The Best Central Vietnamese Cuisine

Renowned for its timeless charm, Hoi An’s Old Town with its quaint shops and ancient streets evoking a bygone era is a cultural gem with much to offer. But beyond its poetic landscapes, this city has played a crucial role as a thriving trading port in Vietnam, enriching its culture and, most notably, its gastronomy.

Hoi An’s culinary richness reflects its vibrant commercial history. Influences from merchants and sailors who flocked to this once prosperous port are evident in every traditional dish.

Hoi An’s street food is an exquisite blend of flavors, appreciated not only by Vietnamese palates but also by food enthusiasts worldwide. Specialties like the famous Cơm Gà (chicken rice), Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancakes), and Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich) have won the hearts of visitors with their authentic flavors and unique textures.

For discerning gourmets and curious travelers, this article is an essential guide unveiling the top 12 street food delights in Hoi An. Whether you’re seeking a simple dish or a bold gastronomic experience, you’ll find dishes in this list that will awaken your senses and delight your palate. Join us to discover the culinary highlights of this historic city, where every bite tells a story of commerce, culture, and community.

1. Banh Mi

2 Banh Mi à Hoi An

Banh Mi stands out as a must-try in street food cuisine. This Vietnamese sandwich, a legacy of the French colonial era, is a classic reimagined by the expertise and creativity of Hoi An locals.

Renowned for its unique taste, Hoi An’s Banh Mi is distinguished by its crispy, light baguette, striking a perfect balance between delicacy and flavors.

Carefully chosen natural and local ingredients make all the difference. The use of fresh, non-industrial products gives this sandwich flavors that transcend those of ordinary bread.

Inside, a feast of textures and flavors awaits: savory meats, delicate charcuterie, rich pâté, creamy homemade sauces, and crunchy vegetables. Each bite is a celebration of the senses, a harmony of flavors that makes Hoi An’s Banh Mi a symbol of Vietnamese culinary culture.

Don’t miss the chance to taste this “world’s best snack,” as dubbed by international travelers.

Here are some renowned spots known for their exceptional Banh Mi:

  1. Banh Mi Phuong: Located at 2B Phan Chau Trinh Street, Hoi An, this spot is open from 6:30 AM to 9:30 PM. With prices starting at just €0.85, it’s an opportunity not to be missed.
  2. Banh Mi Queen’s Hoi An (Mrs. Khanh): At 115 Tran Cao Van Street, Hoi An, open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Banh Mi starts from €0.85.
  3. Banh Mi Lanh: You’ll find it at 430 Cua Dai Street, Hoi An, open from 6:00 AM to 9:30 PM, with prices starting from €0.85.

2. Cao Lau Hoi An – Pork Rice Noodles

Plat Cao Lau à Hoi An

Among the must-try street foods during your visit to Hoi An, Cao Lau holds a special place. This ancestral dish, rich in history, has been part of the culinary heritage of the charming old town for centuries.

Cao Lau stands out distinctly from other Vietnamese noodles. Its unique, firmer texture and dull yellow noodles result from a meticulous manufacturing process. Unlike “Pho,” “Bun,” or “Banh Mi” soaked in their broths or sauces, Cao Lau is traditionally served with a light broth, often complemented with shrimp, slices of roasted pork, and fresh crunchy herbs.

While some may find similarities with “Mi Quang,” the making of Cao Lau noodles is much more complex. To achieve that golden crispy texture, the noodles are prepared with special water enriched with wood ash from Cu Lao Cham Island, giving them their unique texture.

It’s worth noting that Cao Lau is the culinary specialty of Hoi An and is only sold in this city. If you eat it in another city, the noodles must come from here unlike Pho noodles.

Among the renowned establishments in Hoi An:

  1. Cao Lau Ba Be: Located at the beginning of Hoi An Market – Opening Hours: 2:00 PM – 10:00 PM – Price Range: €1 – €2
  2. Cao Lau Thanh: No. 26, Thai Phien Street, Hoi An City – Opening Hours: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM – Price Range: €0.8 – €1.5
  3. Cao Lau Khong Gian Xanh Restaurant: 687 Hai Ba Trung Street, Hoi An City – Opening Hours: 9:30 AM – 9:00 PM – Price Range: €1 – €5

3. Mi Quang

mi quang hoi an

Mi Quang embodies the culinary excellence of Quang Nam province and is a must-try dish along the bustling streets of Hoi An. This dish, both rich and flavorful, is an essential culinary stop for anyone visiting this picturesque city.

