Updated July 2022
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 restaurants 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 dishes 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!
Banh Mi vendors with portable carts can be found all over Hoi An and many local bakers also offer very inexpensive traditional roast pork banh mi. The famous Banh Mi Phuong menu has 20 items – including ostrich – but long queues can form so choose your time well. Other favorites include Banh Mi Queen who has been welcoming visitors for decades and Phi Banh Mi who some swear is the best of all. Here there are good breakfast options for vegetarians and vegans too, with cheese and tofu available.
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 – 40,000 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.
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. Breakfast and Brunch specialists, 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!
Perfect for feeding your hangover at An Bang, or merely for a taste of home, the enormous English breakfast here will keep you full until well after lunchtime. Choose between ‘The Big Daddy’, ‘The Full Monty’ or ‘The Full English’ for mouth-watering selections of sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, hash browns, burger patties, beans and tomatoes. Plus they have HP sauce! A fabulous medley of baguettes and kebabs completes the picture. English owner Tim is always in good form and partner 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 one of Hoi An’s most extensive coffee selections. All-day breakfasts (English and American) headline the menu and there’s quiche, pies, French toast, a breakfast burrito and an array of juices, smoothies and shakes. Keenly-priced weekly specials – eg Breakfast Tortilla – move in and out of the menu providing tantalizing variety. The onsite bakery provides freshly baked pastries and breads and there’s Western-oriented deli goods and groceries too.