Coming to the ancient town of Hoi An, one of the most attractive cities in Asia, tourists can enjoy specialties right on the street.
Hoi An used to be one of the busiest cities in Cochin, which conversed the East and West cultures, therefore, the food here is very diverse and abundant.
Today, many traditional cuisines and specialties are offered by street vendors. At about 2pm, one can hear vendors advertising their food on the street. Whenever they find a customer, they stop, place down their bamboo frame under the shade of the tree to prepare food. The customers can enjoy the food right on the pavement or take it away. If they want to taste the cuisines on the spot, the vendors will lay the table, which is a small chair, to arrange food.
Ms. Huong, who has been selling “banh beo” (rice cake with shrimp powder) for more than 20 years, said that both Vietnamese and foreign tourists love to enjoy her food on the street. “The food is not very strange to many people but they like the way it is served and its special flavor. They can also witness the life of local people while eating.”
Visitors can find all kinds of food on the street, from Hue’s cuisines as banh beo, banh bot loc, rice with mussel to Chinese cuisines like tofu, xi ma phu, cao lau and Vietnamese and Chinese noodles, which are changed a little in the flavor. The food is served by mobile vendors but it is always hot.
Another reason that makes street food in Hoi An popular is the reasonable price, only from VND5,000-VND30,000/unit.
In Hoi An, vendors are not banned like in other cities because they have helped create the characteristics of this tourism town. However, they have to meet criteria on food hygiene, prices and are not allowed to disturb tourists.
“I charge the same prices for both locals and tourists,” said Ms. Hoa, who sells sweet soup on Bach Dang Street.
Walking through the ancient streets of Hoi An as Tran Phu, Le Loi, Nguyen Thai Hoc or along the Hoai River, you will see women walking with a bamboo frame on their shoulder, inviting tourists to buy their food. If the tourists refuse, they will still receive a wish and a smile from the vendor.