During our recent trip to Hoi An in Central Vietnam, we devoured a wide array of cheap and delicious local dishes – from wonderful White Rose dumplings to the best Bánh Khọt to the choicest Cao lầu, we really were in food heaven!

After several weeks spent sampling various specialities, here is our foodies guide to the best local Vietnamese street food dishes you must try, plus some other heavenly Hoi An food related experiences.

White Rose

White Rose is a Hoi An specialty and you cannot leave Vietnam without trying them! They are small dumplings made from translucent white dough which are filled with minced shrimp or pork, topped with crunchy bits of garlic and served with a sweet dipping sauce. The dumpling looks like a white flower which is where it’s name originates from.

The best place to try these are at the White Rose Restaurant (533 Hai Bà Trưng). Most of Hoi An’s White Rose dumplings are made by the family who work there and distributed to many restaurants in town.

The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | white rose

Fried Wonton (Hoi An pizza)

Fried wontons look a bit like pizza but instead have a light and crispy dough base, which are then topped with tomato sauce, prawns, coriander and other veggies. We ate this dish at the White Rose Restaurant again and the version we tried had a small pocket in the dough base which was filled with pork – yum!

The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | Fried wonton pizza

Bánh Mì

Bánh Mì is an iconic Vietnamese dish and is consistently ranked as one of the world’s best sandwiches. A Banh Mì consists of a crunchy french baguette filled with meats such as pork, pâté, or ham, coriander. And vegetables such as radish, carrot, and cucumber. Sometimes an egg is added too and always a dash of chilli sauce!

The most popular places in Hoi An to try Bánh Mì is at Banh Mi Phuong (once visited by the great Anthony Bourdain), and Madam Phuong. Expect very long queues at both restaurants so try and arrive early before the lunch rush!

The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | banh mi

Bánh Bèo (Steamed Rice Water Fern Cake)

Bánh Bèo was one of our favourite things to eat in Hoi An. They are small steamed cakes made from rice flour, fish sauce and dried shrimps – which are then topped with deep-fried cao lầu noodles and a special sauce made from ground pork, shrimp and wood ear mushrooms. You eat the dish with a wooden stick/spoon to help scoop out the contents from the small bowl. It is usually eaten as a late afternoon snack and a small bowl will cost around 2000 VND a portion.

We tried this dish on an Afternoon Street Food Walking Tour with Hoi An Food Tour, but apparently you can also try it at Bánh Bèo Chén (48 Trần Phú) or Aunt Bay’s “Banh Bèo” restaurant on the corner of the old wall on Hoang Van Thu Street (open late afternoon).

The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | banh beo
The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | banh beo

Mì Quảng

Mì Quảng is a delicious noodle dish comprising of soft flat wide rice noodles, hard boiled quail eggs and slices of pork – mixed with Vietnamese herbs, lettuce, crushed peanuts and a small amount of intensely flavoured broth. It is a popular breakfast dish, but you can also find it for lunch. Some places will dye the noodles yellow using either food colouring or turmeric powder.

The best version of Mì Quảng we tasted was at the STREETS Restaurant’s Oodles of Noodles noodle making class during our Classic Vietnam tour with G Adventures. I think you can only do the class as part of this particular tour, but try eating at their restaurant to enjoy this tasty dish.

The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | mi quang

Cao Lầu

The Cao Lầu dish comprises of the signature Cao Lầu noodles which can only be made in Hoi An with water from the Ba Le Well. The water is mixed with a specific type of ash from local trees to create a lye solution. The noodles are plump like Japanese udon noodles, but have a rough and chewy texture. Because of the ash from the water.

A traditional bowl of Cao Lầu will include slices of barbecue pork, croutons (made from dried cao lầu noodles), bean sprouts, lettuce, Vietnamese herbs and a small amount of broth.

We tried a version of this at the Central Market for 30,000 VND, but we saw several street food stalls in Hoi An selling this dish for as low as 20,000 VND.

