Hoi An is a beautiful city located in the Central Vietnam. Moreover, the Hoi An Ancient Town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The ancient town is situated a long the Thu Bon River, which allowed a lot of Chinese and Japanese brought goods to Vietnam for business. They left an incredible legacy, such as Japanese merchant houses, Chinese temples and ancient warehouses, which bestowed the town a touch of various cultures. As Hoi An used to be a cultural melting pot, it reflected on their cuisines as well.
Madam Khanh The Banh My Queen
115 Trần Cao Vân, Sơn Phong, tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Madam Khanh, as known as the Banh Mi Queen, probably makes the best banh mi in Hoi An, and has been selling it for nearly 50 years. There’s only one thing on the menu, and with the option of with or without chili. This food stall is located approximately 15 minutes north of the Thu Bon river, and hidden in a less touristy part of the city. It could be a bit off the way, but it has won the heart of both locals and tourists.
We ordered one with chili, and one without. The banh mi consists of a layer of pâté, pork char siu, fried egg, sausage, homemade pickles, carrots, papaya, parsley, soy sauce, and chili sauce. All the components made up a well-balanced sandwich that’s sweet and salty, good level of spiciness, crunchy yet creamy.I would definitely suggest to go with the chili sauce if you can take the heat. It’s simple yet hearty.
51 Trần Hưng Đạo, Sơn Phong, tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
This restaurant is down a little alley just a bit off the main road, and is renowned for one dish: barbecued pork that is served in satay-style, which you then combine with fresh greens and herbs to create your own fresh spring roll.
Since there’s one dish, they started to serve as soon as we were seated. They put down a huge pile of fresh mix greens, homemade pickles, rice papers, dipping sauce, fried spring rolls, and the BBQ pork. The ingredients soon filled up the table. Then, a lady came to show up how to wrap it! Honestly, it takes skills to wrap up all the ingredients in one thin rice paper. The tongue-burning BBQ pork satay, and the fresh crisp greens perfectly balanced out each other in terms of the flavor and the temperature. The peanut dipping sauce added a bit of sweet and nutty flavor.
Bông Hồng Trắng
533 Hai Bà Trưng, Cẩm Châu, tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
There are three food gems in Hoi An: White rose (bánh bao bánh vạc), Fried wonton (Hoành thánh chiên), and Cao lầu. At this restaurant, you’ll be able to get white rose and fried wonton in one meal. That’s the only two food that they offer. The white rose is a shrimp dumpling that’s made from a thin, translucent white dough, which the shape resembles the rose. The wrap is thin and chewy.
The fried wonton is often referred to as the “Hoi An pizza”. Unlike the Chinese wontons that wrap the fillings and form a dumpling shape, these crispy wontons are topped with shrimp and tomato roulade. It sort of resembles the nachos or tortillas.
Cao Lầu Thanh
26 Thái Phiên, tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
As mentioned above, cao lầu is one of the three Hoi An gems, as well as one of my favorites of the trip. It’s a regional Vietnamese dish that’s found in the central Vietnam, originated from Quang Nam province. The noodles is topped with slices of juicy pork, served with lots of greens such as bean sprouts, green vegetables, slices of crispy pork skins, and some dark pork broth that wasn’t too salty. The broth added the right amount of moisture to the noodles. The noodles are fat, and yellow that resembles Japanese udon, but there’s noodles are made with fresh rice!
Overall, I’d fallen in love with the town instantly after a short stroll on the first day. Each house is painted with bright yellow, and alternatively sea blue or wooden windows. The town is so colorful and vibrant. There wasn’t a lot of people on the streets during the day, however, in the evening, everyone was out on the streets (including the locals). There are puppet shows next to the river, colorful lanterns are light up, and various street vendors form a night market along the river. Nothing could be more chill and relax by walking along the riverside to end the night!