There is a blooming grow of Vietnamese food in Hong Kong recently, and I have always been fascinated to visit Vietnam, the well-known country of great food and unique Vietnamese coffee. I had my first visit to Hoi An and Da Nang cities with a group of seven girlfriends in June. The weather was sunny and extremely hot (38 degrees Celsius lol), which did hesitate us a from touring around for street food. Nevertheless, we did manage to try a few amazing local food stores which I would love to share here.
Pho Lien Beef Pho in Hoi An
This place was recommended by our Hoi An Eco Tour guide, who told us this is his favourite pho place in Hoi An city. Pho Lien has been doing pho for several decades and there are a few branches. This branch we went is located near Hai Au Hotel, and it is seemingly run by a family. Upon seated, we did not really have to order as they only sell one kind of beef pho. I knew it is going to be good because the hit rate of this kind of only-serve-one-kind-of-food restaurants is often high!
The first sip of the broth is mind-blowing! I have tried different pho places in Hong Kong but I have never tasted a broth so ’sweet’, clear yet flavourful. Pho tastes differently in Vietnam, pho at north tastes clear and salty, middle and south taste sweet. I know the broth is made from ox bones, but I wonder what else did they add in cooking, perhaps carrots, onions and some herbs? It was so tasty.
Along with the pho, we were given different herbs, like cilantro and mint, chilli, bean sprouts, star fruit and lime to add to our clear and sweet noodle. Despite the hot weather and the fact that it was our first meal of the day (yes Vietnamese people like to eat pho for breakfast), we all enjoyed it very much and ordered a second one! Though it is relatively more expensive than other pho places, it is only slightly less than 2USD. It is definitely a worth-visit in Hoi An.
Banh Mi Phuong
Known as “the best banh mi in the world” named by the famous chef and food critic Anthony Bourdain, many tourists like us are attracted by its name. Like eating at Pho Lien beef pho, we did not have to choose the food (although there are many choices of banh mi according to their menu) as everyone is eating one food – their ‘best banh mi’.
The ingredient includes various kinds of meat, meat pate, mayo, fresh herbs. Baguette is crispy on surface and soft inside. Taste-wise the meat is seasoned and marinated to the strong side, it could be salty to somebody. Overall a delicious banh mi, though I will not say it is the best in the world as I honestly have limited experience in trying Vietnamese banh mi. Given the cheap price (less than 1USD) and the reasonable size, I would recommend to put it on your to-eat-list in Hoi An.
I wish I could have spend more time in this cute cafe, it is a small coffee shop with elegant interior. I got a iced Vietnamese coffee with milk to-go, the coffee is aromatic and rich, I like having iced Vietnamese coffee because you still taste richness from coffee even when the ice melts. Though they also add condensed milk in coffee like those in Thailand, Vietnamese coffee is more aromatic with layers of flavours, thus more acceptable in its level of sweetness.
Our first impression of Mango Rooms is their colourful interior and food. They serve fusion Vietnamese food, do not expect ordering traditional Vietnamese food there. I chose this restaurant based on reviews on the internet, it is a nice place, and their food is quite good but I did not find it impressive. You may want to give it a try if you are touring around the Hoi An Old Town.
Due to the limited time stay at Hoi An, there are some places on my list which i did not manage to try, including Madame Khan (as recommended by my fellow Instagram friend) and many coffee shops like The Espresso Station and Hoi An Roastery. Let me know if you have tried them!
Cheers! Shelly x
*Photos all rights reserved to @shell_we_eat