Sampling delicacies at Hoi An market
Update: Apr 14, 2020
In reply to my friends’ question on which is the first place to go to and the first dish to taste after the social distancing period when I limit going outdoors, I admit that I will immediately run to Hoi An market to order a big bowl of ‘mi Quang’ noodles with lots of vegetables at Aunt Gai’s stall, and then stop by Aunt Hai’s stall to have a cup of hyacinth bean sweet porridge.  

Food stalls at Hoi An market

Hoi An ancient city in the central Quang Nam province is famous for not only its charming tourist attractions but also mouth-watering dishes, which have gone viral on TV and in travel books and magazines, such as ‘Banh Mi Phuong’, Madam Buoi’s chicken rice, and white rose cakes.

I frequently visit Hoi An several times a year, and whenever I come, I always head to the local market to taste the delicious local dishes.

Hoi An market used to be a bustling trading place for traders at home and abroad. Despite the fast track of modern life, the market is still maintained as a meeting place for local people.

Although it is not big, Hoi An market provides everything a food-lover needs and easily satisfies one’s taste and smell with a wide range of options.

There is plenty to choose from, with stalls selling fresh fish, meat, vegetables, to those offering snacks such as ‘cao lau’ (pork noodle dish), ‘mi Quang’ (a signature noodle of Quang Nam province with pork, shrimp, and fresh herbs), indigenous cakes, sweet porridges, and fruit juices.

Most food stalls in the market have signs and prices on it to prevent customers from scams and tourist traps. The stall’ owner is also willing help customers order dishes from the neighbouring stalls and enjoy them right there on their table.

The most popular dishes at the market are ‘cao lau’ and ‘mi Quang’, followed by ‘banh xeo’ (Vietnamese pancake), ‘nem lui’ (grilled ground pork in a lemongrass skewer), grilled pork skewers, and fried spring rolls.

For dessert, market-goers should not miss the hyacinth bean sweet porridge. While the dish is served warm in the imperial city of Hue, the version in Hoi An is served with grinded ice, rated coconut, black jelly, and some drops of vanilla. By taking a long sip from the cup, gastronomes can be refreshed and forget the searing heat outside.


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