Hoi Ann Ancient City :: Dining and Food Guide

Gỏi cuốn fresh spring rolls and cao lầu noodles

Food in Hoi An is, even by high Vietnamese standards, cheap and tasty. In addition to the usual suspects, there are three dishes that Hoi An is particularly famous for:

  • Cao lầu, a dish of rice noodles which are not quite as slippery as pho and a bit closer in texture to pasta. The secret is the water used to make it, and authentic cao lau uses only water from a special well in the city. The noodles are topped with slices of roast pork, dough fritters, and this being Vietnam, lots of fresh herbs and veggies.
  • White rose (banh bao vac), a type of shrimp dumpling made from translucent white dough bunched up to look like a rose.

Where to eat White Rose: 533 Hai Ba Trung St, the original recipe with 120 year history.

Wonton dumplings, essentially the same as the Chinese kind, served up in soup or deep-fried.

If you are really very adventurous, you can walk to the Central Market, and have a local breakfast. Seating on stools, eating a bowl of Cao Lau with wooden chopsticks, and sipping the ice cold “White Coffee with vinamilk” is an adventure. Beware though, prices will vary atrociously, as shopkeepers swarm over you to sell you things, or even shove plates of food before you. Just keep declining politely and return the food if you don’t fancy it. Keep small denominations of dong with you, as you probably won’t get change if you give them US$. Also, confirm the prices before you partake of the food. Prices range from about 7000-10000 dong for a bowl of noodles, and 5000-7000 dong for a coffee. The baguette is a nice snack, and should not cost more than 10000 dong. You can point and say yes or no to the vegetables and chilli that they will add. A recommended way to order is to just say “Everything” and say “yes” to the chilli. Mineral water is around 10000 dong for a big 1.5L bottle.

Walking along the river at night, you will find a lot of pubs. Beer is around 30000 dong. Cocktails are around 20000-50000 dong. There are some bar foods available, such as fried prawn crackers for around 15000 dong a plate. Just walk into any pub and have a seat.

Restaurants operated by Charity Foundations:

Blue Dragon. A restaurant by the waterfront with cheap, but good food. Choose from a wide variety of local dishes, or set menus, including meat, vegetarian or seafood choices. A portion of the proceeds goes to help the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. 20000 dong.

Streets Restaurant Cafe, 17 Le Loi Street, Hoi An. Serves both local and international dishes. Provides hospitality training for local street kids.