Hoi An was used to be one of the most busiest seaport of the Inner Region during the Vietnam Civil War of 1700-1800s, and because of that, the culinary is like a mixing pot of so many cultures. You can easily find a delicious dish here without stepping foot into a restaurant.
There are also many restaurants to serve you if you don’t like to sit outside on Trần Phú, Bạch Đằng Streets. Trần Phú is the best place to eat “cao lầu”, a regional Vietnamese dish made with “cao lầu” noodles made of flour rice soaked in ash water and cooked with Bá Lễ well’s water, pork, shrimp ,and local greens, that is only found in the town of Hội An, with a pretty good price. The noodle is tough, sweet, and just irresistible.
These restaurants are used to serve foreigners mostly while the people in Hoi An like to eat street “cao lầu”, which is cheaper, but still, and sometimes more delicious.
Tourists can find these street food armies have everything from rice pancake (bánh bột lọc), rice shrimp pancake (bánh bột lọc), tofu, “cao lầu”, Quảng noodle, mixed mussels. The rice pancakes here are a bit different from other places. You will need a skewer to eat, not a spoon. The rice pancake also served with fried crunchy “cao lầu” as stuffing.
Rice shrimp pancakes, meat rolls, Vietnamese bolognas are just simply irresistible. Adding in a bit of fish sauce with a few slices of chili, you will be over the moon tasting these marvelous cuisines.
The food is close to you wherever you go. Some chairs and tables can be found on the sidewalk, where the joint is ready and food is always hot for you to enjoy. If you want something sweet, there is black sesame “chè” which is a Vietnamese sweet beverage , food, and it is best to eat it hot, regardless the hot or cold weather.
There are also many other types of Chè like corn, red pea… which are collected from nearby regions across Hoai River.
Breakfasts are usually the “cao lầu” or Quảng noodle, mixed with mussels, and from the street, you can observe the simple life of the locals and enjoy the delicious food.
Another reason to eat right on the street is because of the price. A bowl of rice pancake or a taro pie can cost you only 5000VND (25cents) or a dish of rice shrimp pancake or grilled corn only cost twice of that. A bowl of “cao lầu” or Quảng noodle costs 20-30,000VND (1.5USD). Ram cake, sugar cake on the carts of the bakers cost from 25cents to 50 each.
Street food in Hoi An doesn’t forbidden like other cities but has become a culture of the city, a way of life, and also the special characteristic that has attract many to come here.
With the joints located on the busy street, the sellers must pay a fee, and they have to keep everything in order, and forbid to charge higher price, only lower.
Crossing the streets in Hoi An like Trần Phú, Lê Lợi, Nguyễn Thái Học, or close to Hoai River, you will find the images of the ladies carrying a basket, selling food for travellers and tourists with a simple English. Everyone loves food, but if there is a no, then you shall receive a “have a nice day” wish from the sellers with a pretty smile. Hoi An is truly a friendly, delicious city that should not be missed.
The Old City of Hoi An is a small town, and the streets are connected like a maze, and the best way to discover this town is to walk. In every corner of the city, you will find the delicious food carts with the best food in the world, and you will soon fall in love with this town. Images of the ladies with the food baskets, the old man with a “chè” joint have become the beauty of Hoi An.