Made with noodles crafted from finely ground rice flour, Mi Quang stands out for its unique preparation. The noodles are traditionally coated in thin layers of rice before being cut into strips about 2mm thick. For optimal texture, rice flour is often mixed with selected additives that make the noodles both crispy and resilient to the bite.

At the base of the Mi Quang bowl are fresh, crunchy vegetables, while the noodles are topped with lean pork, juicy shrimp, and sometimes chicken, all drizzled with a rich, aromatic broth prepared from pork bones. To enhance taste and texture, crushed roasted peanuts, finely chopped green onions, aromatic herbs, and slices of red chili are added.

Mi Quang’s broth is known for its reduced consistency, concentrating the sweet flavors of pork bones. Hard-boiled eggs, chicken meat, and crispy rice crackers are often included, adding an extra dimension to this delicate dish.

Here are some famous places to enjoy Mi Quang in Hoi An as listed below:

  • Mi Quang Ong Hai: 6A Truong Minh Luong Street, Hoi An City – Opening Hours: 06:00 – 22:00 – Price: €0.8 – €2 per bowl
  • Mi Quang Di Hat: No 4 Phan Chau Trinh Street, Hoi An City – Opening Hours: 17:00 – 22:00 – Price: €0.8 – €1.3 per bowl
  • Mi Quang Ba Minh: Cam Ha, Hoi An City, Quang Nam (along the Thu Bon River) – Opening Hours: 07:00 – 21:00 – Price: €1.3 – €2.5 per bowl

4. Com Ga Hoi An – Hoi An’s Chicken Rice

com ga hoi an riz poulet

Another culinary gem that reigns supreme in street food is Com Ga Hoi An, or Hoi An’s Chicken Rice. Since the 1950s, chicken rice has become iconic to the city, and Madame Buoi’s version has become a true institution, reflecting Hoi An’s gastronomic evolution.

Madame Buoi’s Com Ga stands out from other interpretations of the dish due to its exclusive use of free-range chickens. This emphasis on quality is evident in the variety of dishes served: boiled chicken rice, shredded chicken, and even chicken heart pieces.

This dish, the epitome of Hoi An’s culinary finesse, showcases perfectly cooked, tender, and aromatic rice. The chicken, neither as standardized as industrial varieties nor too firm like older breeds, is shredded and carefully seasoned with fresh onions, fried shallots, pepper, salt, and laksa leaves, offering an explosion of flavors.

Com Ga is typically served with onions, marinated papaya, fresh coriander, soy sauce, chili sauce, and a rich heart, liver, and chicken soup. This specialty perfectly illustrates the refinement of Hoi An’s cuisine and the meticulousness of its inhabitants in their culinary art.

Here is a list of some good places to try Com Ga Hoi An:

  • Com Ga Ba Buoi: No 26, Phan Chau Trinh Street – Opening hours: 10:30 AM – 8:00 PM – Average price: €2.5 – €3.5 per dish
  • Com Ga Ba Nga: No 08 Phan Chau Trinh Street, Hoi An City – Opening hours: 9:00 AM – 9:30 PM – Average price: €1.5 – €2.5 per dish
  • Huong Com Ga: No 56 Le Loi Street, Hoi An City – Opening hours: 9:00 AM – 9:30 PM – Average price: €1.2 – €2.5 per dish

5. Banh Bao Banh Vac – White Rose

white rose hoi an banh bao vac

Banh Bao Banh Vac is an iconic culinary specialty of Hoi An city. This dish, highly appreciated by locals, is famous for its delicate appearance resembling a blooming rose, earning it the nickname “White Rose” among English speakers.

These two types of dumplings, though different, are traditionally served together, accompanied by a flavorful sauce. Banh Vac is usually filled with shrimp, garlic, spring onion, lemongrass, and various spices, offering a rich and fragrant taste experience. In contrast, Banh Bao is filled with a delicate mixture of minced pork and mushrooms, providing a complementary texture and flavor.

These delicate dumplings are often served with a sweet dipping sauce that enhances their subtle flavor.

To taste the best of these dumplings in Hoi An, Mr. Tran Tuan Ngai’s restaurant comes highly recommended.

  • Address: 533 Hai Ba Trung Street, Hoi An City.
  • Opening hours: From 7:00 AM to 8:30 PM.

Prices: With approximately €3, you can enjoy a dish that delights both the eyes and the palate.

6. Banh Xeo – Vietnamese Crepe

Plat Banh Xeo à Hoi An

Vietnamese crepes, known as Bánh Xèo, are a true celebration of flavors and textures. The base of these crispy crepes is a light batter made from pure rice flour, enhanced by the richness of coconut milk and the vibrant color of turmeric. The filling is equally delicious, typically consisting of slices of pork, juicy shrimp, crunchy bean sprouts, and tenderly cooked green beans.

