10 Best Cheap Eats in Hoi An

Hoi An food

Hoi An’s reputation as the epicentre for awesome yet affordable food is certainly well-deserved, but it took me a couple of weeks to navigate my way around and lock down the best spots for a mouth-watering experience on a budget. Upon arrival in this charming little city, I found that some of the eateries listed on “top ten’ lists weren’t as cheap (or luscious) as stated, so I decided to embark on my own culinary adventure and do a bit of research for us Hoi An newbies.

In no particular order, I’ve rounded up my top 10 favourite cheap eats in Hoi An, along with a brief summary of what you can expect to indulge in when you get there.

by Ziba, based in Hoi An

Best places to Eat for Cheap in Hoi An

Central Market Food Hall

Eating out in Hoi An's Central Market

The Central Market Food Hall is an excellent place to scout finely-crafted Vietnamese food at a low cost, ranging from fried rice to stuffed squid to various local noodles dishes including cau lao, mi quang or pho. There’s a vast host of friendly vendors to choose from and your dining experience is bolstered by a fun, bustling market atmosphere. I recommend dropping by in the morning for breakfast when there tends to be a greater selection of dishes in my experience.

Phi Banh Mi

You can find single-dish food stalls on all corners of Hoi An, especially banh mi vendors where you can grab a sandwich for 10-25,000 Dong (although some vendors sell to foreigners for 30-40). One particularly good banh mi restaurant where you can sit indoors to enjoy your sandwich is Phi Banh Mi. Its menu has a number of variations including a vegetarian choice, and you can even opt for vegan if you request avocado instead of cheese.

Banh Mi Queen

Banh Mi Food

Banh Mi Queen has garnered a reputation for being one of the best places in town for banh mi. It’s run by Madam Khanh, who takes her time as she generously stuffs warm and crispy baguettes with pork, cheese, chicken or eggs, along with pickled vegetables, soy sauce, and her secret homemade sauce. Prices start at 15,000 ever-so-slightly higher than your average street vendor – but you can read the montage of letters Madam Khanh has received from tourists displayed inside her restaurant to find out what makes this charming little spot worthy of a visit.

Quan Chay Dam – Co Dam: aka Ba Dam Vegetarian

Another favourite of locals – and nowadays many foreigners – is a small family-run eatery in a quaint little alley in Old Town, where you can choose from many vegetarian and vegan dishes, including fake soymeats and noodle soup. Their drink menu also includes soya milk, which I’ve often struggled to find in Hoi An. You can experience traditional Vietnamese food at super low prices (approximately 30,000 dong), but get there early if you can as they tend to close before 6pm.

Quan Chay Nhat Da

Quan Chay Nhat Da is a no-frills vegan restaurant that offers a good variety of dishes, mostly buffet-style, like mock meats and bamboo, but you can also order some of your favourite Vietnamese specialities including fried rice or pancakes. It’s a family-run joint with a warm and friendly atmosphere, and you’ll get a free green tea with your order. It’s a safe pick for vegans and vegetarians on the hunt for a cheap and cheerful place to enjoy a casual meal.


Cheap Eats in Hoi An

Another favourably-reviewed establishment that’s known for serving up authentic and affordable Vietnamese food in Nostalife. Nestled in a side street off the bustling riverfront, this charming little spot has a great atmosphere minus the overpriced and slightly underwhelming offerings of some of the main street restaurants. Their Cao Lau, a speciality of Hoi An, was particularly tasty. Cao Lau is sold at a number of street vendors around town, and whilst it’s unlikely to be a costly food choice, it’s good to know where you can get your hands on the real good stuff.

Café 41

Located outside the old town on Tran Cao Van – a street almost designated to budget culinary delights – Café 41 offers simple yet tasty Vietnamese grub. Hoi An’s answer to fast food, you can order rice pancakes, wontons, papaya salad and plenty more all of which are served promptly and can be washed down with the cheapest glass of cold beer you might ever find (30,000 Dong).

Hi Restaurant

Tucked away in one of the streets behind the main hustle of the old town, Hi is not the easiest spot to find, but this cosy, outdoor restaurant is worth the wander. Their menu hosts a colourful range of Vietnamese specialities and local dishes made from fresh ingredients, including fried fish, stir fried morning glory, clay pot eggplant, and plenty more. You can even take one of their cooking classes if you’re looking for a unique way to experience Vietnamese food in Hoi An.

Greek Souvlaki

Cheapest places to eat in Hoi An

Greek Souvlaki is a cute cubby hole on Thai Phien, where budget-conscious foodies can grab take-away or sit down for a casual bite to eat. Their menu consists of a specific selection of mouth-watering Greek dishes such as chicken or vegetarian ‘souvlaki’, hummus, tzatziki or Greek salad. Their standard souvlakis start at 50,000 dong, but overall everything on their menu is in an extremely affordable price range and makes a great alternative to Vietnamese food.

An Hoi Foodcourt Street

This vibrant food court on An Hoi Island is lined with open-sided eateries, offering local food at rock bottom prices that can’t be matched elsewhere. It’s one of my favourite places in Hoi An to enjoy traditional and freshly-cooked Vietnamese cuisine without loosening the purse strings. Most of the stalls cook up the same kind of dishes but prices may (ever-so-slightly) vary. The menus are extensive and diverse – thus better suited to the more decisive foodie – you can find rice pancakes, spring rolls, Cao Lau (speciality rice noodles), papaya salad, and many more finely-crafted delights passed down through the generations.


About the Author

Hi, I’m Zibawriter and peripatetic Londoner. I’m currently based in a fairytale city where I get to do more of what I love everyday – play with words, take beautiful photos, eat incredible food and learn about other cultures.

Hoi An Now is the hub for anything and everything that is Hoi An, where you can read more about this magical town and navigate your way through its diverse cultural offerings.


This article was published in June 2018.


10 Best Cheap Eats in Hoi An

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