Before you start exploring this colorful city, you must enjoy a nice breakfast in Hoi An to get your energy levels set for all the shopping to follow! Do you want to eat breakfast elbow-to-elbow with the locals or are you looking for a western one? From smoothie bowls to the ultimate Vietnamese breakfast, here is a complete guide to the best places to eat a delicious breakfast in Hoi An.
Before naming the best western restaurant and cafes in Hoi An, let’s take a look at what Vietnamese people go for in the morning. Eating local is one of the best parts of traveling. You get to immerse yourself in in a different culture and you might even end up discovering a new favorite dish.
What do Vietnamese people eat for breakfast?
Without doubt, Vietnamese food is one of the best in South-East Asia and while other countries stick to rice and noodles in the morning, the Vietnamese breakfast varies a lot and gives you plenty of dishes to choose from. Below are the most common things Vietnamese people eat for breakfast:
- Banh Mi – Vietnam’s famous sandwich, Banh Mi is definitely something you do not want to miss while in Vietnam. The traditional one is made with pate and roasted pork but there are options to fit everybody’s taste. You can have it with chicken or bacon but you can also have a vegetarian Banh Mi made with cheese, tofu or egg, or the vegan one that’s usually made with avocado and tofu. All of them are stuffed with lots of veggies, pickles and a delicious chili sauce.
- Xoi (sticky rice) – a glutinous rice base with any number of toppings, including fried onions, mung beans, quail eggs and sliced sausage. It might sound unusual if you are not used to Asian cuisine but do not knock it until you have tried it.
- Pho – this is the traditional dish of Vietnam and you will see locals eating it at any mealtime, including breakfast. The main ingredients of pho are noodles and broth with sliced beef or chicken, but you can also find vegetarian options.
- Bun – considered to be one of the most delicious dishes you can have in Vietnam, Bun is a favorite for breakfast in Hoi An. Bun is actually the name for thin vermicelli-like noodles, rather than the thicker pho noodles. There’s also much more variety in the flavors than permitted for pho, so look out for Cha (pork meatballs), Thit Nuong (barbecued meat), Rieu (crab meat), Ca (fried fish) and if you’re feeling brave, Oc (snail). Dishes will vary hugely but as a rule they will contain beansprouts, cucumber, basil, peanuts and mint. As you can with most local food, you’ll easily find a vegetarian version of it.
- Banh Bao (Vietnamese dumplings) – these dumplings are originally from China but the Vietnamese adjusted them in order to satisfy local taste. They are smaller than the Chinese dumplings and the stuffing is based on the available ingredients in Vietnam, including minced pork, mushrooms, vermicelli, sausage, quail eggs or chicken eggs. Banh bao is a very convenient Vietnamese breakfast because you can buy them from numerous vendors along the pavements.
Where to have breakfast in Hoi An
Vietnamese breakfast vendors
Of course, you’re spoiled for choice with Hoi An’s street food selection. Different vendors will specialize in different food – often serving just one dish – so if you’ve something particular in mind, shop around till you find what you’re looking for.
Many street food vendors open very early (from 4.30am) and may finish by 9am so an early start is recommended, although you can still find a few options after this time. There’s also a good selection of restaurants serving Vietnamese food at breakfast time – set your alarm and go get munching!
Phi Banh Mi
Phi, the owner of the place, makes his own special marinade and chili sauce and will even reveal his secrets if you ask nicely: he and his wife Tu both speak great English. There are good breakfast options for vegetarians and vegans too, with cheese and tofu available. Much shorter queues than the celebrated Banh Mi Phoung, which was praised by Anthony Bourdain when he visited Hoi An.
Op La comes from the French ‘oeufs au plat’ and translates roughly as ‘sunny side up’. Served in a piping hot skillet, the dish consists of two runny fried eggs, tomatoes, sausage meat and pork meatballs, topped with a generous handful of mint and a splash of pork stock. Mop all this up with the included baguette or make your own sandwich. Available all over town, the most famous is on Tran Cao Van, opposite the enormous banyan tree. Prices start at 30,000 vnd. (Bonus trivia fact: this Op La stand is run by the sister of Phi Banh Mi. Great breakfasts must run in the family!)
Pho is the dish that is most strongly associated with Vietnam internationally, and it’s imperative that you try the local variants when in Hoi An. There are hundreds of different pho stalls, and whilst we can’t claim to have tried them all, we’ve given it a jolly good go. Pho comes with either beef (bo) or chicken (ga) and usually has bean sprouts, roasted peanuts, spring onions and vegetables, served in a clear broth made from bones (pho chay is the vegetarian equivalent) but each restaurant will work to their own recipe.
Try Hoi An Central Market or Pho Lien (serving Pho for 70 years) for an authentic Vietnamese breakfast.
