Monika Czerveniak is an Austrian-born, Vancouver-based expat who has been popping in and out of Hoi An since 2010. Monika is an outspoken free-thinker who likes to stir the pot both literally and figuratively. A retired chef, Monika has organized a number of private culinary tours of Vietnam through her Vancouver-based business, Chowdown Vietnam. Her newest project, Fearless Cooking, has just gone live on YouTube and aims to mitigate everyday stresses in the kitchen.
You can check out Monika’s Youtube channel Fearless Cooking here.
Learn more about Chowdown Vietnam’s private tours here.
Five best things to do with
a visiting friend
Paddle boarding with Hoi An Kayaking
The best way to get away from it all is to go out paddle boarding. I really enjoy the stand up paddle boarding at Hoi An Kayaking at sunrise. It is such a release.
Explore Cam Kim by bike
I suggest anyone visiting Hoi An get on a bike ride out to Cam Kim. There is so much to be seen out there from food, to crafts, to artisan work. And if you can’t get there by bike it is also easily accessible by car.
Stay at the Tan Thanh Garden Homestay
If anyone is coming to visit Hoi An I suggest they stay at the Tan Thanh Garden Homestay. This place has everything you need. The staff is wonderful and it has a great natural Vietnamese vibe with greenery everywhere. Check out the adjacent Sound Of Silence coffee house. This place is the best — and like the name suggests very, very quiet.
Bike to Duy Hai and learn how fish sauce is made
If you’re still up for a bike ride, head across the Cua Dai bridge to Hui Dui and watch the aunties make fish sauce. It is an easy bike ride over and they are more than happy to share a little bit about it. Great photo opportunity too.
Watch the sunset from Cam Nam
End your day in Cam Nam and watch the sunset. To me it is the best view in town. There are plenty of little riverfront terrace restaurants where you can relax at happy hour and watch the town light up from across the river. Make sure to bring your camera.
And here are my top five favorites around town
Best tour: Hoi An Food Safari
The Hoi An Food Safari is by far the best tour in town. They make sure to take you to all of the out-of-the-way places. Money well spent for sure!
Best value for money: Pho Hoa
Pho Hoa has the best pho in town. You can get a very satisfying portion of soup or rice for about 50,000 VND. I also suggest trying their funky cone shaped spring rolls. They’re a cool new take on a standard dish and delicious to boot.
Best happy hour: Hoa Hien
Hoa Hien has everything you need for a nice happy hour. From 4-6 PM you can sit in their colorful restaurant by the river and enjoy half price cocktails.
Best coffee: Espresso Station
Espresso Station does far more than just serve a wonderful cup of coffee — I would call what they’re doing ‘coffee art.’ Their drinks are so creative and always have me going back.
Best Vegetarian: Am Vegetarian
I swear by Am Vegetarian. Their dishes are always delicious and very avant grade (as far as vegetarian food goes). My favorite is their vegetarian take on the Japanese okonomiyaki that they do with rice paper. It’s delicious!
Finish this sentence:
You know you have been living in Vietnam a long time when…?
When you start swearing in Vietnamese. It just comes naturally to me now.