Hoi An – a graceful and tranquil town, home to the grand architecture of a historic trading port, Japanese style merchant houses and Chinese temple. However, Hoi An is not only known for it’s tranquility, this small coastal town in the Central of Vietnam is also notorious for its delicious and hard-to-resist cuisine. Coming here means you will have a bucket list full of unique dishes to try out. Today we will take you on a food adventure to see the 7 amazing signature dishes of Hoi An that you definitely should not miss out on.
1. Cơm gà (chicken rice)
Chicken is no doubt a universal and yummy type of meat, a finger-licking-good crispy fried chicken or a herb roasted whole chicken will satisfy even the more picky gastronomers. In Hoi An, the locals have a different way of making their chicken dish unforgettable to customers. Chicken rice is the pride of Hoi An’s cuisine and a dish you should not miss while visiting this graceful town. While in the North, people like to eat the whole piece of boiled chicken thighs or chest, in Hoi An’s chicken rice, the carefully boiled chicken is cut or torn into smaller slices, seasoned with spices like salt, pepper, chilli and Vietnamese coriander. The seasoning gives the meat a unique aroma and irresistable taste. The meat then go on top of a pile of special golden rice that is cooked with chicken broth and a dash of fresh turmeric for a glossy yellow colour. On top of the chiken rice, people sprinkle sliced mint leaves and onions adding one more layer to the complexity of the dish. And of course, the rice is eaten with the famous chilli sauce poured evenly over. A chicken rice dish surely can help visitors to cure their hunger and make them remember the place for years. You can order a plate with either chicken strips or chopped chicken for around VND 40,000 ($1.77). You can also order chicken, rice and soup when you come in a group. The most famous restaurants are Madam Buoi’s on Phan Chu Trinh Street and Huong’s on Le Loi Street.
2. Cao Lau (Vietnamese cold noodles)
Cao Lau comprises of the signature cao lau noodles, slices of bean sprouts, lettuce, herbs, crunchy croutons and barbecue pork, the pork is sliced thin and cooked in the traditional Chinese method known as char siu. The final touch is a spoonful rich and flavorful stock. Cao lau noodles are made from a special local fresh rice.
The cao lau noodles are the star of the show and the ingredient that makes this dish unique to Hoi An. While the exact recipe is known only to a few people, the tale behind the noodles is legendary. First, cao lau noodles are said to be made using only water from one ancient well in Hoi An called Ba Le well. The well is surprisingly unmarked in a town that depends on tourism and would undoubtedly profit on making it a better-known stop on the tourist circuit. Tucked inconspicuously in an alley, however, wedged right up against a house, the well looks like nothing special and could be easily missed if you’re not looking for it. This obscurity makes the well all the more mystical, adding to the esoteric quality of the noodles made with its water.
In addition to the water for cao lau noodles supposedly coming from this one, special well, the water is also supposed to be mixed with a specific type of ash to create a lye solution. The ash is said to come from a type of tree found on the Cham islands, which are off the coast of Hoi An. The precise process of making cao lau noodles also sets them apart. The recipe is a secret, known only to a few families in Hoi An.
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 (Baguette) internship in vietnam
Eventhough banh mi is a common dish found in almost every street corner in Vietnam, the banh mi in Hoi An definitely has a different taste to it. A typical banh mi in Hoi An contains similar ingredients like pate, mayonnaise, coriander, pork cold cuts, roasted pork, pickled daikon and carrot, chilli, sauces and, of course, stacks of golden bread rolls. However, the one ingredient that makes Hoi An’s banh mi so popular and memorable to tourists is the special savory and spicy sauce. The sauce brings together the richness of the pork, the crunch of cucumber and sour taste of pickles and create harmony in taste that only exists in Hoi An’s banh mi. The two most popular banh mi stalls here are Banh mi Phượng and Madam Khánh. Prices range around VND 20,000 – 30,000 depending on the types.