Hoi An, located on the central coast of Vietnam, is a charming ancient town known for its old-world architecture, lantern-lit streets, and mouthwatering cuisine. While there are many delicious restaurants in Hoi An, one of the best ways to experience the diversity of Hoianese food is to embark on a street food trail. Wandering the narrow alleys and bustling markets, you’ll get to try authentic local dishes for a fraction of the restaurant prices. Whether you’re on foot or cycling through the atmospheric backstreets, here are 10 must-try street food trails to add to your Hoi An itinerary.
1. Cao Lau – The Legendary Hoi An Noodle Dish
Cao lau is the iconic noodle dish of Hoi An and a must-try for any visitor. The brothless noodles are made from rice flour and are served with slices of pork, local greens, and croutons. Legend has it that the water used to make cao lau can only come from Ba Le Well in Hoi An, giving the noodles their uniquely textured flavor. Head to popular joints like Mrs. Be’s Cao Lau or Phuong My Cao Lau, where a steaming bowl of cao lau costs around 25,000 VND. Grab a plastic stool on the sidewalk, dig into the hearty noodles, and watch the world go by.
- Rice flour noodles stewed in pork broth
- Topped with greens, pork slices, croutons
- Uses water from Ba Le Well
- Authentic local dish
- Convenient sidewalk eateries
- Only found in Hoi An
- Some places use MSG
To taste Hoi An’s celebrated signature dish, a bowl of cao lau is a must on any street food agenda.
2. Banh Mi Phuong – The Famous Hoi An Banh Mi
For the quintessential Hoi An street food experience, join the queue at Banh Mi Phuong’s cart in the bustling central market. Run by a local family for decades, it’s renowned as the best banh mi in town – Vietnamese baguettes stuffed with meats, pâté, pickled veggies and chili. The pork combo banh mi bursting with flavors is the highlight. You can grab a stool and savor the freshly made sandwiches right on the spot for around 20,000 VND each.
- Crunchy Vietnamese baguette
- Stuffed with pork, pâté, vegetables, chili
- Made fresh to order at the cart
- Amazing flavor combinations
- Very popular with locals
- Inexpensive street food
- Expect to wait in a queue
- Seating is limited
For the ultimate banh mi experience in Hoi An, join the pilgrimage to Banh Mi Phuong’s famed sandwiches.
3. White Rose Dumplings – A Hoi An Specialty
White rose dumplings are a delicate Hoianese specialty not to be missed. The transparent dumplings are made from rice flour and shaped like flowers, filled with minced shrimp and pork. Head to White Rose Restaurant on Phan Chau Trinh Street where they make hundreds of dumplings fresh daily. Watch the expert ladies skillfully wrap each dumpling before sampling a batch yourself – they’re plump, tasty and surprisingly cheap.
- Rice flour dumplings shaped like roses
- Stuffed with shrimp and pork
- Made fresh in front of you
- Delicate and delicious flavors
- Fun experience watching them being made
- Inexpensive snack or meal
- Only found in Hoi An
- Some foreigners can’t handle the shrimp
Don’t leave Hoi An without sampling the graceful white rose dumplings, a tasty local delicacy.
4. Hoi An Grilled Rice Paper – Unique Street Treat
For an only-in-Hoi An treat, keep an eye out for grilled rice paper topped with egg, shrimp, pork or spring rolls. Vendors set up mobile carts and grills along Tran Phu Street in the evenings, using hot charcoal to delicately toast the thin rice paper sheets. The crisp texture paired with the savory fillings makes a tasty snack as you explore. A single grilled rice paper sheet costs around 15,000 VND – perfect if you want to sample a variety without filling up.
- Thin rice paper grilled over charcoal
- Topped with egg, shrimp, pork or spring rolls
- Sold from mobile carts in the evenings
- Crispy, savory street food treat
- Unique to Hoi An
- Portable snack for strolling
- Only available certain times of day
- Cart locations vary daily
Keep an eye out for Hoi An’s signature grilled rice papers for a crispy and portable street food fix.
5. Bahn Beo eateries – Tiny Hoi An Snack
Bánh bèo is a popular Hoianese snack perfect for a little street food hopping. The tiny steamed rice flour pancakes are topped with dried shrimp, pork cracklings, and a tangy sauce. Head to bánh bèo eateries along Tran Cao Van Street where you can sample a plate for around 15,000 VND. The fun is mixing and matching with other little snacks like bánh vạc rice crackers or deep fried dumplings. Grab a table, order an assortment to share and dive into the tasty local nibbles.
- Tiny steamed rice flour pancakes
- Topped with shrimp, crackling, sauce
- Eaten with other snacks
- Tasty local finger food
- Fun, shared eating experience
- Reasonably priced
- Small, not so filling
- Seating is basic streetside
Visit local bánh bèo stalls to feast on these dainty Hoi An pancakes and other bites.
6. Hoi An Central Market – Vibrant Venue For Street Food
No foodie trip to Hoi An is complete without a stroll through the busy central market. The vibrant halls are bursting with tropical produce, piles of herbs, spices, and food stalls whipping up tasty Vietnamese fare. You can grab a hearty bowl of cao lau, banh mi or com tam rice plates from various vendors. Or munch on snacks like grilled corn, fresh fruit and doughy bánh mì. Stop by Mrs Tu’s stall for juicy pork skewers or bánh xèo crispy pancakes nearby.
