Hoi An is a famous old town in Quang Nam Province, in the center of Vietnam, which is famous for colorful alleys of antique houses, attractive lanterns at night, and unique cuisine. The Hoi An Cuisine reflects an art of harmony and moderation. Due to the cross-cultural influences, the cuisine in this ancient town is diverse, special, and appetizing. Today, let’s get to know a special dish: the naturally sweet mussel caught from Hoai River, for your next enjoyable Food Tours to Hoi An.
The Folksy and Yummy Hoai River Mussel Dish in Hoi An
The Hoai River becomes noticeable with a rich resource of the fresh mussels which become the highly nutrient and delectable dish of the land. In general, February and March are the two busiest months when the local fishermen begin the mussel “harvest season.” The residents living in the riverside fishing villages will sail their boats to the full-of-mussel areas and then use their nets to catch the clusters of mussels. According to the local belief, the mussels caught in the months of February and March are at their sweetest and most nutrient taste. In fact, catching the mussel is the major livelihood of some families in the area. The techniques are passed from generation to generation.
For your travel to Hoi An, it’s easy to rent a bicycle and bike along the sides of Hoai River and cross An Hoi Bridge to reach the hillock of mussel. Most of the guests find it very interesting to witness how the experienced fishermen skillfully pull the nest full of mussels out of the water, make them clean, and take them to the mainland. The newly caught mussels are then processed to serve the tourists. The dish is folksy, sweet, and nutrient indeed. With the major ingredient of the fresh mussel, the local chefs create the Hoi An mussel salad with the addition of various herbs but make sure that the original taste of the seafood is well preserved. This kind of salad is often eaten with the grilled crispy rice paper. Besides the mussel salad, the other favorite dish is the stir-fried mussel combined with the fried peanuts, shallots, garlic, herb, chili, etc. As seafood should be cooked quickly, people only stir-fry the mussels less than three minutes.
The mussel salad in Hoai River is so famous that even the busiest travelers to Hoi An should stop by the area and enjoy the naturally sweet dish. The original, sweet, and nutrient flavors of the mussel help the patrons feel fresh and peaceful. Being grateful for the good meal, many foodies are willing to come back to Hoi An and cherish the food. In fact, the local people make use of the mussel in their daily family meals. While some add it as the key ingredient for soups, the others cook the mussel pancake, sausage, etc. The variant flavors of the dish make people never be fed up of eating it.
Together with the Mussel Dish in Hoai River, What Does Hoi An Cuisine Have?
The pretty and antique town also attracts many international connoisseurs with a wide arrange of specialties. You can fulfill the stomachs with some of the iconic food, from the steamed rice cake to the white rose appetizer. Thanks to the generation-from-generation preservation, the culinary art in Hoi An is praiseworthy.
- Cao Lau: It is the signature dish of the land. Including the pork broth, yellow noodle, sliced pork, sprouts, herbs, etc., the “Cao Lau” dish should be enjoyed with some slices of croutons. The flavor of this dish remains secretive, and only the sons/daughters of the ancient town can cook it in a right way.
- Hoi An Chicken Rice: It has the rice cooked with the chicken, turmeric, onions, spices, and Vietnamese coriander. It is the chefs’ skills to mix all of the ingredients and spice them. Some variations are spicy with the chili sauce and pepper while the others have the slightly sweet taste.
- White Rose Appetizer: In the rose design, this is a type of shrimp dumpling. The translucent white dough is cooked with the shrimp (or pork) inside, and made in the shape of the rose. The appetizer should be decorated with the fried shallots and served with the succulent fish sauce which consists of shrimp broth, chili, sugar, and lemon. The whole dish looks aesthetic and appetizing.
- Quang Noodle: The nutrient broth is served with white/yellow noodle, shrimp, pork, herb, roasted peanuts, and especially the crispy rice paper. Usually, people prefer the bowl of the turmeric Quang noodle, and some even slurp it until the last drop. The flavorful dish can be widely found throughout Vietnam, but Quang Nam is its cradle.
- Steamed Rice Cake: This cake in Hoi An is bigger and thicker than the one in Hue; also, the flavor is lightly sweeter. Topped with the fried shallots, chili, spring onions, the steamed rice cakes can give you a good appetize. Even their eye-catching look urges you to try some pieces right away from first sight.
Hoi An Culinary Tour for the Foodies All Over The World
The foodie tour in this little old town secures the connoisseurs to get what they pay for and expect for, with many opportunities to savor the iconic local food. Meanwhile, the city tour cheers you up with the antique attractions of the old houses, traditional villages, symbolic shops, colorful lanterns at night, and more. If you book a Hoi An Food Tour, also be ready to join the hands-on cooking session and bring home some good recipes. If you would like the culinary city tour along the streets of the old town, then get started at 3:00 PM when the streets are for pedestrians to enjoy various street food (without motorbikes).
The cuisine is one of the highlights to be explored when you visit any new destination. The same goes for the Hoi An destination. Take your time to savor the local delicacies such as the naturally sweet mussel salad in Hoai River, the famous “Cao Lau,” or the identical Hoi An Chicken Rice!