Hoi An’s Specialty: Cao Lầu

Also known as Faifo, Hoi An is a small but beautiful old port town at the Quảng Nam province, South Central Coast of Vietnam. Listed as one of the World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Hoi An is a very good heritage preservation example of a Southeast Asian trading port of the 15th to 19th centuries, with buildings that display a unique blend of local and foreign influences, especially Chinese and Dutch.

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This is a good place to run away from the hustle bustle of a big city. There is not much to do here, however, except shopping (plenty of tailors here, if you want to do a piece of suit, there are loads of choices here), eat (let’s go into that later, shall we?), photography and short tour to the ruins outside of the town. Click here to get more information on how to get here.

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Food in Hoi An are generally pleasant, cheap and tasty (especially when you follow travel guides like Lonely Planet, you won’t be disappointed with their recommendations). There are three dishes that Hoi An are famous for, and that you could literally find at any cafes or restaurants around the town; cao lầu, “white rose” and wonton dumplings. “White rose” (banh bao vac) is basically shrimp dumpling made from translucent dough skin and shaped like a rose (similar like our local “ham kok chai” but smaller and round in shape).

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While wonton dumplings and “white rose” look-alike might be found at other places, Cao Lầu is a local dish only found in Hoi An. It is made with rice noodles (very similar to our “tai look meen” or the thick yellow noodle but more coarse in texture), topped with pork slices, croutons, bean sprout and greens. The ingredients varies from restaurants to restaurants though, with some include crackers and crispy pork rind. It was rumoured that the noodles are made with the water from an ancient Champa well, hence contributed to its unique flavour. These pictures were taken at Bobo Cafe, an family-run eatery that has the usual backpackers fare and local specialties, with a pleasant courtyard seating for night drinks. The cao lầu although tastes kinda plain to our palate, the accompanied meat slices gave it a balance in the overall flavour of the dish.

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Another thing you might notice on the menu is their lassi. Lassi is a popular beverage in Hoi An (surprisingly) and we had them almost everyday.

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Bobo Cafe
18 Le Loi,
Hoi An.

Opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Tel: +84 386 1939
Email: thuyph.ha@dng.vnn.v