Food in Hoi An - 21 Dishes in Hoi An That Will Blow Your Mind

Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1999, the infrastructure and town planning (inclusive of buildings, canals, bridges, pathways etc.) of Hoi An are traditionally preserved and reflect the life the locals used to lead centuries ago. This is a prominent reason why Hoi An tops the list of must goes to places on a world tour. Initially, an old shipping port used for trading spices and other goods for centuries together, there is no doubt as to why Vietnamese cuisine is abundant in spices and this flavourful. Chilli sauce along with a plate of lemons and chillies are a mandatory addition to one’s meal. 

The food in Hoi An is influenced by French and Chinese cuisine. Water drawn from an ancient well (called the Banh Hee well) is used to make noodles and dough which makes their taste unique. The well is over 1,000 years old and is heavily guarded. 

Some of the quirkiest and wackiest dishes can be found here. Read on to know more about these lovely dishes! 

1. Ram Cuon

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A gigantic assortment of various dishes - Banh Xeo, pork satay, spring rolls, Vietnamese kimchi, chilli and fish sauce, lettuce and rice paper are presented in front of you. What would you do? DEMOLISH them! A humongous combo is conjured from these dishes. Firstly, lettuce and kimchi are added to the rice paper on which chilli and fish sauce are smeared. The pork satay served on a stick is slid out and added along with Banh Xeo and spring roll. This jumbo roll is rolled up, dipped in either of the sauces and devoured. Let the Hog-fest begin!
Where to find: Mix restaurant, Minh An (opens 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM); Streets restaurant, Minh An (opens 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM)
Approximate cost: VND 50,000

2. Cau Lao

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This delicious food in Hoi An is made from pork meat, rinds, noodles and greens, this dish is one whose history can be traced back to the 17th century. The noodles added to the dish are available in varying widths and are traditionally handmade. The noodles differ in taste from various other cities in Vietnam because the water used in making them is drawn from the Banh hee well. Marinated with several spices, the pork is tender and succulent whereas the rinds or the pork skin is fried in piping hot oil till its a nice golden brown colour following which it is added to pork meat, noodles and the greens. The greens are procured locally and are quite fresh. Peanut sauce, amongst others, is drizzled over to help the dish gain a nutty taste. A bit of broth is added to make the dish less dry and enhance the taste.
Where to find: Ty cau lao, Minh An (opens 4:30 PM to 10:00 PM); Truung Bac restaurant, Minh An (opens 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM)
Approximate cost: VND 29,000 to VND 32,000

3. Grilled Chicken Eggs

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Prepared to blow your taste buds away, this ingenious dish offers you a variety of unexplored flavours that one wouldn’t even have dreamed of. A unique mix of spices and other ingredients is poured into locally sourced chicken eggs by cracking holes in them. These eggs are then grilled over charcoal until they are done and are kept heated for a long time. Then the shells are peeled, and seasoning is added to the egg. These serve as a good source of protein and are quite filling. This is something you need to keep your eyes out for.
Where to find: Can be found in any marketplace
Approximate cost: VND 15,000 for two

4. Mi Quang

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An offshoot to Cau Lao, this food in Hoi An incorporates all the elements that the former lacks. Comprising of pork, shrimp, boiled quail egg, fried rice crackers, rice noodles and leafy greens, one thing that you can be assured of is that you are in for a surprise. The shrimps are marinated along with the pork and are fried to perfection. The noodles are handmade and have a creamy texture. The fried rice crackers are crushed, broken into smaller pieces and added to the dish. The quail egg serves as the highlight of this dish and takes it to another level. It is lastly topped with peanuts which add a crunch to every bite taken. 
Where to find: Pho Xua, Minh An (opens 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM); Banh mi phoung, Cam chau (opens 6:30 AM to 9:30 PM)
Approximate cost: VND 26,000 to VND 29,000

5. Com Ga

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This characteristic yellow coloured dish sets it apart from the rest of the Vietnamese cuisine. It is a staple of the locals and is found throughout Hoi an. Rice boiled in chicken broth is served along with shredded chicken which acts as a topping for this dish. Addition of a pinch of turmeric, while the rice is being boiled, helps it gain its characteristic yellow colour whereas the chicken broth serves to make it a tad bit greasy. The chicken is marinated in a mix of spices and has a slightly peppery and salty taste with a hint of ginger in it. It is usually served with a plate of lemons and chillies.
Where to find: Com ga lan, Minh An (opens 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM); Streets restaurant, Minh An (opens 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM)
Approximate cost: VND 20,000

6. Banana Pancake

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A delicacy whose every bite is meant to be savoured is the much sought after banana pancake. Slices of sweet potato coated in a batter made from rice flour are laid to form a square over which slices of bananas are laid. This entire thing is immersed into the batter and topped with loads of sesame seeds. The resultant is fried to a golden yellow colour and is subsequently dried of its oil. The pancake is crispy and sweet and serves as a fitting end to one's meal. This food in Hoi An serves as the perfect on-the-go snack on a nice sunny evening. 
Where to find: Can be found in any marketplace
Approximate cost: VND 20,000

