vietnamese food

The Most Delicious Meal in Hoi An... (under $2)

If there’s one thing that keeps me dreaming about Vietnam (aside from the beaches and the people and the general laid back way of life)… it’s the food.

Vietnamese food is fresh, flavorful… and, best of all, it’s cheap.

This summer, while visiting Hoi An, I ate my way through the city in an attempt to find the best places to grub. I was surprised to discover an up and coming Western style Brunch scene… and was unsurprised by the associated Western style prices.

Click here for: 7 Budget Friendly Brunch Spots in Hoi An

I’m a big fan of brunch… however, as tempting as it might be to eat those comfort foods, I stronglyyyyy suggest you try to eat locally whenever possible instead.

The BEST meal I had in Hoi An, in terms of taste, affordability and ambience (because, yes, that is a thing) was at a little family run tea house called Mot Hoi An.

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If you’re walking down Tran Phu Street, you might notice the Mot’s adorable shop front… or you might not… because during opening hours it’ll likely be blocked by a huge line of customers.

Mot’s attracts loads of drive by visitors each day with their delicious (and very photo-worthy) take-away herbal teas.

This signature tea is made from a blend of herbs which can be seen displayed in ceramic bowls at the store front - cinnamon, lemongrass, honeysuckle, and lime, with a lotus petal added as a decorative touch.

It is the perfect refreshment on a hot day, and will only cost you 10,000 VND, (roughly 43 cents). However, as delicious as it is, this tea does have one very obvious downside… its single use straw and the plastic cup that it’s served in.

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Though it might be tempting to grab one on the go, I suggest you go inside and grab a bite to eat, too… that is, if you can find a seat. There are only about half a dozen tables inside the cozy restaurant, but if you can get one, it’s so worth it. (Plus, maybe as Hoi An continues to get rid of single use plastics, Mots will provide reusable cups for its dine-in customers).

I decided to have the Cau Lao, a Hoi An specialty, a herbal tea - and the whole meal only cost me 45,000VND. That’s about US$1.50! As far as Old Town restaurants go, that is a steal… and it tasted ohhhh so good!

Mot’s has a wide variety of other options on their menu like curry noodles, wonton soup, and (of course) pho. For or all you vegan/vegetarian travellers, they also offer meat-free options. Overall, their prices are incredibly affordable, with the most expensive dish ringing in at just over US$1.

Mot’s offers great food at a Great price (in a great location). It’s a win, win really.

Do yourself a favor and skip the flashy waterfront restaurants of the Old Town. Head to Mots Tea House on Tran Phu Street instead! This family run joint is a cozy, delicious, and affordable spot that you' won’t want to miss.

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Have you been to Mots? What’d you think?

Let me know in the comments below!


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7 Budget Friendly Brunch Spots in Hoi An

I love a good brunch…

…so, while visiting Hoi An, I was happy to discover that the beloved meal between breakfast and lunch is becoming increasingly popular in the lantern lit city.

Whether you’re craving Western favorites, local flavors, or vegetarian friendly choices, you’ll find several places throughout the city where you can get your mid-day fix.

These were some of my favorite (and budget friendly) brunch spots. 


DINGO DELI

Dingo Deli is one of the best places in Hoi An to get a large-portioned, Western style brunch. Opened in 2010 by a western couple, the Deli’s extensive menu offers a variety of brunch dishes like French toast, eggs benedict, and breakfast burritos. All of these meals are served with your choice of bottomless drip coffee or tea.

If you’re not in the mood for a full breakfast, Dingo Deli has several delicious options on their a la carte menu as well.

(FYI: The Deli also has a quiet room, which is perfect for digital nomads wanting to get some work done while having a meal. When we visited, the use of this quiet space was first come first serve, but you may be able to reserve it in advance by contacting the folks at Dingo).

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Feel like hitting snooze? No problem. Dingo Deli serves up brunch all day, and, if you don’t feel like getting out of bed, they even offer delivery! Head to their website via the link below and get your brunch (lunch or dinner) delivered straight to your door!

  • Vegetarian Friendly ✓

  • Hours: 7:30am – 9:30pm daily

  • Location: 277 Cua Dai Road

  • Website: Dingo Deli


THE KEBAB SHACK

The Kebab Shack is another spot where you can get your brunch fix all day long. Opened by English owner Tim and his wife Ly Anh in 2014, this is the perfect place for English expats to go when they want a little taste of home… and we’re not just talking about their huge English breakfast.

