Hoi An Trip / Day 2 / Hoi An Food Tour

旅先で何度かフードツアーに参加していますが、今回も妹とHoi An Urban Adventuresのプライベートのフードツアーに参加しまし、ガイドさんと一緒に5箇所でホイアンの名物をいただきました。本当は4時からだそうですが、プライベートだったので少し涼しくなる夕方5時から。人数が多いと2時間半かかるそうですが2人だけでしたので、1時間ほどで終わったと思います。

I have taken food tours in some places on holiday and this time my sister and I took a private food tour at Hoi An Urban Adventures.  The guide took us to 5 places to try Hoi An specialities.  They usually start at 4.00pm but they kindly delayed it until 5.00pm when it’s cooler because it was a private tour.  Usually, with a larger group, they take 2.5 hours but it probably took only about an hour as it was just 2 of us.


The first stop was to have Vietnamese Sandwich (Banh Mi).  It’s the first food I think of when someone says Vietnam.  The guide took us to the branch of ” The best Banh Mi in Vietnam” according to Anthony Bourdain.  The original place sells 2,000 Banh Mi a day and there is always a long queue, whereas this one sells 200 a day and there was no queue.


Bread for Banh Mi in Hoi An has very narrow ends.  We would be eating a lot more on the tour so we were given just a half each, it was delicious.  (I could have eaten more easily!)





We were then taken to one of the stalls in the Central Market for a pancake.  I didn’t know what the guide meant by pancake but it was savory crispy and thin crepe, Bahn Xeo.  It looks like thin egg crepe because of the colour but that comes from turmeric, not egg.  It’s mainly made of the liquid you get when you blend rice and water.  I had it in the hotel I was staying in Hanoi years ago but I didn’t like it then because I found it very oily.  I later learned how to make it at a cooking class in Ho Chi Min, where it was delicious.  At that class we made it in a very large size then folded it in half to put on a plate with herbs and we ripped a piece, wrapped it with a lettuce and some herbs.  Vietnam is very long south to north so their food varies a lot through the country, which is very interesting.





Here it was made small and served on a sheet of fresh spring roll skin.  You don’t fold in the two ends, just roll it up and eat it after dipping one end in a dipping sauce.  This was also very nice.



No prawns for me.



A small prawn for my sister.



The 3rd stop was this place, we walked to in a little alley.  This was the most “restaurant” like place.





The one close to you is deep-fried wanton skin (quite large) and some vegetables, pineapple, prawn, etc, stir-fried; it’s one of Hoi An’s specialities.   Apparently, the topping is different in each restaurant.  This was was quite sour from pineapple, sweet and sour taste.  The wanton skin was very light and crispy, not oily.  We enjoyed this one, too.



By some reason I don’t seem to have taken any photo of the other one, but the white thing you see in the back is called “white rose”, which is something like wanton with prawn filling and topped with fried garlic – another Hoi An speciality.  Whatever I read they all said it was “like wanton” so I was imagining it to be slippery and soft but it was actually quite chewy.  Apparently tapioca is used for the skin.  We enjoyed this one, too.



The 4th stop was this humble street stall for Chicken Rice.  It’s not a place we would ever eat at without someone taking us there.  Stainless steel table, plastic stool.  I think this was the first time I (and my sister) had a meal at such a place.






I was imagining it to be something similar to the chicken rice we have in Singapore.  To be honest, I’m not very keen on chicken rice.  I’m not so keen on boiled chicken to start with and I get bored quickly when it’s just chicken and rice.


However, Hoi An chicken rice was completely different!  I cananot say I enjoyed the chicken itself, it was very dry, but you also get something like pickles of green papaya and, I’m not sure, but is it turnip?  as well as a few different kinds of herbs, jullienne of fresh ginger.  You put some chilli sauce and a little bit of soy sauce and mix everything well before eating.  It was a little spicy, full of the flavour of ginger and herbs and pickles, it was delicious to me.  This was my favourite food in Hoi An and I would eat it happily without the chicken, it’s the rest that I really enjoyed.  We had Chicken Rice in a more posh restaurant on another day, but this one was much more tasty.



Then the last stop was this coffee shop – for coffee and dessert (which the guide had bought in the market earlier).  There is a very famous coffee shop in Hoi An and we were told this place in the market serves the same coffee at lower prices.  The famous place is renting a whole house so the coffee is more expensive there.





The right one of the desserts is something like mochi (made with tapioca) filled with mung beans wrapped in banana leaf.  The left one is coconut cookies, which was crunchy and nice.





In the description, it said 2.5 hours but I think it finished in a little more than an hour since it was just 2 of us.  The guide took us to Japan Bridge and we walked back to the hotel from there.


Comparing to the food tours we took in Marrakech and Thailand, I thought it was less experience.  We were full but I felt there could have been a couple of more dishes to try, at least Cao Lau.  Knowing the level of prices in Vietnam, it’s on the expensive side, too.  However, it was a private tour and everything we tried was good.  The guide was very nice, friendly and kind and we wouldn’t have had such an experience like eating in the market or at a street stall without someone taking us there.  It was a good experience and we enjoyed it.


I wouldn’t lie, it crossed my mind if the plates and cutlery were clean and if our tummies would be OK after eating at a street stall and a stall in the market, but we had no problem with our tummies.  I’ve been living in Hong Kong and Singapore for a long time so I probably have a lot of resistance but I did worry about my sister.  I was very relieved that she went home without food poisoning or tummy problems.

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