Hoi An is a well-preserved ancient trading port where many restaurants offering authentic Vietnamese cuisine are clustered in an area looking more like a quaint French village. Here, the nights get more vibrant as lanterns lit up and canal boat rides are peddled to tourists. The street food scene is very lively as stalls after stalls offer Hoi An specialties like steamed and fried dumplings, chewy rice noodles like Cao Lau, pancakes, mango and banana cakes.

It was very tempting to claim one of those low stools and order the very Hoi An rice noodle dish called Cao Lau, topped with barbecued pork slices, beansprouts and herbs. So with the White Rose dumplings which locals call Banh Bao Vac. And then there’s those open-face pancakes which are really fried wontons with toppings of shrimps and more herbs. We did the next best thing — dined in Miss Ly which offerred all these street food and Hoi An specialties in a restaurant in the Ancient Town. All had a little kick and mildly spicy and we liked it. If you want to try it here, best to go early as it’s popular and gets really packed.

From the next table, we spotted some grilled pork served with noodles and tried those too. Very tasty. Again, with a bit of kick. We were asked, and we specified “mildly spicy” so I guess it can get spicier. All dishes are very delicious even if you have to enjoy them inside where it is more humid. Most restos offer cold towelettes to refresh you before meal is served. Without it, we’d likely sweat as most dishes are a bit spicy.

Just as popular, but a bit pricier, is Morning Glory Restaurant also in the Ancient Town. The resto must be so popular it now has a Morning Glory II just across the street. The extension likewise holds cooking classes, but we’re not into that. We’re here to eat 😊. I’ve heard many tourists asking for directions to Morning Glory. If we go by the reviews, there’s good reason to check out this place. But I think many, many restaurants here all make the grade, judging by how food aroma wafts from the kitchen to the lantern-lit streets. The fish dishes and curries we’ve so far ordered were not big hits though so we didn’t try the restaurant’s bestseller fish in caramel sauce. Besides, we weren’t that hungry when we got here for dinner and didn’t want to overstuff ourselves in the evenings. (Our hotel breakfast buffet in Belle Maisson was very good!) And so, we settled for the usual salad, banh mi and the special spring rolls offerred here called “Three Best Friends Spring Rolls”. They say Miss Ly and Morning Glory serve the best spring rolls but I’m telling ya…… they serve good spring rolls just about anywhere here!

Our guide brought us to a place called Triet (Treat) where there is no crowd and where we actually enjoyed a very good, quiet lunch. Same lunch fare like Papaya Salad which we love, but served with tasty taro spring rolls here. We really liked this for appetizers. The main dishes were pleasant surprises too.

The grilled chicken with lemon grass was served wrapped in aluminum foil and smelled as good as it tasted. But our favorite fish was the Braised Pork in a Clay Pot. Tasted like our local “adobo” but with chili and chives. The chicken and the pork paired well with the vegetable dish with fried shallots we had. Good lunch! Nothing fancy but really cooked well.

Dining here in Hoi An is an adventure. Don’t be limited by the restos we’ve listed here. But the few days we were here, we certainly ate well. On your way back to your hotel, try checking out the Night Market and buy some jackfruit, custard apples and there’s this fruit I’m not familiar with but tasted like small green apples, just better. Bon apetit!