Com Ga Ba Buoi
Together with the banh mi, Hoi An’s special chicken rice is a must-try. This dish consists only of rice and cooked chicken, served with herbs and pickles, but the perfection of ingredient preparation brings it to another level. The chicken must be raised free range to build up a stronger taste and firm texture, and the rice is cooked in a rich broth.
To round out the taste, an herb basket harvested directly from Tra Que Vegetable Village and homemade pickles make for the perfect toppings. Sophisticatedly balanced and yummy! There are hundreds of com ga shops in Hoi An, but Com Ga Ba Buoi shines among them. Six decades of history, with a profound rice cooking recipe, and an out-of-this-world chicken sauce.
Address: 22 Phan Chau Trinh, Hoi An
Bale Well is easy to miss out due to its rather hidden locale, but locals and savvy travelers have been frequenting this restaurant for its delicious banh xeo (Vietnamese crispy pancakes).
There is no menu available and the staff is not well versed in English, so just grab a seat and they will come to you with savoury banh xeo stuffed with bean sprouts and shrimp, as well as platters of various ingredients. For VND 100,000, you also get grilled pork, fried spring rolls, and pork satay, as well as fresh coriander, mint, basil, pickled vegetables, rice papers, and dipping sauce.
Address: 45/11 Tran Hung Dao Street, Hoi An
At Morning Glory, customers are presented with many options, from classics like quang noodles (yellow rice noodles with shrimps, pork, vegetables and grilled rice paper) and coa lau to more contemporary creations. The owner, Ms Vy, shows her passion for Hoi An traditions and culture. She respects classic recipes by redesigning home-cooking that has been handed down by her grandmother, preserving the authentic flavors.
The restaurant’s historic premises and the building’s façade are an evident reminder of the French colonial period, and the interior is finely decorated for a fine dining experience. Despite being pricier than other restaurants, Morning Glory retains the authenticity and quality of regional food.
Address: 106 Nguyen Thai Hoc street, Hoi An
Quan Dau Bac
Quan Dau Bac is an open-air local restaurant with a simple setup of low tables and chairs facing the bustling Phan Chu Trinh Street. Great for a quick bite before exploring Hoi An Ancient Town, Quan Dau Bac specialises in bun dau mam tom, a Hoi An dish that is served with fermented shrimp dipping sauce.
Due to its affordable price range and close proximity to the Japanese Covered Bridge, Quan Dau Bac is gaining popularity amongst budget-conscious tourists. Try the meatless Vietnamese Tasting Plate (VND 20,000), which consists of deep-fried tofu, rice noodles, cucumber, and fresh herbs.
Address: 147 Phan Chu Trinh Street, Hoi An
Thanh Cao Lau
Cao Lau, the last member of Hoi An’s Holy Food Trinity, should not be missed. Cao Lau is a special ashy noodle of Hoi An, mixed with fragrant dark broth, char-siu pork, fresh herbs, and some fried croutons made from the same noodle. Such an ingredient-rich dish costs only 25,000 VND.
The delicious noodles are made from infusing local rice with the ashes from Cu Lao Cham, creating a uniquely smoky and crispy taste. The water for the broth must be taken from Ba Le Well, which is believed to have the best quality water in Vietnam. Last but not least, the char-siu pork has to be cooked in a sophisticated way that only the local chefs know. The best Cao Lau is made by Ms. Thanh, located on the food street of Thai Phien just outside the historic center of Hoi An. If you ask the locals, they will all point you to this place.
Address: 26 Thai Phien, Hoi An
Banh Mi Phuong
Banh Mi Phuong started out as a traditional banh mi cart that is set nearby Hoi An Central Market. Following a rave review by celebrity Anthony Bourdain, Phuong now offers 12 variations of banh mi and a quaint eatery in Hoi An Ancient Town.
Priced at VND 15,000 onwards, you can have a choice of BBQ pork, cheese, chicken or eggs with pickled vegetables, butter, soy sauce, cilantro, chillies, and hot peppers in a warm crispy French baguette. Set along Phan Chau Trinh Street, Banh Mi Phuong is a short five-minute stroll from Museum of Trade Ceramics.
Address: 2B Phan Chau Trinh Street, Hoi An