10 Delicacies That Must Be Tried In the Old City of Hoi An

Hội An, also Fai-Fo or Faifoo, is a city of Vietnam, on the coast of the East Sea in the South Central Coast region of Vietnam. In 1535 Portuguese explorer and sea captain António de Faria, coming from Đà Nẵng, tried to establish a major trading center at the port village of Faifo. The former harbour town of the Cham at the estuary of the Thu Bồn River was an important Vietnamese trading center in the 16th and 17th centuries, where Chinese from various provinces as well as Japanese, Dutch and Indians settled. Now, Hoi An is once again one of the nation’s wealthiest city, a culinary holy ground and one of Vietnam’s most important tourism center.

Chicken rice
One of a few things you should not miss when you visit Hoi An. This dish is loved by so many tourists who have come to Hoi An that many travel sites have devoted articles to introduce the dish to others.

Chicken rice
(Beside of the famous Lady Buoi restaurant (Bà Buội) on 22nd Phan Chau Trinh Street, you can also taste this delightful dish in Lady Nga’s restaurant (Bà Nga) or Ms Huong restaurant (quán cô Hương) on Sica Street. Photo: Diệu Huyền)

This attractive dish is stunning with the yellow color of the rice, the green of the vegetable and the white of the perfect-cooked chicken. If you are a person who loves strong and distinguished flavors, there is chili sauce for you to try. The dish has a unique way to trap you into it wonderful flavors.

Quang Noodle (Mì Quảng)

Quang Noodle
(Some renowned Quang Noodle addresses are on Tran Phu Street (Trần Phú Street), Cam Ha district (Khu Cẩm Hà), or on Thai Phien Street (đường Thái Phiên). Photo: Trần Việt Anh)

A dazzling and well-known delicacy of the Old City of Hoi An and Quang Nam Province, Mì Quảng (Quang Noodles) has it name taken after the city which was once commercial capital of the Northern Coast of Vietnam. It is very difficult to walk away from this dish if you are in the Old City, on a cold day and tired after a long day of exploring and traveling. The dish will bring to you the common taste of rice noodles, the saltiness of fried shrimp and pork, with eggs, herbs, and the grilled rice paper all combined in the soup. The flavors are alluring, appealing and astonishing.

Dried Noodle (Cao Lầu)

Dried Noodle
(There are many places that have Cao Lầu throughout the city but in order to get the best dish, come to these addresses: 26th Thai Phien (26 Thái Phiên) or 87th Tran Phu (87 Trần Phú). Photo: Diệu Huyền)

A dried version of Quang Noodle, the special noodle that is used to make this flavorful dish has the yellow color of the eggs that were fried along with the noodle. Accompanying with the noodle are boiled bean sprouts, fried pork’s skin, greaves, char siu (a special fried or roasted Chinese pork,) and some other secret sauce, and herbs. All you have to do is to mixed them up and enjoy the explosive flavors awaited.

Wonton (Hoành Thánh)

Wonton

Wonton (Hoành Thánh) is a small dumpling or roll with a savory filling, often made with minced pork. However, there are three ways to make it. The dish has come a long way from its origin. Since the Chinese brought it here, it has evolved to many other different but tasteful versions of Wonton. You can either have it with soup, or fried, or served with noodles. All of these dishes are served as appetizers. The main ingredients for this dish are flour, eggs and shrimp. After mixing the flour and the eggs, the mixture will be fermented for a short period of time before being laminated and cut into small squares. The shrimp’s stuffing is crushed and seasoned with herbs. All of the stuffing is wrapped in the squares that have just been made. The soup is made from pineapple, tomato and mushrooms. The soup and the wontons are served with a vegetable like broccoli.

Smashed pie, sautéed mussels (Bánh Đập)

Smashed pie
(A strange combination but perfect in flavors)

Smashed pie (bánh đập) is a perfect mixture of grilled rice paper, wet rice paper and some other ingredients. The wet rice paper is wiped with a puree of green peas, and the wet paper is then sandwiched between the two layers of grilled rice paper. Gentle force is used to make the grilled and the wet paper to stick together perfectly so the outer layer won’t be crushed when you try to put the pie into your mouth. The pie is served with a dish of sautéed mussels. Last but not least, a mixture of vinegar and fish sauce and other ingredients like sugar, minced pineapple, garlic, green chili, and fried onion will make your day.

Hoi An Dumplings, cauldron pie

Vietnamese Traditional Sandwich
(Find the dumplings and the pie on 533rd Hai Ba Trung Street (533 Hai Bà Trưng) Photo: Hà Minh)

Dumplings and cauldron pie are two kinds of pies but they are usually served together. The reason they are called cauldron pies is because the pie has the shape very similar to a cauldron with the stuffing in the middle of the pie. The size of both of the pies is small and oval. The ingredients to make the dumplings are rice, minced shrimp mixed with pepper, onion, and other types of seasoning while the ingredients of a cauldron pie are mushrooms, green onion, boiled bean sprouts and pork.

Vietnamese Traditional Sandwich

Vietnamese Traditional Sandwich1

When anyone mentions Vietnam, they would first mention Phở (Pho), then a changing nation, and then “The Sandwich.” In any city, in any place in Vietnam, you can find and enjoy this delicious Sandwich. What makes this Sandwich an irresistible part of Vietnam is the Pâté of grilled pork, Vietnamese pork bologna, herbs, and special sauce. All of the flavors combined will give you the irresistible temptation; the only way to escape is to try one of those Sandwiches.

Bánh Bèo (Water fern cake)

Water fern cake
(a cuisine that can only be found in Vietnam with either shrimps or pork in the fillings, served along with the renowned fish sauce. Photo: Trần Việt Anh)

Bánh Bèo is white or clear in color and typically features a dimple in the center, which is filled with savory ingredients including chopped dried or fresh shrimp, scallions, mung bean paste, crispy fried shallots, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and oil. It is considered a typical of the cuisine of Huế, the ancient royal capital located in the center of Vietnam. However, unlike the Hue’s bánh bèo, Hoi An’s or the northern areas of Hue usually has the clear texture and the stuffing is made out of shrimp. In order to increase the peculiarity of the dish, the diners must use a bamboo knife not spoons or forks.

Bánh ướt cuốn thịt nướng (Wet rice paper with barbecue pork)

Wet rice paper with barbecue pork
(A roll of barbecue pork cost about 6,000 dong. Photo: Diệu Huyền)

The best place to find these barbecue rolls are joints alongside the Hoai River’s bank (sông Hoài). This dish is one of the all-time favorite cuisines of the locals. The full dish consists of barbecue pork rolls, wet rice paper, herbs and many other complicated sauces that only the locals can make. The wet rice paper is served as a wrapping blanket for the barbecue, and herbs all are served with the sauces. The more you eat, the more you don’t want to leave.

Chè các loại (Vietnamese special desserts)

Vietnamese special desserts
(Chè in Hoi An and in Vietnam have the temptation that no one can resist. Photo: Diệu Huyền)

Some will translate these desserts as tea, but they are not tea. These are bowls of pudding-like mixtures made out of coconut milk, banana oil, and all kinds of beans that you can find in Vietnam. For those who like sweet and fresh desserts, they cannot walk away from this dish. The fatness of coconut, the sweetness of sugar, and the smell of banana oil combined with all kinds of beans and even corn will not let you go until you try it.

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