For over five centuries, Hoi An has served as an intercontinental port city, creating a unique blend of cultures that is seen in its architecture, handicrafts, and cuisine. Hoi An has mastered the art of adapting and innovating, embracing elements it appreciates from various influences and infusing them with an authentic Vietnamese touch. This is shown very clearly in the cuisine, especially Hoi An dishes.
Hoi An has become an ideal destination for food lovers – there are endless opportunities to stroll through the golden-yellow lanes of the Old Town, indulging in the local cuisine of its street food stalls. The city serves a wide selection of delectable dishes. However, some specialties must be tried in order to fully experience Hoi An cuisine that any traveler would be remiss not to try. So, let’s explore these 4 must-try Hoi An dishes with Go Travel!
Bánh Mì Hội An (Vietnamese Baguette Sandwich)
Although the French baguette may be the progenitor of the bánh mì, the Vietnamese bread has evolved into a legend in its own way. Although “bánh mì” literally means “bread,” a bánh mì is a sandwich that can be filled with anything from grilled meat or sausage to fried eggs. Many diverse bánh mì variants exist, and various bánh mì vendors each have their own specialties. No matter what filling is used in the sandwich, the bánh mì is smeared with pate, fresh and pickled veggies, butter, and sweet chili sauce. The baguette is provided in a lightweight paper takeaway bag and can be toasted or grilled. Bánh mì is a massively popular breakfast, lunch, and snack for Vietnamese people and foreign visitors alike because they are so cheap, easy-to-bring, and consistently good. Among Hoi An dishes, this is probably the most well-known dish.
Banh Mi Phuong and Madam Khanh – The Queen of Banh Mi, stand out as the best bánh mì destinations, conveniently situated within a short stroll from the riverside, the central Old Town market, and in close proximity to each other.
Cao Lầu (Pork Rice Noodle)
Cao lầu, a specialty of Hoi An dishes, presents a rice noodle dish that stands apart from its counterparts like bún or phở. The distinction lies in the unique process: Cao lầu rice noodles are steeped in a blend of lye water and wood ash, resulting in a pleasantly robust and elastic texture. To be authentic, Cao lầu noodles are traditionally crafted using water sourced from the Ba Le well and ash obtained from trees on Cham island. It’s improbable that modern Hoi An eateries adhere strictly to this traditional method. Even so, due to Cao lầu’s distinct reliance on local ingredients, it’s a rarity to encounter this dish beyond the city limits. So, make sure not to let this chance slip away during your visit.
Chewy rice noodles are presented in a dense sauce accompanied by marinated, roasted pork. The deep, smoky flavors are skillfully counterbalanced by the delicate tones of crisp lettuce, pork skin croutons, and a medley of crunchy bean sprouts and greens.
Cơm Gà Hoi An (Hoi An Chicken Rice)
Southeast Asia is where the Hainanese chicken and rice originated, and there are variations of the traditional dish in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, where it is simply referred to as “cơm gà” or chicken rice Known as cơm gà Hoi An, the meal is particularly well-liked in Hoi An.
Shredded chicken is combined with onions or scallions to make a delicious cơm gà Hoi An dish. In addition to salad greens and herbs like coriander and mint, the shredded chicken is served on top of spiced yellow rice that has been cooked in chicken broth and turmeric. The combination of sticky yellow rice, glossy broiled chicken, and crunchy fresh green veggies creates a visually appealing comfort food that is robust but not overly heavy and fills the stomach and the soul.
You can find the finest Hoi An chicken rice at Cơm Gà Bà Buội, located at 22 Phan Chu Trinh. Although this traditional meal is served in an abundance of places, this eatery stands out. Ba Buoi spent the latter part of the 20th century preparing Hoi An chicken rice at a market stall. More than 60 years later, her heritage is carried up by her two grandchildren, who have improved the recipe and extended her business to open a restaurant where the cơm gà still has the same flavor.
Derived from its young inventor’s name, “nước Mót” translates to “Mot water,” yet it’s essentially a variety of herbal tea. Infused with an array of herbs such as ginger, lemongrass, cinnamon, licorice, and lemon, as well as green tea, chamomile, and monk fruit, nước Mót is recognized for its health advantages. This extra medicinal value is a fortunate aspect, as the drink is refreshingly addictive.
After enjoying Hoi An dishes, you cannot ignore one of the most famous drinks here. Make a quick visit to enjoy a refreshing nước Mót, which can cool you down on a hot day in Hoi An or provide warmth to your bones during a damp and chilly winter. Named after Mr. Mot, this beverage has evolved from a street vendor to a cozy indoor establishment with seating. Yet, many still opt for take-out. Get yourself a nước Mót to takeaway and carry on exploring the city’s alleys or unwinding by the river, sipping the drink adorned with a pink lotus petal for added ambiance.