Chicken rice, “banh mi” or the legendary cao lau noodles all await gourmets and shouldn’t miss in the ancient Hoi An town.
1. Com Ga – Chicken Rice
With its eye-catching colors, diners will certainly be attracted by Hoi An chicken rice. You can order a plate with either chicken strips or chopped chicken for around VND40,000 ($1.77). You can also order chicken, rice and soup when you come in a group. Ba Buoi (or Madam Buoi’s) on Phan Chu Trinh street is the most famous com ga restaurant in Hoi An.
2. Cao Lau – Vietnamese thick noodle
A mouth-watering bowl of Cao Lau is full of poached noodles, bean sprouts and herbs from the famous Tra Que Village. On top of the dish sits thin slices of barbeque pork and crispy fried pig skin. You can find Cao Lau almost everywhere in Hoi An, but try Thanh Cao Lau on Thai Phien Street or Madam Be Cao Lau on Tran Phu Street. A delicious bowl of Cao Lau will cost you around $1.
3. Banh Mi
It isn’t difficult to find banh mi in Hoi An. Hoi An bread is like no other, with the hot baguettes filled with delicious meat, pâté, homemade sauces, hot peppers, herbs and pickled carrots. Madam Phuong and Madam Khanh are the most famous local restaurants in Hoi An, and are often mentioned in foreign media. A normal baguette will cost you VND20,000 (less than $1), but splash out an extra VND5,000 for a special.
4. Thit xien nuong (grilled meat skewers)
From Tran Phu Street to the corners along Le Loi, Tran Hung Dao and Bach Dang, visitors can easily find fragrant barbecue skewers. Meat grilled in a charcoal oven is wrapped inside a thin layer of rice paper with herbs and sour slices of star fruit. The treat is best served with a special sauce, and costs just VND5,000 (around 22 U.S. cents) per skewer.
5. Banh Dap – Grilled cake
A serving of girdle cake includes thin steamed rice pancakes sandwiched between two crispy cousins. To enjoy the dish, you should roll the cake and dip it into a fish sauce paste, which is a mixture of fish sauce, sugar, caramelized onions, chopped pineapple, garlic and green horn pepper. The most famous girdle cake is served at Madam Gia’s restaurant in Cam Nam Ward.
6. Banh beo – water fern cake
Hoi An’s water fern cake is usually served in tiny bowls with the rice flour, shrimp paste and fried pig skin. Diners add fish sauce with chili to enjoy the dish. The most popular places to find the dish are in Cam Chau and Cam Nam wards, or inside Hoi An’s market. Each bowl costs only VND3,000 (13 U.S. cents).
7. Tao Pho – Tofu pudding
Walking along the Hoai River in the evening, you will see many street vendors selling tofu puddings surrounded by many customers. A bowl of tofu pudding with a sweet and spicy ginger soup, white jelly and coconut milk offers a cool, sweet sensation. Each bowl costs around VND10,000 (less than half a $1).
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