Made from simple and familiar ingredients, such as rice, glutinous rice, sweet potato, and mung bean, but the simple dishes of local people always attract visitors. Here is the list of must-try exceptional food in Hoi An.
The aromatic and sticky rice is marinated with spices and cooked with the stock of boiled chicken and pandan leaves. The chicken is young, so its meat is tender but not crumbled, firm but not tough, and its skin is thin. After boiled, chicken is torn into pieces and mixed with onion, fried onion, Vietnamese coriander, salt, and black pepper. The rice is put on a plate, topped with the chicken, served with onion, green papaya, herbal vegetables, soy, and chili sauce. With the skillful hands and meticulous personality, local chefs have created a unique dish of chicken rice.
The exclusive dish is associated with the ancient town. Some people believe that it originates from China, but the Chinese disagree with it. A few Japanese people think that it resembles their udon noodles, but Cao Lau is totally different from Udon's taste and processing.
The essence of the dish is the noodle, which is elaborately processed. First, the rice is soaked in water with ash taken in Cham island to produce a crispy, flexible, and dry texture. Then, the rice is filtered carefully and ground into powder. The water must be taken from Ba Le Well to be fresh, free from alum, and cooling. The dough is filtered many times to become sticky and dry, cut into strands, steamed several times, and dried to make noodles. The complicated manner makes sure the noodles won't go bad.
The chef places blanched sprouts in a bowl, tops the noodle, some slices of char siu, cracklings, and a tablespoon of lard. The meat used to make char siu is from local-raised pigs whose flesh is firm, fragrant, and lean, while skin is thin. When trying a bite of Cao Lau, you will feel the crunchy noodle, various tastes of green vegetables, and the crispy cracklings.
The food originates from Quang Nam province, so people call it Quang style noodle. To make the dish, local chefs soak good rice in water, grind into finely powdered water, and add a little alum to make it crispy and hard before steaming into thin layers. Then, let it cool for a while and cut into strands. The broth varies in ingredients, such as pork, beef, and snakehead, but the most popular is shrimp, pork, and chicken.
The green vegetables served with the noodle often are lettuce, basil, cabbage, onion, and cilantro, which enhance the flavor of the food in Hoi An.
Wonton, a dish stemming from China, is a familiar traditional food in Hoi An associated with local dwellers' lives for a long time. Wonton has many recipes with the typical flavor and style of Hoi An, which promises to please the grumpiest diners.
The noodle is neatly arranged in a bowl, topped with a few pork, two slices of beef rolls, pig's stomach, and liver, and a bit Chinese satay. The broth is clean so that eaters won't feel greasy. Meanwhile, the noodles are tight and not sour. The crunchy vegetables include sour green shredded papaya, celeries, and sprouts.
Banh Mi has become an iconic food in Hoi An that every foreigner knows. The stuff of Banh Mi is diversified, but the most common ingredients are char siu, pate, and ham. The unique thing that makes the food different in different eateries is a homemade sauce. Nothing is more delightful than trying a bite of hot Banh Mi with various types of meat and vegetables. It must be an ideal breakfast.
White rose is two kinds of dumplings sharing almost the same ingredients and recipes. The French gave it the name White Rose.
The primary materials to create white roses are white, sticky, and fragrant rice. The filling consists of crushes shrimp mixed with black pepper, garlic, onion, lemongrass, and secret spices. The other dumpling includes chopped black fungus, green onion, and ground pork, then stirred with the secret spices. Maybe the spices are the reason why the white rose is only tasty in Hoi An.
In the ancient town, Banh Xeo is the most popular on cold days. Restaurants are busy serving guests the whole day. Perhaps because at this time, the shrimp - the main ingredient of the food in Hoi An, is abundant, fatty, and fresh.
The dish is famous for crunchy fice flour, fatty coconut milk, aromatic turmeric powder mixed with herbs, and protein-rich beef, shrimp, or squid. Eat when it is still hot to enjoy the entire taste. Don't forget to eat with sweet gruel to avoid greasy feeling.