While I knew Hoi An was great for grand architecture and bustling street markets, it was only on my recent trip to Vietnam I discovered it’s a foodie’s paradise – and there is no better way to explore the delights of this historic port town than on the back of a vintage Vespa while partaking in our Streets & Eats of Hoi An tour. This five hour tour includes all of your food & beverages, including alcohol, so my advice would be to arrive with an appetite to make the most of the many stops at great restaurants and all the diverse dishes you will be served.
The evening started with a pick up from the hotel and after a quick safety demonstration, helmet fitting and photo opportunity, we were off! Riding safely behind our driver, I weaved through the crazy Vietnamese traffic to the Zoom Café where on arrival we were handed a cocktail. Whilst enjoying our drinks we learnt about our guide, Phi who was a lovely local with a strong passion for his hometown’s culture and cuisine. We ducked next door to sample the delicious street food bánh căn, a small savoury pancake, before jumping on to our bikes and hitting the road again.
The next stop for the evening was the White Rose restaurant where Hoi An’s famous White Rose dumplings are made and served. A shrimp dumpling made from white dough bunched together to look like a rose, the recipe for the spiced shrimp paste is top secret and only made at this one location, however it is found at many restaurants across Hoi An. We headed to the kitchen at the back and learned how to mould this signature dumpling, nicknamed ‘white rose’ by the French, from the masters themselves before sampling this little delight.
We crossed over to Hoi An’s Old Quarter on our Vespas and boarded a local row boat to enjoy the views of the lantern-lit town. Sailing out to Cam Nam Island, we joined the locals for a beer overlooking the Thu Bon River whilst trying the clam salad and pork skewers. Our next stop was Song Thu restaurant for a hot pot and to learn the art of wrapping Vietnamese rice paper rolls. After all the beef was consumed from the hot pot, the chilli and pineapple broth was just as delicious to enjoy on its own. At the last point of call for the evening, we dined on BBQ Venison and finished up with a tasty Banh Flan crème caramel. Once our beer bottles were empty, we headed back on to the streets on our Vespas for one last ride through the busy streets back to our hotel to sleep off the mammoth-sized smorgasbord I had just devoured!
During this evening enjoying Hoi An’s tasty delights, I truly understood the famous words of Anthony Bourdain: “Vietnamese see food as a part of a larger, more essential and pleasurable part of daily life. Not as an experience to be collected or bragged about – or as a ritual like filling up a car – but as something else that gives pleasure.”
Has Kelsey’s experience got your mouth watering for a taste of delicious Vietnamese food? Enquire about one of our Vietnam group tours or if you have already travelled there, share your favourite dish in the comment section below.