The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | cao lau

Bún Bò Noodle Soup

Bún bò is a popular Vietnamese noodle soup containing rice vermicelli, beef, Vietnamese herbs, lemongrass and a rich and spicy meaty stock. Add extra chilli for flavour! The dish originates from the nearby town on Hue, but is a very popular street food dish across central Vietnam.

We tried the dish (pictured below) on an Afternoon Street Food Walking Tour with Hoi An Food Tour.

The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | bun beef noodle soup

Vietnamese spring rolls are my favourite type of Asian spring rolls. And you will not have any trouble in Hoi An finding some delicious ones. The fillings usually contain minced pork, shrimps, and mushrooms. Which are mixed together before being wrapped with rice paper and deep fried in hot oil. Many places serve them with rice bun vermicelli noodles, herbs, lettuce and a dipping sauce.

Try the spring rolls at Com Linh restaurant (43 Phan Chu Trinh) as we really enjoyed eating them from there!

The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | spring rolls

Bánh Xèo (Hoi An Crispy Pancakes)

The Bánh Xèo is a savory crispy crepe made of rice flour which is deep fried with a filling of bean sprouts, pork, prawns or vegetables. The yellow colour comes from the tumeric used as one of the ingredients.

We ate a delicious version of this dish at a restaurant called Com Linh (43 Phan Chu Trinh). Where we were shown the correct way to eat it. To do this you must take a piece of the Bánh Xèo and place it onto a sheet of rice paper. Add some mint and lettuce before rolling it up like a spring roll and dunking it into some dipping sauce!

The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | banh xeo

Bánh Khọt 
(Savoury Coconut Pancake)

These bite sized small tarts of fried rice flour batter and coconut milk are super tasty. And can be eaten any time of day. As a snack or several as a meal. They are usually sprinkled with spring onion, but sometimes topped with prawns. They are crunchy on the outside but moist on the inside. Warning…they are very addictive and you will find yourself eating several!

We saw many stall holders selling these around Hoi An. So they shouldn’t be too hard to find if you want to try them!

The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | banh khot

Xi Ma (Black Sesame Sweet Soup)

This dessert dish looks a little uninviting but it tasted ok! Xi Ma is a hot thick, black syrup which gets its colour from black sesame seeds (the main ingredient). And it is said to have strong healing properties. It is usually sold by street vendors and eaten as a mid afternoon snack. A bowl will usually cost around 10,000 VND.

We tried the dish (pictured below) on an Afternoon Street Food Walking Tour with Hoi An Food Tour.

The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | black sesame soup
The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | black sesame soup

Hoi An Central Market

The food hall in Hoi An Central Market is a lively place to eat and you will find a wide variety of cheap local street food dishes. Prices are usually around 30,000 VND for a bowl of noodles. There are around 25 stalls and the majority of them are tourist friendly with english menus! The food hall is open every day from 6am to 7pm.

The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | central market
The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | central market
Vegetarian Mi Quang noodle and vegetarian Cau Lao – 30,000 VND each
The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | central market
The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | central market

Hoi An Food tours

If you are a foodie and fancy eating your way around some hidden local spots in Hoi An which are a little off the beaten track then I highly recommend Hoi An Food Tours. They offer a variety of different food tours to suit your schedule including ones where you visit local places whilst riding on the back of a moped! We enjoyed the 4 hour Afternoon Street Food Walking Tour which also included a visit to a local’s house for a huge Vietnamese feast!

The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | food tour
The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | food tour
The best street food to try in Hoi An, Vietnam blog post | food tour

After trying many delicious dishes in Vietnam, you may want to recreate them back at home. We booked an inexpensive, morning cooking class with Hoi An Eco Cooking Class. Which also included a visit to a local market and a bamboo basket boat ride!

We cooked so many Vietnamese dishes including Phở Bò (beef noodle soup), Banh Xèo and fresh springs rolls. After preparing the dishes we then sat down to eat them with a nice cold beer. It was such a huge feast! The class was very entertaining and it was the perfect rainy day activity (we visited during a very wet December).

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