A Traveler’s Guide to Hoi An, Vietnam: Let’s Eat
Note: This post is all about eating out in Hoi An on a backpacker’s budget with maybe a bit of splurge thrown in there once or twice a week. We call this traveler the ‘Budget Splurger’.
EATING IN HOI AN
Eating in Hoi An gives you over 600 different options so it’s impossible to narrow it down with any real ease. Right off the bat, you can rest assured if there’s a type of cuisine you’re after, you can probably find it here. Indian food, Thai, French…you name it. I’ve narrowed today’s picks down by areas of town.
If you’re into live music, great service and delicious French-influenced cuisine, Soul Kitchen. With the added bonuses of relaxed seating on day beds and cozy chairs, watching the sunset over the ocean, Soul Kitchen should be on every travelers must-do list.
More in the mood for casual, beach-style Mexican food from a California trained chef? Felina Cantina, Felina, Cantina, Felina Cantina. (Sorry, I thought if I said it three times and clicked my heels together I might get to go.) Seriously though, top notch Mexican made with love. Do not miss the guacamole or the margaritas!
Looking for a thin, crispy crust pizza? Luna has about 20 different options to satisfy pizza palettes from complex to simple, meat lovers to vegetarians and even us boring Margarita pizza lovers like me. We’ve also heard excellent reviews on Driftwood but haven’t yet had the chance to personally check it out.
Vegetarian? P&B Restaurant would be my recommendation. You’ve got the option to order from an incredible set menu that changes nightly using fresh, healthy ingredients from the day or from the medium sized a la carte menu. Pro Tip: You are able to share 1 set menu for 2 people. We did also order 1 extra a la carte dish but it was the perfect amount of food for 2…maybe even a bit too much!
Seawood delivers an outstanding traditional Vietnamese meal made in the family home and served piping hot. The garden is lovely and a small section is even covered so you can sit outside in the rain. Inside, the tables are adorned with photos of the owner and his family Vegetarian and meat lover options widely available, large menu, solid prices.
Mr. Son’s at The Night Market
For the most traditional experience, go to the Night Market and visit Mr. Son’s. The Night Market is NOT where the Central Market is fully active during the day but about 2kms away. Check the map. There are probably 15-20 different food stalls and Mr. Son’s is one of them. The stalls rotate every few weeks to give everyone a fair chance to be in the front. We fell in love with Mr. Son’s but see what calls your name. Fair warning – you’ll be sitting in stools at one long, shared metal table. If this is too much for you to handle…
Cafe 43 is my next suggestion and by far my favourite casual restaurant in Hoi An at the moment. With an extensive menu that covers everyone from vegans to vegetarians, meat or seafood lovers and even a few Western food items, you could literally eat here all week and try something new every time. Some absolute favourites are the Crispy Tofu (trust me!) and the Fried Wonton. The Bahn Xeo (Vietnamese Pancake) is nice but I prefered the one at Bon Restaurant or go to Am Restaurant and try the Japansese Pancake. Another big plus for Cafe 43 is that the fresh beer is 3,000 dong / glass. Go ahead…do the conversion. Yes, it’s THAT cheap and it’s actually quite good.
For vegetarian food, check out Am Restaurant. It’s run by a wonderful woman who has made the restaurant almost feel like the interior of a small temple with her eclectic, energising design style. She will guide you through the menu personally and make recommendations for you. No matter what she says, do not miss the Japanese Pancake. OMG. Everything else we tried was also delicious but…wow…that pancake.
Another option for you to check out is Minh Hein. It’s across the road from Cafe 43 and one of the top vegetarian restaurants in Hoi An. They also offer cooking classes and food tours from an incredibly nice, welcoming family.
Craving guacamole? I always am! And, can wholeheartedly vouch for the nachos and guacamole at Hola Taco. Awesome vibe, great energy, hands-on owners and excellent margaritas. Strongly recommend the pork tacos, too.
A fusion restaurant of sorts, Nu Eatery, should be on every food lovers list coming to Hoi An. It’s traditional Vietnamese food but with an exciting, innovative twist to each and every course. Set inside an incredible former home in the Ancient Town, guests are invited to sit in your choice of three dining rooms or a beautiful balcony overlooking town.
WHAT ABOUT BREAKFAST?
Great question. We’ve actually found it challenging to find awesome breakfast spots in Hoi An with great frequency but the ones we have found, we can strongly stand behind and highly recommend. Be sure to check out Dingo Deli for a delicious, gourmet Western breakfast of Eggs Benedict, omelettes and more available ALL DAY LONG! We’ve also had great breakfasts at Cargo Club (served until 11:30 am only) and The Hill Station which also boasts an epic cheese selection…something rare in Vietnam.