At The Kebab Shack, locals and travelers alike can enjoy the hospitable atmosphere, while indulging in hometown favorites like Heinz beans, Magners Cider, and (almost impossible to find) HP Sauce!

The English aren’t the only ones who will find comforts of home here. The Kebab Shack also serves extremely affordable Middle Eastern style kebabs, and delicious Aussie beef pies!


ROSIE’S CAFE

Rosie’s is probably my favorite of all the brunch spots on the list.

Owned and operated by My and Thuy, two local girls and longtime friends, this cozy little café can be found tucked down a quiet alley, away from the hustle and bustle of the Old Quarter. Considering its proximity to the popular tourist destination, Rosie’s is actually extremely affordable. 

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The two girls say Rosie’s is the result of their mutual passion for coffee shops, and their desire to serve up a little something of their own. I was a big fan of what they’re serving up, and with loads of healthy options that everyone can enjoy, I think you will be too.

Start your day with one of their colorful smoothie bowls, avo toast, or Rosie’s signature Brekky. While you’re there, don’t forget to try one of their delicious cold pressed juices, a traditional Vietnamese coffee, or satisfy your sweet tooth with one of their milkshakes!

  • Vegetarian Friendly ✓

  • Hours: 9am-5pm Monday - Friday, 8am-3pm Saturday, closed Sunday

  • Location: 8/6 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai

  • Website: Rosie’s Cafe Facebook


MORNING GLORY

Opened in 2006 by Ms. Vy, local celebrity and author of the cookbook Taste Vietnam, this restaurant takes its name from the morning glory vegetable. Known for its resilience, the morning glory is able to thrive and survive in the harshest conditions, and (after rice) is the second most commonly eaten food in Vietnam. According to Ms. Vy, it symbolically represents Vietnamese character.

Morning Glory, the fourth restaurant opened by Ms. Vy, aims to give guests a broader view of Vietnamese cuisine by also featuring dishes from outside of Hoi An. Some of their most popular dishes among guests are their Banh Xeo (crispy pancakes) - and Cao lầu (YUM).

Check out the original Morning Glory restaurant, the Morning Glory cooking school, or one of Ms. Vy’s many other restaurant locations in Hoi An for a delicious spin on local favorites. You can also take advantage of their delivery service on their website!


HOI AN CENTRAL MARKET

For a truly unique experience, do as the locals do and trade your western brekky for a bowl of pho or Cau Lau at the Hoi An Central Market.

As the name suggests, this market is literally located in the center of town, making it the perfect place to grab a bite before a day of exploring the Old Town.

Though you will likely end up paying a bit of a foreigner tax on anything you buy here, a visit to the market still guarantees you a delicious meal and an experience you won’t forget - all for less than a couple bucks!

Don’t forget your camera! The sights and sounds of the market and its food hall are something you’ll definitely want to write home about.

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  • Hours: Open daily from 5am

  • Location: 73 Phan Boi Chau Son Phong


THE DECK HOUSE

For a delicious brekky on the beach, head to An Bang Beach’s Deck House.

From 7-11 everyday, they offer a variety of breakfast entrees ranging from veggie omelettes and breakfast bowls to avo toasts and traditional cau lau.

The prices are a bit higher here than some of the other spots on the list, but the beach views more than made up for it.

We loved beginning our day with a run to the beach, grabbing a bite here, then taking advantage of the Deck House’s lounge chairs to soak up some rays on the beach.

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  • Hours: 7am-11pm

  • Location: When you arrive at An Bang Beach, take a left at the end of the street. The Deck house will be located on your right.

  • Website: The Deck House


FISHERMAN

To all my vegan, Instagram lovin’ readers - this last one is for you.

The Fisherman is an affordable, sustainable, and vegan restaurant also located on An Bang beach. They serve up a delicious healthy breakfast all day, and boast one of the most insta-worthy interiors and restaurant patios that I have ever seen.

The Fisherman also has happy hour specials and hosts the occasional full moon party, so if you’re visiting Hoi An, be on the lookout for that, too!

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  • Vegetarian Friendly ✓

  • Hours: 7:30am - 11pm

  • Location: Head to An Bang beach via Hai Ba Trung Street. When you reach the end of the street, turn right. Continue down the path until you see The Fisherman on your left.

  • Website: The Fisherman Vegan Restaurant Facebook


MAP


Did I miss any?

