The cheapest and perhaps most authentic way to eat in Hoi An is from the local street food vendors. On many corners in and around the Old Town, you can pick up some delicious snacks. Sometimes the produce is on display but sometimes the only way to know what they are selling is to give it a go. One of our favourites is the deep-fried, battered banana, especially when it has just come out of the fryer.
Another street side favourite is Nem Lui, which is barbecued meat on sticks wrapped in rice paper rolls and served with fresh greens and peanut dipping sauce. You will often find the same or very similar dishes at the local riverside restaurants, but may pay a small increase on the price.
Perhaps the most famous street food eatery in Hoi An is Bale Well. Down a long alleyway, this all-you-can-eat Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancake) house is popular with both locals and tourists as they have the best pancakes in town. The hospitable wait staff are always up for a laugh, and have been known to force feed a tourist if they feel you are eating too slow and not getting your money’s worth.
Ban Mi and Mr Tien
Vietnam’s favourite all-day snack is the ‘Banh Mi’, a small French baguette filled with luncheon meats, herbs, greens and chili. Over on An Hoi, on the other side of the river, there is “The Eating Place”, which consists of a long row of tables serving scrumptious, cheap eats. While this is not really authentic street food, it is the closest thing, combining Hoi An specialties and quick street side dishes. Each table is run by a different family and the menus are all pretty much the same.
Make It Happen
There are so many things to do and places to see in Hoi An, just walk around the streets and see what you can find. On every corner, there are women selling curious street delights. Don’t hold back, give it all a try. It is cheap, fun, and more often than not, highly rewarding.