Exploring Hoi An

March 15, 2011

Vietnamese Iced-Coffee, cà phê đá, and an English language paper. The perfect way to start to your day? We thought so.

After our Whirlwind Day in Ho Chi Minh City (links to parts 1, 2, 3 and 4), we caught an overnight train to Danang and then a taxi to pretty little Hoi An – see a recap of this journey here. Unfortunately, our photos from the first 2 days in this beautiful town were lost *sigh*. I cried. Let’s move on…

Day three in Hoi An started like this…

Chilling in a little cafe just outside of the Old Town, fuelling up for the day ahead.

We ordered Cao lầu to share, which is a local delicacy.

This was our second Cao lầu, and probably our favourite. Hoi An is famous for Cao lầu, a dish consisting of beige-coloured rice noodles topped with thin pork slices, bean shoots, herbs and bits of thin, crispy rice cracker. Water from an ancient well is used to make these special noodles, and this gives them a unique flavour and chewy texture. See this fabulous post for a more detailed, educated explanation of Cao lầu. While we enjoyed trying this local delicacy, we weren’t particularly enamoured with the dish. Just our personal preference, I suppose. I can’t quite pinpoint where these blasé feelings arise from – perhaps too much blatant love for Pho?…

Also a part of the dish was this pretty, club-shaped herb. See how attractive it is?…

Don’t be fooled, my friends, for this is a devil herb. This gross greenery was everywhere in Hoi An, sneakily popping-up in our meals. Ben and I could not stand it. Usually I am a herb lover, but this was bitter and sharp and utterly unpleasant. We asked many locals to identify it for us, hoping to get an English translation, only the same name in Vietnamese kept popping up “yap ga”. Is this correct, can anyone pretty please help? I would like to know what it is so I can expressly avoid it in the future 🙂

We also shared a Bánh chuối. During my research I stumbled across recommendations for Bánh chuối, it’s English translation being ‘banana pancake’. “Yes. I will definitely be trying this”, I told myself. And so try it we did. It tasted just as it looked – like any regular pancake filled with banana. It was yummy, especially with sweetened condensed milk drizzled on top. No gastronomic feat, but tasty nonetheless. This pancake wasn’t fried – I have seen pictures of many fried versions, and while initially delicious, I am sure, they must be oily and a little heavy.

After filling our bellies and catching up on the news 😉 we set off to explore the Old Town…

Everywhere I turned there were gorgeous, ageing yellow walls with quaint, coloured wooden shutters. The old and wise trees were accessorised with pretty little golden lanterns. I found myself enamoured with these beautiful buildings…

We also spent a bit of time wandering around the An Hoi Islet, just across the bridge, which is a more raw, untouched area.

Visiting this side of the Thu Bon river affords you a beautiful view of the Old Town, especially at night. We would sit with a Bia Hoi (“fresh beer”, popular throughout Vietnam) and watch the twinkling lights of twilight in this sleepy little town.

Hoi An really is an enchanting place.

Heidi xo

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  • hollypop March 15, 2011 at 8:54 am

    how do you look so clean when travelling? and your hairs are so smooth and not frizzy at all. witchcraft!

    love the pics!

  • Ashley March 15, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Love your photos! So charming and sweet, I've only ever really been to the big cities, these little towns are so cute!

  • Blithely Unaware March 15, 2011 at 11:32 am

    The Cao lầu sounds delicious Heidi!!
    I love it when foods have a certain flavour imparted to them due to how/where they have been made for years, decades, centuries.
    I know Schöfferhofer beer is like this – I love that beer!

    I need a bowl of Pho right now, for this silly cold.

  • Michelle Chin March 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    I want the banana pancake like right now!

  • Hannah March 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    I want a banana condensed milk pancake now! And tomorrow. And the day after that. Forever, really.

  • Iron Chef Shellie March 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    I really hope I get to Vietnam in my lifetime… so much of this world I'd love to see. Gorgeous photos 🙂 x

  • Julia @ Boredom Abounds March 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Yum – iced coffe sounds so refreshing. Love the photos!

  • Anna Johnston March 16, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    You two always look so fresh & tidy & clean when your travelling…., some of my travel pics are great photos, but don't quite cut it for public display (teeheee). Another great post guys…. awesome journey through a fabulous land 🙂

  • Heidi March 17, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Hollypop – haha, witchcraft!! No, I just don't get frizzy hair. It is alway straight, straight & FLAT! That is my problem 😉

    Blithely Unaware – I hope you're feeling better, lovely. I have never had Schöfferhofer, sounds delicious!

    Ashley – the little towns are gorgeous, and a nice break from the city rush!

    Michelle – I wish I could send it to you!!

    Hannah – I liked the ones in Thailand better, I can't wait to show them to you!

    Michele – I hope you get there too! It is just beautiful, so much to see and love.

    Julia – thank you! 🙂

    Anna – hehe, I am sure your photos are very worthy of public display! Thanks, lovely.

    Heidi xo

  • Kath (My Funny Little Life) March 17, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Boohoo for losing travel pics! 🙁 … But the ones you have are absolutely beautiful as well! I especially love the one of the single yellow lantern you pictured from below.

  • Heidi March 18, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Kath – Thanks, lovely! & I know, I was so upset about the pics 🙁 oh well…

    Heidi xo