7. Grilled Corn Cobs

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Found in every nook and corner of the city, these are quite popular in Hoi An. The covering of the corn cob are taken off, and then the cob is grilled over charcoal until they are charred on either side. For seasoning, pork fat is smeared onto the cobs which serve to make them a tad bit greasy. These serve as a quick and filling snack.
Where to find: Can be found in any marketplace
Approximate cost: VND 5,000

8. Dessert Sandwich

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Categorized as a yummy treat, this food in Hoi An packs a punch. Sandwiched between two coconut crackers, rice dough rolled in powdered sugar is broken down into thin, fine strands that are impossible to count. Topped with chocolate sauce and a couple of seeds, this ‘dessert sandwich’ is not overly sweet and serves as a pleasure that one should indulge in.
Where to find: Can be found in any marketplace
Approximate cost: VND 11,000

9. Potato Cake

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Diced green beans and coconut gratings are added to mashed potatoes along with a ton of spices. They are mixed thoroughly and lumps of these are taken to form patties which are subsequently grilled over charcoal. Grilling takes place until these are charred on either side to a certain extent. These taste a bit salty and are quite flaky on the inside.
Where to find: Can be found in any marketplace
Approximate cost: VND 10,000

10. Banh Beo

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This food in Hoi An is something that is bound to elicit a response and evoke your tastebuds. Made from dried shrimp and mung beans, this dish is localized to Hoi An due to its distinct taste and flavour. A thin layer of the rice cake is laid out in a small bowl which is topped by curry and shrimps. The curry is made from a unique blend of spices and beans; a major ingredient of which is turmeric. The shrimps are deeply fried and left untouched for a day or two at most to make them gain their distinct flavour. Ultimately topped with fish sauce and chillies, this dish is an otherworldly experience.
Where to find: Banh Beo Chen, Minh An (opens 12:00 PM to 5:45 PM); Banh Mi Phuong, Cam Chau (opens 6:30 AM to 9:30 PM)
Approximate cost: VND 2,000 to VND 3,000

11. Banh Vac

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One of the major highlights of Vietnamese cuisine, this dish is a must-try for every foodie out there! Dumplings made from shrimp meat, this dish opens up a whole new world of flavours for anyone. These are also known as white rose dumplings. Shrimps marinated in a variety of sauces are cooked and are minced to make the filling. The dough is wrapped delicately around the filling and is steamed to perfection. It is topped with fried shallots and drizzled over with fish sauce.
Where to find: Streets restaurant, Minh An (opens 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM); Banh Canh ba Quyt, Minh An (opens at 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM)
Approximate cost: VND 5,000

12. Banh Mi

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Basically the Vietnamese version of a French baguette, this food in Hoi An is a loaf of Viet bread made from rice and wheat flour. It is cut horizontally and its inside is smeared with various sauces. Post this, it is filled with roasted pork belly, sausage, grilled pork, pork liver, tomatoes, cucumbers and leafy greens. A single bite of this serves to end one’s hunger. Sounds like a once in a lifetime kind of dish! 
Where to find: Banh Mi Phuong, Minh An (opens at 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM); Madam Khanh
Approximate cost: VND 10,000 to VND 15,000

13. Vietnamese Kimchi

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Served as an accompaniment, this dish is inspired by Korean cuisine and is a perfect version of it. Ginger and garlic are made into a paste using a mortar and pesto, while cabbage and green onions are diced and soaked in a solution of water and salt. The ginger garlic paste is then mixed with several spices and sauces to form a uniform mixture. Subsequently, cabbage and green onions are drawn from the solution, tossed in with this paste and thoroughly mixed. It is stored in an airtight container and left for about a day and a half and allowed to ferment. Well, no more waiting! Enjoy! 
Where to find: Nu eatery, Minh An (opens 12:00 PM to 9:00 PM); Morning glory original, Minh An (opens 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM)
Approximate cost: VND 12,000 to VND 13,000

14. Banh Xeo

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Also known as sizzling pancakes, this food in Hoi An uses batter which is made from rice and cornflour along with turmeric and spring onions. Pork and shrimps are previously cooked to moderation and kept ready. A pan with oil is heated where the pork and shrimps are thrown in and deep-fried for a minute or two, post which the batter is poured in too. The batter covers the shrimps and pork and is simultaneously topped with the carrots and radishes. Cooked for a couple of minutes until it turns golden yellow, this pancake is super crispy and is folded over and served. Usually had with sauces. 
Where to find: Home Hoi An, Minh An (opens 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM); Minh Hien restaurant, Minh An (opens 9:00 Am to 11:00 PM)
Approximate cost: VND 18,000

