Hoi An Street Food

Hoi An Guide | About Hoi An
Mai Fish Restaurant, Hoi An. Cau Lau

One of Hoi An’s most famous street food dishes is Cao Lau. But what other dishes does Hoi An have to offer? Put together by Hoi An Food Safari, this Guide to Hoi An Street Food provides an instructive take on many of the different foods you’ll come across in Hoi An.  

Banh Mi

Bread roll filled with a delectable combination of pork, salad and homemade mayonnaise, pate and spicy sauces. ‘As many of the ingredients are homemade you get quite different results so move around to explore the variety. Look for those that make their own pate, mayonnaise and sauces for the best results.’

Banh Mi, delicious street food of Vietnam
Pho Bo (photo Gulhem Vellut)


Pho is considered Vietnam’s ‘national dish’ due to its widespread popularity. It is food of the common people; bona fide street food. Originally from Hanoi, pho is the ultimate comfort food – flavorsome, warm and piquant. Pho is all about the broth. Traditionally, the broth for pho is made with simmering beef or chicken bones, charred onions and spices such as cinnammon, star anise, ginger, coriander and cloves. The broth is added to flat white rice noodes and meat. Typical accompaniments are lime wedges, chilli sauce, soya sauce, Vietnamese basil and beansprouts. Pho Bo (made with tender beef slices) is more popular than Pho Ca (chicken slices) but both are delicious.

Cau Lau 

A genuine Hoi An specialty with thick yellow noodles and long-cooked pork served in a shallow pork broth with local greens and largish square rice paper ‘croutons’. Noodles are mixed with ash from the Cham Islands and alleged to be prepared using special well water.

Xi Ma

A paste made from black sesame seeds and a secret concoction of herbs and spices. Although it looks like sump oil (and is as sticky) it tastes a little sweet. A real favorite in Hoi An that is used as a digestive aid. Eaten by the locals all day long.

Best Vietnamese Restaurants in Hoi Any_Streets_ Cao Lau
Cao lau, crunchy delicious street food, speciality of Hoi An
Hoi An Food Safari - xi ma
Xi Ma, street food that tastes a lot better than it looks

Dau Hu Tofu

(The type where the soya bean mix emerges in moist blocks with a texture like panacotta). On Hoi An Food Safari tour served with a sweet ginger syrup. Eaten by the locals all day.

Com Ga 

Rice cooked in chicken stock tossed in a wok with shredded boiled chicken, greens, lime juice, onion and chili. Probably influenced by Chinese cuisine.

Mi Quang 

Based on quang-style noodles (ie noodles from Quang Nam province) that are rice noodles flavoured with turmeric. Served with chicken, shrimp, pork or beef and vegetables in an intense meat stock. A ceremonial dish and a popular lunch item.

Banh Dap 

A mixture of crispy rice paper with standard rice paper served with fish sauce. Sometimes served with soya sauce for Westerners. Popular with beer drinkers.

Banana Pancake 

This is a staple you can see by the roadside all over Vietnam: mashed banana deep fried in batter (along with stodgy, gluggy donuts in Hoi An ). If you take this deep-fried route be careful that the oil has been recently changed and that savoury snacks (like pancakes with crabmeat) haven’t been sharing the same oil as the sweet options.

Balut (duck fetus), street food delicacy of Vietnam
Banh Mi Opla, Vietnamese for bread roll with eggs

Trung Vit Lon (duck fetus) 

In Hoi An, around Le Loi and near the central market, you can see some local women with a lightbulb above a tray of eggs. These are boiled fertilised duck eggs that are considered a delicacy by some Vietnamese and a nutritional aid, especially for pregnant women. The general practice of eating Trung Vit Lon appears to be declining. Hoi An Food Safari says: ‘There’s so much great food in the market that I can buy, why would I get this?’

Beetle Nut 

Chewing beetle nut in Hoi An is mainly confined to the older generation. This mild narcotic is mixed with a powder made from snail and clam shells that helps break it down.

Ca Ri 

Local curries of many types eaten with bun noodles or a bread roll (banh mi).

Banh Xeo 

Crispy Pancake. Batter is added to a little shrmp and pork in a pan and bean sprouts are thrown in near the end of the cooking. Served with a fresh herbal salad and the lot is rolled up in rice paper. Dipping sauces include green chili salt mix.

Sinh To 

A mixed fruit drink concoction of everything under the sun with ice and a little condensed milk that you can have smashed or blended. Hoi An Food Safari prefers the smashed version (Sinh To Yum) so individual fruit flavors can still be discerned.

Banh Can 

A crispy pancake with quail eggs.

Op La 

A cross between an omelette, a fried egg and scrambled eggs with maybe a little pork mince and some chopped vegetable. Served with fresh tomato and lettuce on a bread roll (banh mi).

Best Places to Buy Street Food

For cheap eats, you’ll find countless street food vendors and stalls dotted all over Hoi An serving up authentic and delectable Vietnamese dishes, ranging from Pho to Cao Lau to Banh Mi – a safe assumption being that a meal will cost you a quarter of what you’d pay back home.

Thai Phien Street

A short walk outside of the Old Town, is a fantastic part of Hoi An, lined with street food stalls and local joints, so cheap that you’ll hardly notice spending a single dong.

The An Hoi food court, located at the east end of An Hoi Island, as well as the Central Market in the Old Town are packed with eateries selling local food at rock bottom prices that are hard to beat.

Hoi An Food Safari 

Is an unmissable, personalized food tour where you can discover and learn about some of best places for street food in Hoi An.

Written By
Sharon Guest

Primarily a playwright, Sharon has written for magazines and newspapers in many parts of the world. The author of two books, she is also a co-founder of Hoi An Now.

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