Food In Hoi An

Vietnamese food is well and truly globally loved. You will be hard-pressed to find a major city in the world without a Vietnamese restaurant or some variation of the food. But what about here in Vietnam? Hoi An is vying for its own place as a top destination in Asia for food lovers all over the world.

Usually the capital Hanoi or the gargantuan Ho Chi Minh spring to mind when asked about Vietnamese food.  You would not be wrong for identifying these two as foodie havens.  Hoi An has fought hard to be another contender on the scene. 

It is not only the buzzing atmosphere and gorgeous aesthetics which render Hoi An a culinary paradise. No, Hoi An has an abundance of top quality restaurants serving food from all over the globe. Whether you are after a glass of red wine and a pizza, fresh seafood or stunning sushi.  Hoi An’s best restaurants cater to you and push the boundaries of modern Vietnamese cuisine.  Hoi An’s restaurants literally have it all.  

Visiting Hoi An’s market as part of a cooking class.

Visiting Hoi An’s market as part of a cooking class. Photo: Kristen Wells

A table full of Hoi An specialty dishes

Food in Hoi An – What’s the Big Deal?

Eating in Hoi An is an experience matched by few others.  But it is not just the staggering variety of food and its quality which makes eating in Hoi An such an unforgettable experience. Any serious eaters and self-proclaimed foodies will tell you that often, the food makes up only half of the dining experience. 

It is who you are eating with, where you are eating it, and the atmosphere you are in. Even the smaller stuff such as lighting, music and temperature can massively affect the experience of eating. And while it may sound a little hyperbolic, it certainly is the case for a great number of people. 

This is what makes Hoi An such a special place for food. Whether you’re eating in a tranquil and rustic courtyard in the famous Old Town, packed into a tiny local place breaking bread with the town’s locals, or eating at the roadside watching locals and tourists alike pass by, there’s something in Hoi An for everyone. 

You will be hard-pressed to find a town or city in Vietnam as beautiful as this one. So let the aesthetic charm of Hoi An seep into your dining experience, making it as unforgettable as it should be. 

The rivers and coastline of Hoi An provide quality seafood to Hoi An’s best restaurants

The rivers and coastline of Hoi An provide quality seafood to Hoi An’s best restaurants

Finding the Best Restaurants in Hoi An

Travelling for many people is as much about the food as it is anything else.  Therefore ensuring you make the right memories is imperative. That’s why we have researched and dug our way through the countless restaurants to compile this list of the best of them in Hoi An. No matter what you are in the mood to eat, this list will cover it! Whether it is cheap and cheerful food on the side of the road or a top-level dining experience you will never forget, have a read of Hidden’s list below and be in the know!

visitors enjoying spring rolls

Visitors wrap their own spring rolls at a Hoi An eatery

Japanese Food

Japanese influence in Hoi An can be traced back to Hoi An’s days as a major trading port in the 16th century. Vietnam’s trading partners were many, but one of the strongest links developed in this period was that with Japan. As the ties between the country become stronger, the influence of Japan and its cuisine became more and more prominent in Hoi An. A lot has changed since then, but one thing is for sure, the delights of Japanese cuisine have stayed in Hoi An all this time.

Although both Asian and sharing some similarities, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine are really quite different. Though based ingredients such as rice and noodles are utilised by both and the importance of a hearty and rich broth is also shared, the similarities stop here. So dive into Japanese food – arguably the best in the world – in Hoi An to experience something truly special.

Old postcard of Hoi An’s ancient Japanese bridge

Hoi An’s ancient Japanese bridge is a link to its past as a vibrant trading port

Modern Japanese food

Modern Japanese food can be found in the best restaurants in Hoi An

Best Japanese Restaurant in Hoi An: Wakaku 

Website – Address: 39 Dao Duy Tu – Hours: 6 p.m. – 10 p.m., Daily

With Japanese food becoming so popular in Vietnam as of late, there is inevitably going to be stiff competition for this category. Yet Wakaku firmly wins this one. The elegant yet unpretentious restaurant is reasonably priced with an extensive menu ensuring there is something on offer for everyone. 

