Once a bustling trading port linking the orient and the occident, Hoi An’s specialties have been heavily influenced by the outside world and are unlike anything else in Vietnam. Shaped by Chinese, French and Japanese cuisine, tastes from the sea itself and the special water used within the dishes, Hoi An’s food has become totally unique to the province. Don’t leave Hoi An before trying these five must-eat dishes.
A dish exclusive to this ancient melting pot, you can see its various influences within the bowl: the fat rice noodles are soft and yellow and resemble Japanese soba noodles, while the distinctly Chinese influence shows up in the stir-fried pork, which is marinated in star anise and cassia bark.
If you want a dish that defines Hoi An, this has to be it. This hearty bowl can only be created here as the noodles must be cooked using water from the ancient Cham wells. You can try Hoi An in a bowl at Ngon Villa in our all-you-can-eat menu.
There are many aspects that make Hoi An’s food so delicious and unique – as a location, it seems to have everything. One of the key elements, however, is the fresh greens and herbs produced in the rich soil in the province. At Ngon Villa we’ve decided to make a banh xeo that really shows off these succulent greens in our banh xeo cuan la cai, a crispy pancake made with local herbs.
As well as being stuffed full of veg, banh xeo shows off all of the fantastic meat nurtured within the province. The dish itself is a pancake made of rice flour, coconut milk and turmeric, which is then stuffed full of ingredients like vermicelli noodles, chicken, pork, or beef slices. The best way to eat banh xeo in Hoi An, however, has to be with shrimp.
Mi quang, which originates from the central province of Quang Nam, is so popular in its hometown that it is eaten at every possible occasion: parties, death anniversaries (sort of like the anti-birthday), Tet holiday, everything. It’s easy to see why this dish is so popular, too – it exemplifies all of the fantastic ingredients in the area. People claim that, unless it has hand-cut noodles, countryside chickens and water from the local well, it simply isn’t mi quang.
Mi quang starts with a bed of vegetables, then the yellow rice noodles are added, followed by the flavorsome bone broth, which is well seasoned and made out of fish sauce, shallots and garlic and finally topped with a variety of meats, herbs and local greens. While many people add a range of different meats, at Ngon Villa we like to stick to tradition and add pork and shrimp.
Com Ga Hoi An
Though it may appear to simply be your average rice and chicken dish, Hoi An’s com ga distinguishes itself from the rest simply by providing the tastiest rice and finest farm-raised chickens. Made up of a mix of pandan leaves, chicken stock, and turmeric, cam ga has the wood-fired clay ovens to thank for its pale yellow exterior.
At Ngon Villa, we understand that Hoi An’s com ga isn’t any old com ga, so when you come along, look for the proudly titled com ga Hoi An on the menu.
Hoi An’s Seafood
Perhaps our finest produce, seafood in Hoi An is abundant and fresh due to the once thriving port that we dwell on. We’ve already spoken a bit about traditional dishes available in our Ngon Villa restaurants, so let’s take a minute to look at the fish you’ll find at Home in Hoi An.
We create our dishes with the same mentality that we put into our restaurants: A mix of comfort and tradition, with a focus on authenticity. We have a range of dishes, like wok-fried crab with chilli rock salt, steamed grouper with soya salt and deep-fried squid with tamarind sauce, delicately blended with local vegetables, created perfectly for a high-end, authentic meal.