Central Market and Thai Phien St
If you are on the hunt for an authentic experience and a really delicious Vietnamese breakfast, you have to head to the Central Market in the morning. Here you can have all the dishes mentioned above – Pho, Bun, Banh Cuon or Xoi (sticky rice). Plus, you get to see how locals start their day – double win. Also check out the street vendors along Thai Phien. Delicious noodle dishes reflect local influences with favorites like My Quang and Cao Lau.
An offering from Hoi An’s resident celebrity chef Ms Vy, Morning Glory takes traditional Vietnamese breakfast dishes and makes them luxurious – and pricey. Pho, sticky rice (sweet: coconut, sesame and peanuts, or savoury: pork sausage and spicy onion) and Op La (fried eggs and baguette, as above) are on the menu. There’s also a delectable local waffle offering with cinnamon or honey. Each order of breakfast comes with coffee and juice, and warm and personal service.
Western Breakfast in Hoi An
A charming little venue located just a block away from Ly Thai To this is definitely a place to slow down and relax with one of the best breakfasts in Hoi An. Rosie’s is another good option for vegans and vegetarians too, especially the smoothie bowls – piled high with fruit and chia seeds and made with coconut milk. There’s French toast, avocado and eggs or a cooked breakfast, and all are served on healthy wholemeal. The juices all have charming names with uplifting sentiments like ‘You Are Beautiful’, but if you’d rather indulge in something more decadent, go for the salted caramel milkshake!
If you’re looking for one of the most enviable breakfasts in Hoi An location-wise, then look no further – overlooking An Bang Beach, Soul Kitchen is an Instagram-worthy setting. The breakfast menu itself is relatively limited, with a variety of sandwiches or a fry-up, but there are crepes, cakes, and fresh fruit salads from the dessert menu available too. A BLT will set you back 50,000VND and a coffee 30,000VND. To complete the ‘island paradise’ vibe, we recommend adding a fruit shake and a dip in the ocean.
From the same owner as Morning Glory above, and located just over the road, Cargo has long been a firm favorite with expats. Breakfast starts at 115,000 vnd and each breakfast comes with coffee, juice, bread and fruit. With a typically western range (Eggs Benedict, English breakfast, granola, French toast) there is a nod to Vietnamese cuisine with a noodle soup option. The delicious pastries – served warm – come highly recommended. If you can get a table upstairs overlooking the river, it’s by far the most picturesque breakfast in the Old Town.
Perfect for feeding your hangover or merely for a taste of home, the enormous English breakfast here will keep you full until well after lunchtime. Other great breakfast options are available: beans or eggs on toast, toast and marmite – fantastic thick cuts of bread and possibly the best poached eggs in town, plus they have HP sauce! English owner Tim is always on good form and his long-suffering wife Ly Anh is a superstar both inside and outside the kitchen. Weavers have a great selection of fruit shakes and if you’re there later on, beers and cider too.
Always a popular option with expats and tourists, the quality breakfast menu at Dingo Deli is mid-priced and comes with unlimited coffee or tea refills. The onsite bakery provides freshly baked pastries, breads and all-day breakfasts – from classic fry ups to Eggs Benedict. On the off-chance that you miss McDonalds, there’s a posh (and much improved!) ‘McMuffin’ with sausage, egg and cheese, and for those with a sweeter tooth there’s pancakes or French toast. If you really can’t face getting up or you want to truly indulge with breakfast in bed, they even do home delivery free to your door!
Vegetarian and Vegan Breakfast in Hoi An
Am Vegetarian Restaurant advertises itself as a good ‘coffee and breakfast’ option, with juices starting at 25,000 VND and coffee at 20,000 VND. The food is no different to their lunch and dinner options, but the variety of tasty ‘fake meat’ makes this an attractive proposition for vegetarians. The décor is striking with elegantly draped fabrics and creative artworks creating a sumptuous backdrop to the food. A little away from the center, it’s worth making the pilgrimage to Am Restaurant if you’re not hankering after a particularly ‘breakfast-y’ offering.
Nomad Yoga Cafe
Ticking the box for both vegetarians and vegans, Nomad is the place to go for the healthiest breakfasts in Hoi An. With virtuous juices, luxurious teas and fresh local produce, the focus here is on well-being, nutrition, and sustainability. Overnight oatmeal bowls (available in cocoa and peanut butter or coconut flavors) and ‘nice cream’ bowls (fruit and granola) start at 70,000 VND, or there are toast options from 30,000 VND – both sweet and savory. Nuts, seeds and superfoods abound, and there’s an option to bring your own jar to have it filled with their homemade sauces and pickles. For extra health points, attend one of the yoga classes before or after breakfast!