Where is your favorite place to brunch in Hoi An? Let me know in the comments below!

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What to Do in Hoi An - Green Bamboo Cooking School

 
 

If you’re making a trip to Vietnam, you have to visit the colorful, lantern lit city of Hoi An… and if you’re visiting Hoi An, you have to spend a day perfecting your culinary skills at Green Bamboo Cooking School.

Run by multilingual chef van out of the kitchen in her home, attending a class at Green Bamboo was one of the best things I did in Vietnam, and hands down one of the most memorable experiences of my entire trip.

If you’re looking for an authentic Vietnamese experience, or just want to make and eat a ton of delicious food, you’ve got to check it out.

 
 

 

You’ll start your day by being picked up from your hostel or hotel. Then everyone will head to the local market to meet Van. If you haven’t already chosen, you’ll select a meal to prepare from a wide variety of Vietnamese dishes. Everyone has to choose something different, but don’t worry if you don’t get your first choice – you’ll get to sample a bit of what everyone is making!

With rice hats on, the cooking class and I followed Van around the market learning about the different ingredients, and even getting to practice our Vietnamese by helping to purchase some of them – everything from rice, noodles, and veggies to fish, prawns & beef.

It was awesome taking in the sights and smells of the local market, and learning all about the different street foods and what various ingredients are used for. (I’m not going to lie – I was a bit hungover that morning and had to excuse myself from the meat purchasing portion of the market trip... the chopping of raw meet was a bit too much for my, already weak, stomach to handle).

 

 
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After we finished buying all of our ingredients, we headed to a small local coffee shop and had a cup of infamous Vietnamese drip coffee. If you haven't ever had authentic Vietnamese coffee, it is an absolute must. I will be returning to Vietnam one day… if only for another cup of delicious local coffee… it’s that good.

After recharging with a cup of coffee, we loaded up into the van and drove to Chef Van’s beautiful home to begin preparing our dishes in her spacious kitchen.


 I thought I was being pretty basic by choosing spring rolls, but I’ll be damned if I don’t have a newfound respect for those things. HOLY SHIT – they took ages to prep. Dicing prawns, pork, carrots, and other veggies was tedious, not to mention rolling them up once the ingredients were mixed, and frying them to perfection. It took so much more time and care than I thought, (and I will never complain about spring rolls taking a long time when I order them at a restaurant ever again).

Despite the wide variety of dishes being prepped, and the number of people in her kitchen, Van still did an awesome job of directing and assisting everyone. She was informative, candid, and made the class fun and comfortable for everyone, all while maintaining an impressive level of professionalism. Even me, the lone solo traveler, (with little to no cooking experience), felt at ease and welcome.

 

 
 

 

We drank beers as we cooked, and tried a bit of everyone’s dish as they were completed. By course 10, I was in the corner clutching my food baby. Everything was so good, and I didn’t want to let anything go to waste… but when we got to a fish curry by course 11, I physically could not keep the squid and octopus down (and opted for a napkin instead).

I DIDN’T spit out the squid because it was disgusting… I spat it out because I have literally never been so disgustingly full in my entire life... not even on American Thanksgiving. However, after a while… I did manage to free up enough room for the dragon fruit and shot of liquor we shared around Van’s kitchen table for dessert.

When the class was finished we each received a goodie bag filled with special Vietnamese cooking chopsticks, a julienne peeler, and a cookbook filled with all of Van’s recipes.

 

 
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Though I didn’t attend any other classes in Vietnam, I can’t imagine how any could possible compare to Green Bamboo Cooking School. After researching other cooking schools, Van’s was the only one I found that is run out of her home. Having the class in her cozy kitchen gave it a much more comfortable and authentic feel.

You may be thinking, "Well, that all sounds great, but how much is it?" Green Bamboo Cooking School is extremely affordable at just US$45 per person. This low price includes pick up and return to your hotel, the market experience, hands on participation in a guaranteed small class setting… not to mention drinks and the biggest, most delicious meal you’ll have in your life.

Whether you love cooking, food, learning new things, or just want a fun day out, Green Bamboo Cooking School will not disappoint, (and will undoubtedly make you love Vietnam even more).

 

 
 

Van's cooking class made my Hoi An trip so memorable, & I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting the city.

To reserve your spot, visit THe green Bamboo website, or email Van at van@greenbamboo-hoian.com.

Tell her Kirstie sent ya!