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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for 5 Best Hoi An Dishes - Unique tastes of Hoi An
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Best Hoi An Dishes - Unique tastes of Hoi An

Visiting Hoi An is like taking a step back through time. In this timeless landscape, there is much to treat yourself on, including some of the best-known dishes in the region.


Cao Lau

The bones of this dish are rice noodles, pork, and croutons. It is usually served with some greens for flavour and balancing of nutrients. Rated among the most popular in Hoi An restaurants, this dish packs a lot of flavours. Rice noodles are rather chewy and might be a surprise to those who have not tried udon before. The pork is barbecued the Chinese way and is served along with a thick gravy. Some places add bean sprouts, fresh herbs, and croutons to this mix. There are other vendors who have become creative with the dish, serving it with scallions, chilli jam, lime, rice crackers, and peanuts. According to the local lore, Cao Lau can be served only in Hoi An because the noodles can be cooked only using the water from an ancient Cham well.


Banh Bao Vac

A delicate dish that may not be within everyone's skill, you are most likely to find this at higher end restaurants like those at Anantara Hoi An Resort. Translating to "White Rose dumplings", these are quite pleasing to both the eye and the taste buds. The dumplings usually contain pork or shrimp filling. The paper-thin rice dough allows the dumpling to be moulded to the shape of a rose, which is then carefully steamed. The cooked Banh Bao Vac is translucent and soft. It is then arranged on a plate and is served with a topping of shallots. The dipping sauce for the dumplings is made of chillies, lemon, and sugar mixed in with shrimp broth.


Com Ga

Com Ga, or chicken rice, is one of the most popular dishes in Southeast Asia. As is evident in the name itself, the dish is pretty simple with only a handful of ingredients. The main carb is fragrant rice. It is accompanied with shredded chicken with a generous serving of black pepper, fresh herbs, and chilli jam. Com Ga is believed to have been originated in China. The fragrance of the rice comes from the pandan leaves and turmeric it is cooked with, and the unique taste is a result of the wood-fire clay ovens. Com Ga is usually served alongside a bowl of clear soup and pickled green chillies.


Mi Quang

A dish of hearty yellow noodles, the sauce is seasoned with black pepper, shallot, and garlic. The noodles are found in a fish sauce, topped with herbs, local greens, and a variety of meats. The traditional meat options for Mi Quang included chicken, beef, and pork. Now, though, restaurants have been known to serve quail eggs, frogs, squid, and frogs as meat options as well. The dish is usually garnished with peanuts, sliced banana flowers, or rice crackers.


Bun Dau Mam Tom

The only dish on this list that is for the vegetarian, the basis of Bun Dau Mam Tom is deep-fried tofu. Cucumber, fresh herbs, and thin rice noodles make the rest of the dish. Some places serve a shrimp paste to go with Bun Dau Mam Tom, but it is best kept in mind that the pungent sauce is an acquired taste. If you find yourself unable to handle the sauce, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a generous sprinkling of black pepper.