Wakaku is one of two restaurants first opened to serve in-house diners in the five-star Hotel Royal Hoi An. But it is now a firm favourite with locals and travellers alike. Entering Wakaku really is akin to taking a breath of fresh air. Walking around Hoi An’s historic Old Town can take it out of you.  The intense heat, noise, and packed streets take their toll. Wakaku presents itself as a very welcome break, an opportunity to escape the sometimes hectic Old Town.

With a calming and tranquil atmosphere, Wakaku stays true to the Japanese tradition of making it about more than just food. It’s the ceremony, it’s how the food is designed to make you feel. Well, walking into Wakaku this becomes clear immediately. With hints of design features from Hoi An – Hoi An’s infamous lanterns feature, but with a Japanese twist.  Wakaku fully embraces its heritage to great effect.

The Food at Wakaku

But of course the most important factor is the food, and Wakaku has simply the best Japanese food around. With an extensive menu packed full of deeply flavorful dishes, there’s so much choice at Wakaku. Opt for the chef’s sushi set of the day.  It’s available in all different portion sizes for your fix of fresh and clean sushi. Perhaps try Wakaku’s robatayaki, a selection of grilled meats and fish served with a rich and thick soy sauce. If you’re in the mood for something fried – a Japanese favourite all over the world – try the selection of tempura, battered and deep-fried vegetables and shrimp served with dipping sauce.

A traditional Japanese menu is found at Wakaku Restaurant

A traditional Japanese menu is found at Wakaku Restaurant

Fine Dining 

Fine dining may not be the first thing which comes to mind when thinking about food in Vietnam. Street food markets and side of the road restaurants packed with locals, yes. But not fine dining. While there is of course a lot to be said for eating like a local in restaurants and markets you would never find at home. However you should never miss the chance to experience fine dining in Vietnam and Hoi An especially. 

Hoi An is a town with an embarrassment of riches when it comes to fresh local produce grown in the outlying farms and fresh seafood caught a few miles off Hoi An’s coast. Hoi An catches it and grows it. What Vietnam’s top chefs can do with this produce is astonishing.  It’s a town where creativity flows in abundance and nowhere better than the kitchen.

Hoi An’s fine dining restaurant

Hoi An’s fine dining restaurants make wonderful dishes from the fresh, local ingredients

Best Fine Dining Restaurant in Hoi An: ThirtySeven Woodfired Grill + Bar

Website – Address: 37 Phan Boi Chau – Hours: 4:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., 4:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. Friday to Sunday. 

This is no more true than at ThirtySeven Woodfired Grill + Bar, where a passion for perfection rules supreme. The tasteful restaurant strikes the perfect balance between the modern and the traditional.  This is reflected in both interior decor and the food on offer. Cosy and traditional wooden furnishings run throughout the restaurant, with more modern accents of copper dotted throughout. 

With a fresh and uplifting atmosphere cultivated, there are perhaps no better restaurant settings than this. Diners have the option of dining indoors or outdoors. A breezy and cool terrace on the river provides the perfect option for cooler evenings. A roaring fire pit pays homage to the woodfired style of cooking championed in the restaurant. 

The Food at ThirtySeven

ThirtySeven’s reputation is of course upheld by the astonishing quality of food and drinks on offer. As the name suggests, ThirtySeven’s food is cooked using the age-old technique of open fire cooking. From grilling to smoking and from Asado style open fire pits to slow-burning ovens.  ThirtySeven utilises traditional cooking methods to create wonderfully modern flavours.

Cooking using only locally sourced woods, sugarcane and coconuts ensure an authentic, natural flavour is imparted on the food. Continuing ThirtySeven’s policy for using local ingredients wherever possible. Nibbles such as the lotus seed hummus provide a refreshing and delicious Vietnamese twist on the Moroccan classic. Being a grill house, ThirtySeven’s jewel is the range of Australian imported beef steaks. These are available in a range of cuts and with classic sauces, imparted with a Vietnamese twist.

If you’re in the mood for sharing, ThirtySeven also offers large plates and sharing plates.  For example the baked lamb shoulder served with yoghurt dressing, red onion pickle and corn tortillas. 

Hidden Hint: Avoid disappointment!  Sharing plates need to be ordered 24 hours in advance.

The range of the menu is truly impressive. With a team of mixologists and selection of fine wines (and cigars), take an evening to indulge and spoil your taste buds.

A group enjoys their meal at ThirtySeven Woodfired Grill

A group enjoys their meal at ThirtySeven Woodfired Grill.


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