Relishing the Tastes of Hoi An

In Hoi An people are affable and friendly. They respond gaily and earnestly to questions and requests. Every household runs their own business. Walk along small alleyways and you’ll find numerous beautiful cafés, souvenir shops with refined items, old houses, moss blanketed yellow walls and lovely balconies draped in flowers and lanterns.

Hoi An is at its finest at night. Myriads of lanterns light streets crowded with visitors who idly stroll and admire the town. Some people stop for compote or relish đập cakes, grilled pork, Quang Nam noodles or cao lầu.

Hoi An boasts countless good foods including  rice chicken, the famous “vạc” cakes, silkworm cakes and bean curd, Cam Nam boiled corn, hot spicy snails that permeate our senses, flax “ít” cakes and sesame rice crepes.

Local cuisine embodies the culture of a region. In Hoi An the hospitability, authenticity and the lantern lights are a wonderful backdrop for the tauntingly delicious treats.

QUANG NAM NOODLES (prawns – pork)


  • 1kg Quang Nam noodles
  • 500g pork thigh or ribs
  • 300g prawns
  • 1 pineapple
  • 10g chives
  • Herbs: peppermint, cabbage, white banana bulb, bean sprout, lettuce, basil
  • Garlic, bell pepper, chili powder
  • Grilled sesame rice crepe
  • Briefly pound and roasted peanut
  • Turmeric powder
  • Fish sauce, salt, refined sugar, sucrose


  1. Thinly slice pork thigh or chop pork ribs into mouth-sized bites. Marinate the pork with two tablespoons of fish sauce, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Wait until it is well marinated to fry ribs or briefly stir fry pork thigh slices.
  2. Peel 5 prawns, finely grind with water. Remove heads of remaining prawns and wash.
  3. Fry prawns in oil until they toughen. Remove shells, fry again and add 2 liters of water to make the broth.
  4. For “filling” stock: place two tablespoons of cooking oil in pot, stir-fry ground chives, add 1 teaspoon of chili powder, add ground prawns and stir fry. Soften portk thigh or ribs in 500ml of boiling broth. Add prawns, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Wait until the stock reaches a moderate temperature.
  5. For broth: grill pineapple, put in the pot and boil the remaining prawn shells with smashed chives. Cook until the broth is reduced to 1 liter and remove the shells. Add 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of salt and 80g rock sugar.


  1. Put noodles in a bowl, scatter with prawns and pork, add some broth and the “filling” stock and a pinch of ground peanuts.
  2. Serve with grilled rice crepes, herbs, bell peppers and fish sauce with pounded garlic and chili.

Tip: Quang Nam noodles will taste more authentic with manually pressed peanut oil.



  • 1kg cao lầu
  • 100 dried and deep fried cao lầu sheets
  • 500g pork thigh
  • 1 tbsp 5-spice powder
  • 1 bunch of ground shallots, garlic and chives
  • 150g soy sauce
  • 200ml bone steamed broth
  • Spices: sugar and salt
  • Herbs: peppermint, cabbage, common knotgrass, lettuce, and bean sprouts


  1. Thoroughly clean pork and leave the piece whole. Marinate with 2 teaspoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 150ml of soy sauce and ½ teaspoon of 5-spice powder.  Finely chop garlic and squeeze out extract leaving the peel. Marinate pork for at least two hours or overnight.
  2. Place cooking oil in frying pan and add marinated pork. Cook until pork is firm. Add the garlic peel and stir fry until it turns yellow, then add broth to infuse flavour into the pork. When half the broth has evaporated take out the pork. Heat the broth again and serve. When the heat is switched off, add a  ½ teaspoon of the remaining 5-spice powder. Pour the broth over cao lầu mixture.


  1. Line serving dish with herbs and cover with the cao lầu.
  2. Scatter with thinly sliced cha siu pork, several dried and crispy cao lầu sheets and soy sauce.
  3. Add some Hoi An stir-fried chili.

This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt

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