Hoi An's top food tours and cooking classes

Vietnam’s riverside city is a culinary melting pot of flavours with influences from across Asia and Europe. Here, we round up some of the best foodie experiences in town.

Hoi An's street food leaves you spoiled for choice.
  • Lara Dunston
  • January 2019

A foodie destination like no other, Hoi An is teeming with bustling fresh food stalls and you can explore them with a local guide on a food tour or use the produce from local markets to whip up a local recipe at a cooking class. Simply find a tour or class that suits you and book it in! Got kids in tow? No worries, there are classes that cater to them, too.

Original Taste of Hoi An

Australian retiree and long-term Hoi An resident Neville Dean established the Original Taste of Hoi An opens in new window food tours. Neville introduced food-loving travellers to Madam Khanh, an elegant woman with a neat grey bun nicknamed “the Banh Mi Queen”. Neville’s excursions include 40 tastings over four hours at backstreet stalls and simple eateries and restaurants. Skip breakfast and be prepared to skip dinner.

Feel like a local with Neville's backstreets tour
Feel like a local with Neville's backstreets tour.

Eat Hoi An Culinary Tours

For the more adventurous, cheery Phuoc – or Mr Happy, as he prefers to be called – offers Eat Hoi An opens in new window food tours that include strolls through the city’s backstreets, trying snacks such as baby duck eggs. On his cycling tours through the lush emerald paddies to Tra Que village, where he was born, you can participate in rice planting or harvesting, depending on the season.

Hoi An Food Tours

If 40 tastings sounds like 30 too many, then do Hoi An Food Tours’ opens in new window Morning Street Food Walking Tour, which offers 10 delicious local tastings, including a banh mi stop. You’ll also have the chance to watch the family of the inventor of Hoi An’s famous white rose dumplings make the delicate morsels before you sample them for yourself.

My Grandma’s Home Cooking

In a town awash with cooking classes, local resident Phuong wanted to offer something different and created this slow food experience with her grandmother. A leisurely 35-minute boat cruise from Hoi An to a small island on the river delta, sets the scene for this unhurried experience. Starting with a countryside tour, there’s the opportunity to interact with local farmers, before returning to the family home where you’ll cook grandma’s recipes using the island’s native ingredients.

Nam Hai Cooking Academy

If you’ve ever had MasterChef aspirations and money is no object, check into Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai opens in new window for the ultimate holiday culinary education. The hotel’s cooking academy offers everything from one-day to week-long courses, all of which begin with an immersive experience. You might start with a tour of their on-site organic farm, where 35 varieties of vegetables and herbs are grown, or visit the nearby Phuoc Hai district, where you can learn how to row a traditional, round bamboo basket boat. The bespoke courses are completely customised and they can host classes for kids.

Graduate from The Four Seasons Resort cooking academy
Graduate from The Four Seasons Resort cooking academy.

Eat Hoi An Cooking Class

Mr Happy of Eat Hoi An opens in new window also offers a special family-focused culinary experience. Starting with a brief shop at a lively local farmers’ market to purchase ingredients, you’ll then pick fresh produce from Mr Happy’s own family vegetable plot in Tra Que village and engage in a laid-back cooking lesson in his grandma’s traditional farm-house kitchen.

Red Bridge Cooking School

If the idea of learning to make a pho soup stock and fresh noodles from scratch gets you excited, then do the seven-hour deluxe course at this outstanding cooking school opens in new window on the tranquil Hoi An River bank just out of town. It kicks off with a quick shop at the market to buy ingredients and includes a saunter through Tra Que organic community garden for a lesson on local produce and a boat cruise back to town when you’re done.

For a truly hands-on cooking course try Red Bridge
For a truly hands-on cooking course, try Red Bridge.

Also try: Hoi An Central Market

Make a beeline for this market early in the morning for the colour and atmosphere as much as the culinary offerings. First, browse the market, where you can buy a stainless steel single-cup coffee filter for as little as a dollar. Post-shopping, head for breakfast in the high-ceilinged food hall where cooks will call out to invite you to sample their specialties, such as banh xeo (crispy yellow pancakes filled with pork, prawn, sprouts and herbs) and bun bo Hue (a zesty beef soup). Don’t be surprised if a spoonful of spicy broth is thrust in your face – and don’t refuse it either!

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