The accompaniment of fresh vegetables is an essential aspect of this dish. Crisp lettuce and a variety of aromatic herbs complement the crepe, offering a perfect balance of hot and cold, crispy and tender.

But it is the sauce that is the real star of the dish, bringing all the components together. This sauce is an exquisite blend of quality fish sauce, enhanced by the warmth of crushed garlic and chili, the acidity of lemon, the sweetness of sugar, and the crunchy texture of finely chopped radishes and carrots, all balanced with a hint of vinegar. The sauce not only coats the crepes; it transforms them into an unforgettable culinary experience.

Vietnamese crepes are more than just a dish; they are an interactive and social experience. Diners are invited to wrap pieces of crispy crepe and their fillings in the vegetables, then generously dip them in the sauce before savoring. Each bite is an exploration of the flavors and textures that characterize Vietnamese cuisine, making Bánh Xèo particularly special and beloved.

Here are a few places to enjoy Banh Xeo in Hoi An:

  • Banh Xeo Quang Gieng Ba Le: 45/51 Tran Hung Dao Street, Hoi An City – Opening hours: 08:00 AM – 10:00 PM – Prices: €0.5
  • Banh Xeo Hai Dao: 160 Ly Thai To Street, Hoi An City – Opening hours: 07:00 AM – 10:00 PM – Prices: €1 – €2
  • Banh Xeo Hai Nam: 409 Hai Ba Trung Street, Hoi An City – Opening hours: 07:00 AM – 10:00 PM – Prices: €0.5 – €1.5

7. Banh Dap

banh dap hoi an

Banh Dap, also known as Banh Chap in some regions, is a cherished culinary specialty of the coastal provinces in central Vietnam, stretching from Quang Nam to Khanh Hoa. However, this dish has gained particular fame as an essential street food on Cam Nam Island in Hoi An.

The term “Dap” means “to hit” or “to beat,” referring to the preparation method where the cake is lightly beaten or pressed before consumption. Banh Dap harmoniously combines two textures: the soft and moist Banh Uot (a thin and wet rice pancake) and the crispy rice paper. The layer of Banh Uot is typically filled with flavored fat, green onions, and green beans, creating a delicate blend of flavors.

Depending on the region, Banh Dap may be accompanied by shrimp, boiled pork, or grilled meat, offering a variety of flavors to satisfy every palate.

For those looking to taste this delight in Hoi An, here are some recommended places:

  • Banh Dap Hoi An: 679 Hai Ba Trung Street, Hoi An City – Prices: €0.8 – €2.5
  • Banh Dap Ba Gia Hoi An: Cam Nam Area, Hoi An City – Prices: €1 – €2.5

8. Hoanh Thanh – Wonton

wonton hoi an 1

In Hoi An, Hoanh Thanh, or wontons, are a major culinary attraction, captivating thousands of visitors not only with their exquisite and distinct taste but also as an unmissable specialty of this historic city. Hoanh Thanh comes in several versions, but the most remarkable are undoubtedly wontons in soup (Hoanh Thanh nuoc) and fried wontons (Hoanh Thanh Chien).

Hoanh Thanh nuoc is appreciated for its rich and flavorful broth, a true delight for the taste buds, while Hoanh Thanh Chien is famous for its irresistible crispiness, thanks to pieces of fried bread that accompany it.

As you savor Hoanh Thanh, you will experience a spectrum of taste sensations: the sweetness of shrimp harmoniously blends into the airy texture of the dough, while the acidity of tomatoes combines with the strong taste of onions, creating an indescribable symphony of flavors.

Here are some places to enjoy Hoanh Thanh in Hoi An:

  • Anh Dung Fried Wontons: No 14 Ba Trieu Street, Hoi An City – Opening Hours: 07:00 – 21:00 – Prices: €1 – €1.5
  • Thanh Thanh Restaurant: 152 Tran Phu Street, Hoi An City – Opening Hours: 07:00 – 22:00 – Prices: €1.5 – €3

9. Banh Beo

banh beo hoi an

This small rice cake, often enjoyed as a breakfast dish or an afternoon snack by locals, is a true symbol of Hoi An’s gastronomy. It is so popular that in some places, it can be difficult to find a seat to enjoy it.

Banh Beo is distinguished by its unique texture: a soft base topped with a crispy fried meat piece. It is usually served with a spicy sauce and a sour sauce, which balance the sweetness of the rice cake with a spicy and tangy touch.

For those looking for a less greasy option, it is possible to ask the restaurant to omit the crispy part of the fried meat. This flexibility makes Banh Beo a dish adaptable to everyone’s tastes without losing its essence.

