An Amateur Guide on Where to eat, study and relax in Hoi An.
Hoi An is a beautiful city to live in. It offers vibrant colors, busy street markets, floating lights, friendly locals and a beautiful culture. From the beginning of my stay in Hoi An, I couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty of the small city in the faraway country Vietnam, and seized every chance to explore my new home. During my first week, I quickly discovered that food was extremely cheap (one portion of fried rice is about 40,000 dong = 15 NOK!!), and after this realization I pretty much ended up spending most of my time eating at restaurants and cafes. In hindsight, probably not the greatest idea money-wise, but still, food is extremely cheap and I have no regrets;) As I spent a lot of time reading and love cafes, I also ended up at cafes most of my free time, trying to catch up on all my reading with a cup of tea. There are many cafes in Hoi An, and although the quality differs, there are many great options to both eat and read. This post will therefore be dedicated to all my favorite places to eat, do my reading and unwind, and will serve as a guide for all hungry students who are to come.
Hoi An is quite a globalized city, and therefore contains plentiful of different culinary experiences. There are a lot of vegetarian and vegan options if you know where to look, and if you want to save money, you will find yourself a lot of options. If you are a coffee/tea lover or like to read/study at cafés, there are many hidden gems around town, and if you like going out in the evenings there are several cool bars as well.
1.All-timers. We all have our go-to places, and although I tried to mix it up sometimes, I always somehow ended up at some places more often than others. Some of my all-time favorite restaurants, which I sadly realized now all were Western, accompanied by my favorite foods, were:
Ganesh (Indian): For all vegetarians/ non-vegetarians, the Coconut Curry is a must here.
Hola Taco (Mexican): Though it sounds strange, the pumpkin enchiladas are highly recommended.
Greek Mix (Greek – although this might be self-explanatory): Souvlaki = cheap and delicious.
All these restaurants offer great quality food and reasonable prices. It is not the cheapest places, but it’s worth every dong (in my very subjective opinion). These were restaurants many of my classmates spent their time at, and were all quite popular.
I did also have some favorite go-to local food places. Vietnam offers great, unique cuisine. Most dishes contain some form of noodles and rice, and these dishes are almost always much cheaper than western food.
Local Food Court: For a unique and very interesting experience, the local food court is highly recommended. Hidden inside of a big stone building and behind the market, you will find that there are many food stands offering a lot of delicious Vietnamese dishes. Many of the stands offers the same, and here I really recommend the traditional soup Pho.
Bhan Mi Restaurant: On the street above the market, you will find THE BEST bhan mi(a dish quite similar to a sandwich) restaurant in the whole of Hoi An. I never got myself to remember the name, but it is extremely popular and offer Bhan Mi’s with avocado which taste like heaven.
2.Great Vegetarian Places. As someone who is vegetarian, I found living in Hoi An extremely easy when it came to find food without meat. Vietnam offers a lot of vegetarian options and there were never any issues finding food. Some of my favorite places, which offered great veggie food were:
Minh Hien: This place almost only offered vegetarian food.
Café Pho Reu: Great fried rice!
Ganesh (again): Vegetarianism is a big part of Indian Culture and Hindu religion, and Ganesh offered a lot of great dishes for this hungry, Norwegian student. This is definitely the best Indian restaurant I found in Hoi An
Circle: Great Burgers!
3.Vegan Restaurants: Surprisingly, there was quite a lot of vegan restaurants in Hoi An, which was great as there were several vegans in our class. Here are some of the most recommended:
Vegan Beets: The Lasagna and Chili Non-Carne was AMAZING.
Fisherman (An Bang Beach): Though located at the beach, this was a really great restaurant! The burrito is highly recommended.
Cafés + Reading = <3
As already mentioned, I did spend a lot of time at cafés reading. I figured early on that I wasn’t able to study in my room, so I ended up finding a lot of amazing cafés as my study places. These are all great places to unwind and relax with a cup of coffe, tea or a nice mango smoothie. Here are my all-time favorites:
Harvest Café: Had a lot of great vegan options! Amazing smoothie bowls.
Rosie’s Café: This place is heaven. A lot of vegetarian/vegan options and sells a lot of sustainable products.
The Hill Station: Great tea and pancakes. Second floor is the best floor – big open space and quite atmosphere.
Dingo Deli: Hahah I spent SOO much time here. Great food and a perfect place to work. A bit expensive though, but worth it!
U Café: Quite serenity.
Mun Coffee: GREAT pineapple smoothie and cheap coffee.
Bars. Although I didn’t spend much time in bars myself, Hoi An offer several nice places with great atmosphere and a relaxed vibe. Some of these places have pool tables and have quiz nights as well. Drinks are a bit expensive, though beer is cheap.
Dragons Sports Bar and Restaurant
Easy and Cheap. As a student who live of her student loan she gets every month, cheap and easy foods are often the best. If you know where to look or eat at local restaurants you will always find good prices and food worth the money. The best places to find cheap food is at:
Bhan Mi Stands
Local restaurants (stands with small red chairs – you’ll know when you see it)
Or you can just disregard all of the above and just make your own food;)
So basically I came, I saw and I ate 🙂
I hope you will find this list helpful on your food-journey in Hoi An. Although you do live on a budget and probably should try to be a bit careful on how you spend your money, it is important to enjoy your stay and food (at least for me) is an important part of enjoyment. Can you really enjoy life if the food is crappy? I don’t think so.
Until next time,