THE FOOD OF CENTRAL VIETNAM, VIETNAM

July 28, 2016

Travelling with kids can be tricky for so many reasons. Meal times can be particularly stressful, kids can be fussy, unfamiliar food can be daunting, and in foreign countries it pays to know what the local specialties are before you go, and where you can find something to please everyone.

The golden rule applies; if a place is busy, it’s most certainly fine to eat there. When Mez and I travelled here before kids we were very adventurous, with kids in tow, we’re far more cautious. Having said this, we have never been sick from food or drink travelling through Vietnam.

Vietnamese food is light, healthy, fresh, bright.
Most importantly, Vietnamese food is DELICIOUS!

Here are a few ‘must try’ dishes…

CAU LAO
Perhaps Hoi An’s most famous dish (legend has it that the noodles can only be made with water from the famous Ba Le well, any other water wont work!) features thick flat noodles with a splash of super rich pork broth (more of a sauce, not a soup) roast pork, fresh herbs and salad leaves, and a topping of crunchy crackling and friend wontons for texture.

Get it at:
The Market Restaurant and Cooking School
3 Nguyen Hoang Street, An Hoi Islet, Hoi An

WHITE ROSE DUMPLINGS
Like Cau Lao, the dough for these dumplings can only be made with water from the well, so these are only available in Hoi An. They are delicate shrimp and pork dumplings, and they pair very well with a cold beer/lemon soda to have pre dinner. Every restaurant in Hoi An seems to serve them!

COM GA
A crowd pleaser, much like it’s Hainanese cousin (Hainanese chicken rice), the Hoi An version of chicken rice is served with shredded chicken, mixed herbs, raw onions, pickled papaya and carrots and a super chickeny savoury broth. The rice itself is cooked in chicken broth. Winner winner, chicken dinner indeed.

Get it at:
Cơm Gà Bà Buội
22 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoi An

BANH MI
Banh mi actually means bread in Vietnamese, but in this case refers to a baguette filled with grilled pork/pork floss/pate/chicken/vietnamese sausage/egg (there are many possible variations!) with pickles, cucumber, chili, soy/chili sauce and herbs. Vietnamese baguettes are much smaller than their French counterparts, and are super crunchy, perhaps as a result of the addition of rice flour to the dough. In Hoi An, the most famous place to get your Banh Mi is at Banh Mi Phuong, a hole in the wall bakery made famous by TV chef Anthony Bourdain. When I went, the queue was 30 people deep! I bought 3 banh mi, and 2 cans of drink for a grand total of $5.40. Bargain!

Get it at:
Banh Mi Phuong
2B Phan Chau Trinh, Hoi An

SEAFOOD BBQ/HOT POT

Danang is right on the coast of the South China Sea, as such, seafood is plentiful and fresh and features heavily in the local cuisine. All along the coast there are pick your own/cook your own type restaurants and the variety of shellfish and seafood in general is incredible. There were many things I had never seen before! Ask how much before you commit! Our favourites were steamed clams with spring onions and peanuts, bbq sun dried squid with chili mayo dipping sauce and lemon white pepper dipping sauce, and huge sweet bbq prawns. The kids loved egg noodles stir fried with veggies and tiny prawns. The alternative is to pick your seafood (from aerated tubs and tanks) and cook it up at your table in a lemongrass, onion and okra hotpot. Served with chili’s in vinegar, rice noodles and veg, really good stuff! People watching at these restaurants is very good. Keep your eyes peeled for street vendors, with their motorcycles laden to the hilt with balloons and toys, our kids were mesmerised!

Get it at:
Ba Thoi 2 (for BBQ)
Duong Hoang Sa, Da Nang

Quan Be Anh (for hotpot)
Hoang Sa, Da Nang

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Leave a Comment

  • Lovely shots – I’d also add get the cinnamon ice cream at Vy’s New Market in Hoi An…sooooo good!

    • thewindowseat

      Oh! I didn’t try it, but it sounds delicious!
      She’s quite the entrepreneur Ms Vy…she’s opened a hotel in Hoi An, and she has a restaurant in Melbourne now too!

  • I just love these photos! You’ve really captured the colour and chaos of Vietnam in them.

    • thewindowseat

      It may be just the chaos of the Watts family at meal time?!?
      Thanks Christine! x

  • Now I’m drooling. We’ll be doing a Bahn mi stop after soccer today, I reckon! Great photos 🙂

  • Yum! My mouth is watering. I want that seafood BBQ!!!

  • The husband and I really wanted to go back to Vietnam but weren’t sure about taking the kids. This is perfect.

    • thewindowseat

      Glad I could be of service! If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them! Just shoot me an email. And there are a few other posts on Vietnam in my back catalogue! ?

  • Everything looks so scrumptious! I am yet to get to Vietnam, but of course, the food will be high on my list of exploration.

    • thewindowseat

      A girls gotta eat, right Sara?!? Looks scrumptious IS scrumptious!

  • Wow! We’ve really got to get to Vietnam some day! Looks fantastic!

    • thewindowseat

      It’s certainly got lots going for it: wonderful weather, it’s very safe (sadly so many of my bucket list places are currently out of the question safety wise), the people are lovely… and of course the food is super varied and delicious!

  • Why would you do this to me? WHYYYYYYYYY?

    • thewindowseat

      It does seem a bit cruel! Are you in Sydney Lisa? I can recommend places to get a fix! ?

  • Amazing trip and great photos

  • Georgie!! Awesome! I am totally printing this out and laminating it to take to my just booked fam trip to Hoi An next Easter. we will need good food to overcome the hell that is my 4 year old on a plane. And seriously, isn’t travel 95% about the food? xx Hels (hels79)

    • thewindowseat

      I can’t wait to see your resort wear! You OWN it!
      Laminate!!!! Ingenious! (4 yr old will be fine…!) x

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