- Lively local market with food stalls
- Dishes like cao lau, banh mi, com tam
- Snacks such as grilled corn, fruit, banh mi
- Huge variety of authentic dishes
- Bustling local atmosphere
- Inexpensive prices
- Can get very crowded
- Some stalls have limited seating
For a one-stop street food extravaganza, you can’t beat Hoi An’s fabulous central market.
7. Hoi An Night Market – Street Food And Shopping
Once the sun goes down, make your way to the bustling Hoi An night market along the river. Local vendors fire up grills and pans to whip up snacks like grilled skewers, fried wontons and pancakes. You can feast on food while browsing the stalls selling handicrafts, lanterns and souvenirs. Head to Fun Eating Tour stall for tasty grilled pork wrapped in rice paper, or munch on a crunchy bánh tráng phơi sương. Find a spot on crowded wooden benches or mats and soak up the electric atmosphere.
- Nightly market with food stalls
- Grilled skewers, spring rolls, pancakes
- Handicrafts and souvenir stalls
- Lively nighttime atmosphere
- Variety of street food options
- Good for shopping too
- Very crowded and busy
- More touristy than other markets
Hoi An’s buzzing night market brings together street eats, shopping and festive energy after dark.
8. Riverside Food Carts – Curbside Dining
Strolling along the lantern-lit banks of Hoi An’s Thu Bon River at dusk is magical, made even better by curbside food carts. Vendors set up folding tables and plastic stools for impromptu sidewalk dining. You can pick from hotpots, grilled meats, noodles and chilled seafood like shrimp and crab. Prices are generally cheaper than proper restaurants with dishes around 30,000 to 50,000 VND. Grab a spot riverside and soak up the romantic Hoi An atmosphere over an alfresco meal.
- Stalls and carts along the river bank
- Dishes like hotpot, grilled meat, noodles
- Alfresco seating on stools
- Scenic curbside dining
- Good value meals
- Relaxed riverside vibe
- More tourist-focused
- Less authentic than markets
Riverside food carts in Hoi An allow you to feast on Vietnamese fare while soaking up gorgeous scenery.
9. Mi Quang and Wonton Noodle Soup – Vietnamese Noodle Dishes
To sample two quintessential Vietnamese noodle dishes, head to Mi Quang Ba Mua on Tran Cao Van Street. This humble street food spot is beloved for its mi quang – bright yellow noodles made from tumeric and served with peanuts, herbs and pork. Also try the wonton noodle soup, with plump dumplings bobbing in aromatic broth. A hearty noodle fix costs around 25,000 to 35000 VND per bowl. Grab a plastic stool and watch locals busily slurping down noodles.
- Specializes in mi quang and wonton noodles
- Turmeric noodles topped with peanuts, herbs, pork
- Wontons in fragrant broth
- Tasty, authentic Vietnamese fare
- Bustling local spot
- Good value for money
- Limited seating
- Some language barrier
For flavorful Vietnamese noodle dishes, Mi Quang Ba Mua is a top street food pick in Hoi An.
10. Bale Well – Unique Local Drink
To try a unique Hoi An specialty beverage, head to Bale Well in the old town. This historic well is said to provide the water that gives cao lau noodles its distinctive tastes. The water is also used to make the refreshing drink bale well, made from the water blended with dried lily and other herbs. You can buy a cup from vendors around the well then take a seat under shady trees to sip the smooth, pleasantly sweet concoction. A drink costs around 20,000 VND, providing an energizing break as you explore.
- Historic well providing water for cao lau
- Vendors sell drink made from the well water
- Smooth, sweet herbal blend
- Tasty, unique local drink
- Shady place to take a break
- More of a novelty, not a must-try
- Some find it too sweet
Stop by Bale Well for a refreshing cup of its legendary water blended into a signature local drink.
So if you’re a foodie visiting Hoi An, be sure to embark on a street food trail to savor the diversity of local specialties. Wandering the atmospheric alleys, markets and river bank while grazing on Vietnamese nibbles is an experience not to miss. From the savory cao lau noodles to the delicate white rose dumplings, you’ll find so many tantalizing flavors to discover in this charming town.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hoi An Street Food Trails
1. What is the best way to explore Hoi An’s street food?
The best way is to wander through the atmospheric backstreets, markets and riverfront on foot or by bicycle. This allows you to freely discover street carts and stalls serving up tasty local snacks and dishes.
2. What are the operating hours for street food vendors?
Most vendors in central areas and markets are open from morning through evening, around 7am to 9pm daily. Evening spots like the night market and riverfront open in the late afternoon and close around 11pm.
3. Is street food safe for tourists to eat?
If you stick to busy vendors that have high turnover, and foods that are cooked thoroughly, street food is generally safe. Choose hot cooked items rather than raw salads or unpeeled fruit.
4. How much does street food cost in Hoi An?
Street food is very inexpensive, with complete meals like cao lau or banh mi costing 25,000 to 35,000 VND. Small snacks like grilled sausage or bánh bèo range from 10,000 to 20,000 VND.
5. What are some street food dishes unique to Hoi An?
Some specialty dishes to try are cao lau noodles, white rose dumplings, grilled rice paper, and bale well herbal drink. You’ll also find great banh mi, grilled meats, pancakes and spring rolls.
Visiting the atmospheric street food stalls of Hoi An gives you a delicious window into authentic local cuisine and culture. Wandering between lively markets, vendor carts and storefront eateries, you can graze your way through an array of tasty Vietnamese nibbles unique to this charming town. From crispy cao lau noodles to juicy grilled pork skewers, a street food trail lets you experience the diversity of Hoianese flavors up close. Filling, fresh and ridiculously inexpensive, street food is one of the top attractions for any traveler exploring Hoi An.