15. Banh Xoai

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Infamously is known as ‘mango seeds’, these cakes are predominantly available throughout the markets of Hoi An and serve to hit one’s sweet tooth. Mashed peanuts diluted with water are mixed with granules of sugar, used as fillings for sticky rice dough and steamed until they are tender and soft. Each “seed” is roughly the size of one’s fist and is rolled over in powdered sugar to sweeten the deal. One can dig into the cake and savour every moment spent with it. Each bite delivers a crunch which is quite sweet thanks to the sugar present in and around it. These cakes are misunderstood for mango seeds because they resemble the former in terms of shape and size. Not something to be fooled by.
Where to find: Can be found in any marketplace
Approximate cost: VND 2,000

16. Coconut Coffee

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The epitome of all quirky drink, this food in Hoi An is guaranteed to give you that kick. Coconut milk is poured into a glass containing coffee decoction and is mixed until it reaches a rich creamy and thick consistency. The resultant is topped with whipped cream and bits of crushed ice to cool down the mixture effectively and to thicken it further. It is sweetened by adding sugar; coconut milk is subsequently chilled for a known period. This serves to cut out the bitterness of the decoction and replace it with a sweet coconutty taste. Bits of ice add a crunch to every sip taken.
Where to find: Nu eatery, Minh An (opens 12:00 PM to 9:00 PM); Cocobox, Minh An (opens 7:00 AM to 9:30 PM)
Approximate cost: VND 30,000

17. Banh Flan

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Similar to custard, this one is no less than any of its western counterparts. Found in every corner of the world, this dessert is of global fame and an overwhelming one by nature. Beaten egg yolks are thoroughly mixed with milk to achieve a thick consistency which are subsequently poured into bowls and heated in a microwave until they solidify. Sugar mixed with water is boiled until the latter evaporates and forms a brown coloured syrup. Removed at the right time, the dessert is drizzled with sugar syrup along with coffee syrup in abundance and is gobbled down in a moment or two.
Where to find: Phi ban mi, Minh An (opens 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM); Madam Khanh; Minh An (opens 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM)
Approximate cost: VND 13,000 to VND 17,000

18. Durian Ice Cream

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The Durian fruit is revered and also found to be appalling at the same time by various cultures across the world due to its strong odour. However, the Vietnamese make up for this wrong notion in several ways. It’s used in milkshakes and various curries. For making the ice cream, the flesh of this fruit is made to a pulp, diluted with sweetened milk and poured into a small cone-like casing with thin sticks which are subsequently frozen. These casings are placed in a mini freezer which serves as an integral part of one’s cart. The cart is cycled around from place to place, and when the time comes, a casing is taken and is emptied using the stick. It can then be savoured at one’s leisure. Surely, something that shouldn’t be missed out on!
Where to find: Can be found in any marketplace
Approximate cost: VND 5,000

19. Banh Dap

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This food in Hoi An loosely translates to smashed pancake in English. Made from rice, two crackers separated by a thin sheet of rice paper are served along with sweet corn soup and fish sauce. The rice crackers are smashed by hand on either side, following which a small portion is broken and dipped in either of the sauces and munched on. Serves to erase any hunger on a puny scale.
Where to find: White rose restaurant, Cam pho (opens 7:00 AM to 9:30 PM); Phi banh mi, Minh An (opens at 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM)
Approximate cost: VND 2,000 to VND 3,000

20. Banh Tieu

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One of the most affordable among the food in Hoi An, this one is a no-missing-at-any-cost. Sweetened grated coconut acts as a filling for the bread which is baked in an oven to perfection. After it has cooled down, the bread is fried to somewhere between it being crispy and soft enough to dig in. Coconut, red beans and mung beans are the different variations which are offered.
Where to find: Samurai kitchen, Minh An (opens 12:00 PM to 9:00 PM); Nu eatery, Minh An (opens 12:00 PM to 9:00 PM)
Approximate cost: VND 10,000

21. Balut Eggs

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In need for raw protein that tastes good too? You’re in the right place! Balut eggs or duck eggs are quite popular in Hoi An. An assortment of various ingredients and spices served with salt, pepper, ginger and onions along with a mix of pickles; this combo is guaranteed to drive you nuts! A hole is cracked into the egg, various ingredients are added and voila! Just drink away! Sounds like a funny mixture to some, but one of the cheapest and wackiest dishes one can come across!
Where to find: Can be found in any marketplace
Approximate cost: VND 6,000 to VND 8,000
If you ever feel the need to explore and walk through the lanes of this beautiful Vietnamese city in the search for delicious food in Hoi An. The food here is sumptuous and takes one by complete surprise. A couple of pro tips for everyone trying the food in Hoi An for the first time:

a. Leafy greens are added to every dish, and noodle-based dishes are quite typical.
b. Spices are used in abundance along with meat, and rice crackers are found in every other meal. 
Well, that’s it! You’re good to go!

This post was published by Sufiyan

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