Hoi An has a number of tasty specialities to sample. Most famous is cao lau, a mouthwatering bowlful of thick rice-flour noodles, bean sprouts and pork-rind croutons in a light soup flavoured with mint and star anise, topped with thin slices of pork and served with grilled rice-flour crackers or sprinkled with crispy rice paper. Legend has it that the genuine article is cooked using water drawn from one particular local well. Lovers of seafood should try the delicately flavoured steamed manioc-flour parcels of finely diced crab or shrimp called banh bao, translated as “white rose”, with lemon, sugar and nuoc mam, complemented by a crunchy onion-flake topping, adding extra flavour. A local variation of hoanh thanh chien (fried wonton), using shrimp and crab meat instead of pork, is also popular. One less heralded dish (and one of the cheapest) is mi quang, which sees a simple bowl of meat noodles enlivened with the addition of flavoursome oils, a quail egg, fresh sprigs of leaves – few tourists order this dish, and your ordering it may be met with surprise. To fill any remaining gaps, try Hoi An cake, banh it, triangular parcels made by steaming green-bean paste and strands of sweetened coconut in banana leaves.

Many Hoi An restaurants serve these dishes, but one good place to head is the cheap, market-like area at the eastern end of An Hoi Island. It’s a very cute place, with each section demarcated by the name of its chef, and their stated speciality.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Vietnam features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park: Vietnam's last paradise?

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park: Vietnam's last paradise?

Planning a trip to Vietnam and keen to explore some of its most spectacular scenery? A little north of the 17th parallel – the demarcation where Vietnam was o…

18 Apr 2017 • Rachel Mills insert_drive_file Article
7 places to get off the tourist trail in Vietnam

7 places to get off the tourist trail in Vietnam

The verdant limestone stacks of Ha Long Bay and the bustling streets of Hanoi are well established (and essential) stops along Vietnam’s tourist trail. But th…

04 Apr 2017 • Rachel Mills insert_drive_file Article
The 10 most beautiful places in Vietnam – as voted by you

The 10 most beautiful places in Vietnam – as voted by you

Here at Rough Guides we’ve always known that Vietnam is magical. The gleaming skyscrapers of the country's booming cities have a singular kind of beauty that …

27 Jan 2017 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right