If you are planning to go to Vietnam, you have to, just HAVE TO go to Hoi An. Its Old Town has been recognized by UNESCO and even that doesn’t suffice to say all that this charming town is. There are lanes after lanes of cafes and shops in the middle of brightly coloured walls made years ago with old architecture. There is a lake which lights up in the evening. Actually, the entire Old Town lights up as every possible place is adorned with strings of lamps, earning it the world-famous name of the “Lantern Town”.
How to reach: Fly down to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City first as these are the two that have a few direct flights from India. Thereafter, from there catch a flight to Da Nang which has the nearest airport to Hoi An. From Da Nang to Hoi An it takes about 45 minutes by road; you can opt for private cabs or even shared shuttles (if the same is provided by your hotel/hostel.)
So, if you are headed to this gem, here are some of the must visit cafes for you to check out:
Hoi An Roastery
So much has been said about Vietnamese coffee that how could we possibly start the discussion on cafes in Hoi An without mentioning the best place in the area for coffee? Hoi An Roastery was started with the objective of sharing the unique method of preparation of coffee in Vietnam. They roast and grind their own coffee beans at each of their locations. This with the traditional Vietnamese style of making coffee ensures that you are in for a treat. Of course, you have to try the egg coffee when in Vietnam, it is sinfully sweet, so you can actually have a cup after a meal as a desert! Meanwhile, if you are interested in a cold beverage then the coconut coffee does wonders.
Hai Café, Restaurant, Bar and Grill
This restaurant caters to needs of every hour, whether you’re looking just for a mid-shopping snack, a hearty meal for lunch or dinner, or a nice cocktail to get your evening started. The café has indoor as well as outdoor seating available. I am personally partial to the outdoor because you can see the greenery drooping every here and there and the quintessential lanterns as well. Its casual style makes it all the more charming. In its fresh green atmosphere, you really ought to try the seafood delicacies in which they specialize. Their barbecued dishes are pretty delicious as well. Head here whenever you feel like and you will find yourself feeling more refreshed.
Welcome to one of the prettiest eateries in Hoi An! While the photographers do go crazy here, I have even found the ones who usually frown upon too many photographs give in to get a click or two. With its lamps and green vines, this café invites you in with absolutely true Vietnamese hospitality. Residing in an old heritage building from the colonial era, I would suggest heading over to their terrace. This terrace overlooks the ancient town allowing you to stare at its beauty even as you dig into food. Speaking of food, they are best known for their Vietnamese dishes. Must try recommends include the mi quang noodles and clay pot. Meanwhile, vegetarians you can try out the tofu with fried rice and bean sprout soup.
While Hoi An is certainly beautiful, it is fairly crowded as well as throngs of tourists, head to see it for themselves. If you find yourself in the need of being somewhere a little more secluded then you can head to Orivy. Their garden seating surrounded with tiny ponds and tastefully done interiors make a meal here a quaint experience. The floral touch, the wooden set up and the aromatic food have you feeling a sense of tranquillity and calm. Their rice cake and papaya salad are quite enjoyable. Make your way to this family run restaurant for a taste of serenity in the streets of Hoi An.
Now this is a lot more than just the experience of a café. The ground floor is actually a book shop! And they sell souvenirs and pretty artwork as well. So, you can actually grab a book for yourself and then head on over to get a bite. Their balcony seating allows you to look at the street, making it a charming experience. Their courteous staff is happy to share recommendations should you ask for them. Their small bites are a good choice if you are here for a short break instead of a meal. You can opt for the classic Vietnames banh mi sandwich amongst other things.
Lantern Town Restaurant
Now this one is again a restaurant that will have you itching to click pictures because of how simply pretty is. But once that urge is satiated, satiate your hunger with their range of local delicacies and sea food specialties. Take in the surroundings with the hand painted lamps and locally done elaborate artwork. You can opt for their terrace or even their outdoor seating. Go here when you are in the mood for something a little more on the fancy side. Be in no rush and spend time with ease as you enjoy the ambience, the meal and of course, your own company too.
Vietnam Sustainable Space
This is for when you are looking for a different experience. And more importantly, this is for the ones who are looking to travel more responsibly and sustainably. This café has been started with the mission of spreading awareness about more sustainable methods. Instead of being served tea, here you will prepare it yourselves as per their detailed instructions. They do not have a fixed price and instead encourage you to pay as you please. Their main objective is to educate visitors to imbibe a practice of better sustainable living. Kudos to them.
I hope you get to visit my favourite Hoi An super duper soon and when you do, may you enjoy scrumptious food and do a whole lot of happy hogging!
Click here to check out some of the best cafes in Hanoi!
Also, here are five dishes you must try in Vietnam!