Hoi An, Vietnam foodie guide: where locals eat and drink
A Unesco World Heritage site, the Vietnamese town of Hoi An is a must-visit for a weekend of riverside eating (including freshly made dumplings)
Want to know where to eat in Hoi An, Vietnam? Read our expert foodie guide to find the best places to eat and drink in Hoi An, best Hoi An restaurants and best Hoi An food. From the local’s favourite coffee house to the best white rose dumplings and cao lau noodle soup.
Check out our best noodle soup recipes here, incluidng:
Hoi An Historic Hotel
A café in the gardens of a hotel is not where you’d necessarily expect to find the best iced tea and iced coffee in town, but it’s a firm favourite here. Join the locals having a quick pit stop on their way to work, sitting and sipping a Vietnamese coffee (made with either condensed or fresh milk) under the cool shade of a canopy.
Banh Mi Phuong
Madam Phuong is famous in central Vietnam for her freshly baked banh mi sandwich, served with her secret recipe sauce. Go after 1pm to avoid the locals queuing for their lunch and opt for her signature pork, ham and pate baguette with pickled papaya, local cheese, coriander, cucumber and mint.
2B Phan Chau Trinh Street
For a traditional Hoi An breakfast, Tien is the go-to spot for people in the know. Grab a stool in the covered seating area and enjoy a bowl of cao lau, a chewy, brown noodle dish swimming in delicious broth with smoky pork, croutons, local greens, Thai basil and mint.
16 Thai Phien
The chefs here make each white rose dumpling by hand to a 100-year-old family recipe, carefully placing minced shrimp, pork and herbs into folded rice paper before steaming and serving with crispy shallots and a spicy fish sauce dip. If you can, sit at a table in the back of the restaurant so you can watch the dumplings being prepared.
533 Hai Bà Trưng
Named after the staple leafy vegetable, Morning Glory is the original restaurant of local restaurateur Ms Vy. Set in a historic and lively colonial house, it serves excellent food based on local recipes. Try the deep-fried tofu with smoked chilli, sesame beef with papaya or pomelo (citrus fruit) salad with prawns, chicken and toasted coconut.
106 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street (+84 235 2241 555)
Everyone from the city’s top chefs to locals looking for a cheap lunch head here for fresh produce, regional dishes such as mi quang (noodle soup with pork slices) and ice-cold fruit drinks. If you fancy a bit of shopping you’re in luck too - from fine Vietnamese silks, to straw bags, exotic spices and freshly roasted coffee beans, you’ll find it here. Just be prepared to haggle.
Nguyen Hue and Tran Phu Streets
La Siesta Hotel
Sip on a fresh mango or coconut juice by the freshwater pool in the sprawling gardens of this boutique hotel. Or book a half-day cookery class and cycle past rice paddies to organic herb farms and the central market, returning to the hotel garden to cook up some of the region’s most popular dishes (think fresh prawn spring rolls, grilled fish in banana leaves, beef pho soup, crispy pancakes and flambéed bananas).
Cookery classes at La Siesta
GAM (Gemstone Arts Museum)
Gaze at the hanging lanterns and river views from a quiet spot inside the entrance of this historic house, perfect for a quick break from the crowds and a chilled glass of (imported) sauvignon blanc with freshly roasted chilli peanuts. Or pop inside for a look around their selection of ancient gemstones, sculptures and jewellery.
Cycle or scooter out of town to join local foodies at this hugely popular, fairly tourist-free, spot for excellent barbecue and seafood dishes. Order beef with lemongrass and chilli, or pork ribs with sticky, chilli sauce straight from the barbecue outside.
138 Tran Quang Khai (0905965612)
Xanh Quan restaurant
Rong Xanh Blue Dragon
For great-value Vietnamese dishes right on the riverside, you can’t beat Blue Dragon, a family-run restaurant with great views of Hoi An's old town. Feast on steamed sea bass with ginger, garlic, black bean and lemongrass, or shrimp with braised spinach and steamed rice.
46 Bach Dang
Words and images by Ginny Weeks