If you’re not sure where to try Banh Beo, here are a few suggestions:

  • Banh Beo – Banh Nam Mrs. Bay: No 02 Hoang Van Thu Street, Hoi An City – Opening Hours: 14:00 – 17:00 – Prices: €0.5 – €0.8
  • Banh Beo 17: No 17 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoi An City – Opening Hours: 19:00 – 22:00 – Prices: €0.5 – €0.8

10. Hen Tron

hen tron specialite culinaire hoi an

Hen Tron, or clam salad, is a traditional culinary specialty of Cam Nam Island in Hoi An. This dish, deeply rooted in the local gastronomic culture, is prepared with freshly harvested clams from the waters of the Thu Bon River and its tributaries, ensuring undeniable freshness and quality.

The clams, after being carefully boiled, are stir-fried with a variety of vegetables and an array of ingredients that awaken the taste buds: onions, fresh pepper, chili for heat, ginger for a spicy note, and peanuts for a touch of crunchiness. Each component is carefully chosen to create a perfect balance of different flavors and textures.

But the Hen Tron experience doesn’t stop there. The clams are usually served with rice crackers. These are not just a side but a key element of the tasting ritual. You use these crispy crackers as an edible spoon to enjoy the clams and soak them in sauce, transforming each bite into a moment of pure delight.

You can find the best Hen Tron at:

  • Quan An Ben Tre: Xuyen Trung, Cam Nam, Hoi An – Opening hours: 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM – Prices: around €2.15
  • Dung Van: Luong Nhu Bich Street, Cam Nam District, Hoi An City – Prices: €0.8 – €2.5

11. Bánh Bot Loc

banh bao loc hoi an specialite culinaire

Known for its unique texture and distinctive taste, this dish is a highly appreciated snack for its delicious qualities and exceptional accompanying sauce.

Originating from Hué, the imperial city famous for its cultural and historical richness dating back to the Nguyen dynasty, Banh Bot Loc has traversed centuries to become a symbol of Vietnamese gastronomy. Today, this specialty is not only enjoyed in Hue but also in Hoi An, where the dish has been skillfully adopted and adapted.

Banh Bot Loc comes in several variations. The most well-known is the distinction between Banh Bot Loc wrapped in a banana leaf, known as Banh Bot Loc La, and the leafless version called Banh Bot Loc Tran. Each form offers a different experience: the banana leaf adds a subtle aromatic note and allows for a traditional presentation, while the leafless version highlights the gelatinous texture of the tapioca dumpling.

As for the filling, there are numerous variations. Some prefer whole shrimp, sometimes with their shells for a crunchier texture, while others opt for peeled shrimp or a mixture of minced pork, each bringing its own flavor and texture to the dish.

To try Banh Bot Loc in Hoi An:

Bà Bảy: 2 Hoang Van Thu Street, Hoi An – Price: 30,000 VND for a plate of Banh Bot Loc (approximately €1.30)

Bánh bột lọc CÔ BÉ: 115 Nguyen Truong Street, Minh An, Hoi An – Price: €1

12. Seafood

When one mentions a coastal town, seafood immediately comes to mind. Hoi An, with its undeniable charm, is located in the heart of central Vietnam. It is distinguished by its peaceful ancient town, calm river, and pristine beaches. Here, seafood is not only fresh but also reflects an authentic local fishing tradition.

Cua Dai Beach is a true haven for seafood lovers in Hoi An. Whether you’re tempted by juicy scallops, succulent crabs, delicate shrimp, tender octopus, flavorful squid, fragrant mussels, freshly caught fish, or sea snails, this beautiful beach offers a variety of choices that will satisfy every palate.

Many people might think that seafood is similar no matter where you go. But in Hoi An, local spices and traditional cooking methods bring a unique touch that distinctly sets these dishes apart from what you might find elsewhere. It is in the subtlety of flavors and the quality of preparation that the uniqueness of Hoi An’s seafood lies.

For a complete experience, numerous establishments along Cua Dai Beach are ready to welcome you. Each local vendor has their own way of preparing and serving seafood, ensuring you an authentic and memorable experience. Come taste for yourself and discover the difference that Hoi An can offer.

In 2011, I fell in love with Vietnam after traveling extensively across the country for a month. In 2012, I decided to settle in Hoi An. In 2014, I launched "Good Morning Hoi An," a tourist site that reflects my passion for this magical place. I dedicate myself to guiding visitors through authentic experiences, helping them discover the unique charm of Hoi An as well as Da Nang, from its exquisite cuisine to its age-old traditions. This is my story, that of a Frenchman who found his second home. My email:

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