruit to make the ice cream. The taste is creamy, but not super flavourful or overly sweet.

  • Expect to pay: 35,000VND
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1 Comment

  1. You are speaking my language! Everything looks and sounds so delicious, especially those white rose dumplings! Can’t wait to go to Vietnam and try it all for myself!

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