Hoi An Food Tour – One of the Best Ways to Experience Vietnamese Delicacies
December 27, 2017
Vietnam has been on my bucket list for a long time, and I’m so happy that I finally managed to explore the culturally rich country. My friend and I are foodies, and we felt that the most fruitful way to try as many local foods as possible was to join a food tour. When we visited the beautiful town of Hoi An, we were hosted to an afternoon food tour by the Hoi An Food Tour agency. Between 3pm and 6pm, our hungry bellies were treated to a scrumptious spread of local Vietnamese delights!
This tour is perfect for adventurous palates and we wandered into narrow alleys in search of authentic Vietnamese foods. We would never have discovered all these places if we were just tourists walking around Hoi An by ourselves. Besides tasting delicious food, we learnt some fascinating history about the country and the culture of the neighbourhood from the locals too. Without further ado, allow me to entice you with 10 local Vietnamese street foods found in Hoi An now.
Grilled Pork with Vegetables wrapped in Rice Paper
In Singapore, satay, or meat skewers, is a favourite hawker food among locals. If you are a fan of these slightly charred meat, grilled pork with vegetables wrapped in rice paper is a must try dish in Hoi An.
The pork is grilled till tender and boasts a little smokiness without being too greasy. It is served with vegetables, rice paper, and a special sauce made from pork liver pate, peanut, sesame, and other secret ingredients. The pork and vegetables will be wrapped in two layers of rice paper – one is wet and the other is dry. Each bite was full of flavours, and so addictive that we happily chomped down roll after roll. With just 10,000 VND per skewer, this makes a great afternoon snack!
Known locally as Banh Bao Vac, “White Rose” is one of Hoi An’s specialties which cannot be found anywhere else. The English name was apparently given by the French, as they thought the little dumplings resembled flower petals.
A small spoonful of meat or shrimp filling is enveloped within a small round rice paper. When the rice paper is steamed, the edges become soft and chewy and bunch up a little, making the dumpling look like a white flower. The dumplings are topped with crispy shallots and accompanied by a unique dipping sauce consisting shrimp broth, hot chilies, lemon and sugar.
Water Fern Cake (Banh Beo)
Similar to, yet slightly different from Singapore’s chwee kueh, Banh Beo is a steamed rice cake served in a small bowl with a wet topping consisting minced shrimp, pork, spring onion, and a dry topping made up of deep-fried Cao Lao noodles. It is affordably priced at 2,000 VND per bowl. Why not challenge yourself and see how many bowls are you able to stomach?
Beef Noodles (Bun Bo Hue)
Bun Bo Hue is a popular Vietnamese soup containing rice vermicelli (“Bun” in Vietnamese) and beef (“Bo” in Vietnamese). Huế is a city in central Vietnam associated with the cooking style of the former royal court. The dish is greatly admired for its balance of spicy, sour, salty and sweet flavors and the predominant flavor is that of lemon grass. This was the highlight of our food tour!
Black Sesame Sweet Soup (Xi Ma)
If you like Singapore’s Black Glutinous Rice with Coconut Milk, you will fall in love with Hoi An’s Black Sesame Sweet Soup (10,000 VND per bowl). Locally called Xi Ma, this is a kind of dessert which is made from black sesame, sugar, pennywort, and a type of Chinese medicine. Some of you might find the black colour very unappetizing, but this dessert is very popular in Hoi An. It is always served hot, so forget about feeding your cameras first. Just enjoy the dessert!
You can find Banh Mi everywhere in Vietnam, but not every Banh Mi tastes as delicious as the ones in Hoi An. The Banh Mi in Hoi An features a combination of pork liver pate, pork floss, boiled shredded chicken, pork belly, ham, tomato, cucumber, some herbs, and other secret ingredients. Depending on what ingredients you want in your Banh Mi, each loaf costs between 10,000 VND and 25,000 VND.
Mini Savoury Coconut Pancake (Banh Khot)
Note that these mini savoury coconut pancakes are only available in the afternoon no matter which shop you patronize. Each rice flour pancake includes turmeric, coconut milk, and a quail egg sitting in the middle. Despite containing a high cholesterol content, we couldn’t resist a second, or even third helping.
Fried Spring Rolls (Ram Cuon)
Spring rolls are always offered at traditional celebrations in Vietnam. The fillings include vermicelli, minced meet, mushroom, and spring onion. These fillings are wrapped in a layer of popiah spring roll pastry and fried till a crisp golden brown. The most popular way of enjoying these spring rolls is to have them with green mustard leaves and some papaya pickles. Good news is that it just costs 30,000 VND per 10 rolls.
Fresh Spring Rolls
While most of us prefer fried spring rolls, there are others who prefer a healthier version – the fresh spring rolls. Pork, shrimps, and vegetables are rolled in a layer of rice paper. Each roll goes very well with the sour-spicy dip!
Besides food, Vietnam is well known for its aromatic coffee, and is a strong exporter of coffee. Iced coffee is a must-try, and if you are exploring the streets of Hoi An on a hot afternoon, an iced coffee is the perfect thirst-quencher to cool you down from the sweltering heat. The dark roast coffee is brewed with a small filter and sweetened condensed milk is added.
It was a very insightful and satisfying afternoon for us! This was a great way to exploring Hoi An off the beaten path. Hoi An Food Tour also runs other food tours such as the Street Food Tour by Motorbike, Da Nang Sites and Bites Tour, and Da Nang Seafood Trail, just to name a few. We will definitely join the other tours when we’re back in Vietnam!
Hoi An Food Tour
Address: 567 Hai Bà Trưng, Sơn Phong, Tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam (Near by Viet A Bank)
Contact: +84 976 128 977 or +84 979 58 77 44
Note that this is a hosted tour.
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