Pretty, Peaceful Hoi An

January 14, 2011

We’ve spent a lovely 4 days in Hoi An, a beautiful city on the central coast of Vietnam. We’re staying on the edge of the Old Town, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. The architecture is just gorgeous, with a number of the old buildings preserved. Yellow houses with colourful shutters line the winding streets, and women wearing Nón lá hats ride their bicycles or carry bananas and sweets on their shoulders. It is very picturesque.

It is also quite touristy, however this is not necessarily a terrible thing. The thriving tourist trade has allowed for much business for the locals, as well as building preservation and restoration. Tourists flock here (including lots of families with young children) for the beautiful architecture, the many tailors, great food and to get a user-friendly taste of Vietnam.

We were here long enough to really get to know the city. We moseyed along the streets, and took our time wandering through the market. The amount off fresh produce on offer every day is amazing. And the herbs, oh the fresh herbs! Herbs are used more as a vegetable here, not a garnish. Vietnamese mint, basil and more – the flavours are just beautiful! (except for one herb, that is very foreign to us and that we simply cannot stomach. I must investigate what it is exactly, for it keeps popping up everywhere and without knowing it you have a pungent mouthful!)

Here are some snapshots of the Hoi An market.

We relaxed with a beer by the river on our first night.

Fried banana from a street vendor. Amazing. Ooooh these are addictive.

Trying our first Cao lầu, from a street vendor. This one was quite delicious, however not our favourite version – more details of our culinary adventures will come once I am home.

Bo Luc Loc – Ben’s favourite, he has to try it whenever he sees it on the menu.

Fish in banana leaf – we had had this quite a lot, whenever I see banana leaf my face lights up. Truth be told, however, whenever we get fish in banana leaf it is a little dry…

And there you have it – a brief look into our Hoi An visit. We were also lucky enough to meet up with some gorgeous friends from back home while we were here. And yesterday we went on a trip to visit My Son. Today we have a 6 hour cooking class, starting off in the market. Pho is on the menu, and I’m excited to see how they make it. I should tease you a little – we had our best ever pho while in Hoi An. I will provide more details all in due time 🙂

Tomorrow night we fly to Hanoi. I am excited to get back to a fast-paced city, and try even more incredible food.

Heidi xo

p.s. I have caught up on the awful situation in Brisbane (and the rest of the state) – I hope you are all safe and well, my thoughts are with those affected.

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  • Leah January 15, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    wow great post looks amazing. Really love your photos 🙂

  • Mez January 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Great photos, the food looks amazing. The fried banana thing is big in the Philippines too (I'm half Filipino) my Tia cooks the best version of it. Yum! Can't wait to see more of your magical adventures.

  • Hannah January 15, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Wowee, awesome photos…all that glorious food!! That fried banana looks quite delicious! Have fun 🙂
    Hannah x

  • Laura Preston January 15, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    wow, what a wonderful foodie trip. I'm impressed that you are eating so much street food so early on in your trip 😉
    Make sure you pop into KOTO in hanoi, they are doing a great job there

  • Hannah January 15, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to share a little bit of your trip with us while it's still occuring! Very excited to hear about the cooking lesson and your other eats 🙂 When I'm travelling, I prefer staying in places for long enough to get at least a little feel for it too 🙂

  • Carly Findlay January 15, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing 🙂 the food looks fabulous!

  • laurak January 15, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Looks like you're having such an amazing time so far Heidi!
    Am loving the instagram photos too! I downloaded it recently myself…so cool!
    Laura 🙂

  • The InTolerant Chef January 15, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    I want all the details on the cooking class. I plan on taking some when I go to Asia too, I hope you have fun!

  • Anna Johnston January 15, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Oh yes please. More details on the cooking school, my bro has done heaps of them & I can't wait to attend a number when I'm there next. Great photos Heidi, keep having fun 🙂

  • Julia @ Boredom Abounds January 16, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I love the market pics – one of my favourite things to do overseas is check out the local markets. There's always so much going on!

  • Phuoc'n Delicious January 16, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Such lovely pics Heidi! I'm going to Vietnam soon and Hoi An is definitely a must-see place for me; I'm getting so excited as I read through your Vietnam post.

  • Heidi January 18, 2011 at 1:06 am

    I will definitely be posting details of the cooking school soon, once I'm home. If you need it sooner though email me & I'll give you my thoughts! Thanks for all your comments, I'm so pleased you're enjoying the pics!
    Heidi xo

  • Kath (Eating for Living) January 18, 2011 at 6:41 am

    I'm looking forward to reading more about your food adventures! Using herbs as ingredients instead of garnish is one of the keys to good cooking, I believe.

  • Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets January 19, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    What a great trip and lovely photos. The food sounds wonderful and I'd certainly be addicted to those bananas right away too!