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Where to eat – Hoi An, Vietnam

There are many restaurants within Hoi An village Vietnam and about 400 shops, and restaurants in total, but as we said earlier, tourism is really quite a new experience to these lovely people and whilst learning English is now compulsory in Vietnamese schools, service staff often struggle to understand and you will need a lot of patience and smiles, although if anything we felt that added to the charm.

Whilst restaurants (and a few wine bars) here find their feet and get used to the market, prices vary to an incredible extent and we experienced examples from US$7.5 (about £5.00 sterling) for a 6 course meal to 3 times that for only one course at the “Mango Room” where the menu is pretentious, quality questionable and hugely overpriced.

Cargo Club (Bach Dang Street), on the other hand offered a really nice range of authentic Vietnamese food, desserts and pastries, where a (huge) chocolate brownie with both vanilla and caramel ice cream came to US$1.5 or about £1.00 sterling and our main course of squid stuffed with pork was beautiful and great value at US$4.5 or about £3.00.

The “White Marble” wine bar (corner of Nguyen Thai Hoc and Le Lo)was nice to relax in and watch the World go by, even if its Pinot Noir cost about US$7.00 a glass or roughly £5.00 so a bit on the expensive side.

Our supper at “Nha Hang Pho Hoai” by comparison was not only disappointing, tasteless and served on cold plates, but service was so slow that people were cancelling their order and leaving – don’t be persuaded by the buzz and nice layout!

The service was polite although regrettably slow also at “Dem Hoi – Festival Night”, just around the corner from our hotel, but we realised that absolutely everything was freshly prepared and so I think I’m going to recommend this small street side, open fronted cafe on Pham Hong Thai Street, where the food was worth the wait and I’m sure (as long as it doesn’t sound I’m patronising them) that they will get better.

At the end of the town where Bach Dang and Nguyen Thai Hoc streets merge (next to the bridge at the West end of town), you will find many a street hawker who sets up an instant kitchen in the evening on the grass next to the river and serves the traditional and authentic Vietnamese “Pho soup”; a tasty noodle dish with chicken stock, herbs, spring onion, chicken or beef, chilly and lime and all for about US$0.75 – yes, about 50 pence!

Riverside Hoi An Vietnam

Riverside Hoi An Vietnam

I could go on at infinitum as there are many places to eat, but I think the best advice I can offer is to check the prices before you go in and avoid the brash over Americanised imitations that are trying to make a fast buck (oh and come back and look again as we will be writing more)


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