Sunday, December 21, 2008

We Heart Hoi An

There is a lovely little beach town in central Vietnam that is a designated UNESCO protected site, a whole town an UNESCO protected site! We originally plan to stay for only a few days and move on to the famous China beach where GIs were sent for relaxation during the “American War” but decided quickly to stay a whole week in Hoi An and let us tell you why. It is small, peaceful, quaint and very charming.

There is a lively open-air-wet market

A wonderful riverfront area with cafes and bars

where we sat and watched the scooter ferries

over 20¢ long neck beers

There is a large selection of hotels in Hoi An and we found one for $18 a night with a balcony, included breakfast, had a pool and a bar with a pool table that was free to the guest.

There’s also a nice beach

With nice beach front restaurants
  Oh and over 4,000 tailors in the small town of about 56,000

We got a few pieces of clothing custom made

a couple of suits

and a couple of coats

...and jackets, some shorts, dresses and pants; oh and a couple of hand embroidered silk robes.

We need not bore you with the details...just that we ended up sending home a crate via freight, because the shopping was that good.
The old Japanese/Chinese buildings in the old town are mainly shops selling custom tailoring, incredible artwork, silk embroidery, beautiful pottery, handmade lanterns and the most beautiful handmade jewelry.

Oh and there's the food. Local specialties and traditional Vietnamese with a central coast twist

We found the food in restaurants outside the open-air-wet market to be boring and uninspiring. But we managed to only get a couple days at the tail-end of our weeklong excursion to get in market food, which was phenomenial.

The best food we had during our time in Hoi An was at this small food stall in the market.

The woman sold small savory crepes which she called Banh Xeo (which are traditionally larger) and we found out they are actually called Banh Khoai.

She also sold a great version of the local specialty Cao Lao, only found in Hoi An because the wheat noodles are made from the well water in town - delicious.

Our favorite blog (which is a food blog - go figure) written by a married couple from Michigan who have been living in Asia for the last 14 years writing for Travel and Leisure Asia, Lonely Planet Food Editions and numerous food publications. She writes/He takes the pictures. It is the only blog we continue to check daily (if possible) even during our travels and we nearly screamed when we saw their latest blog about the best Cao Lao and eats in Hoi An! We thought we may have spotted them in the market, but weren't sure. and - we couldn't agree more! Hoi An, easily our favorite spot in Vietnam, we will be back!


Unknown said...

20 cent beer, man you guys hitting the premium stuff. And seriously, $18 hotel rooms, man me want to go to there now. Again, sounds and looks like you're having the times of your lives.

christineburgess said...

I am so hungry- the food is so beautiful! and man do you two look happy. christine.