Hanging out in Hoi An

Hoi An is a small fishing town that wasn’t damaged in the war and the old town is still intact. No high rise buildings just lots of cute houses, temples and plenty of water. It sits on a river that goes out to sea. There are lots of boats. lots of seafood and lots of tourists.


It’s a World heritage site and the architecture and the town is quite beautiful, especially at night when the town is lit up by coloured lanterns made from bamboo and silk that reflect on the water.  You can buy a paper lantern from one of the street vendors to launch on the river for 10,000 dong (40 cents)  and make a wish. They bob around in the water, all the  different colours illuminated by the light of the candles which makes a very pretty picture.


It’s well known for it’s food and one lady in particular, the famous Ms Vy, who is responsible for most of the food tourism. She opened her first restaurant in 1982, began to give cooking classes and now she has four restaurants including a street food food hall show casing the different foods and how they are made. It’s impressive – quite a success story

I went along to one of the cooking classes to learn a few more recipes and see what its all about. There’s no sign of Ms Vuy  but the class is very professional.


It begins with a trip to the market to gather ingredients followed a tour of the food hall where there are demonstrations of how to make rice paper, rice noodles and all manner of weird and wonderful dishes then the cooking class begins.


All the ingredients are laid out and it’s super organised.We made prawn and pomelo salad – absolutely delicious,


clams with lemongrass and ginger – very spicy,


marinated fish barbecued in banana leaf and then stir fried with noodles – yum


and a clever little Vietnamese ice cream trick.


It was well worth the money so if you’re ever in Hoi An check it out.

Originally we thought we’d hang out there for the week cooking and cycling to the beach but between the rain and the toy town tourism we have decided to bail out  so we’re up at the crack of dawn to hop on a plane to Ho Chi Min and then continuing south in search of sunshine. That’s another tree to plant!!

About lettercollumkitchenproject

A cook that gardens. Sun addict. Not a good addiction in West Cork hence the travel addiction. Add in a splotch of kitchen snooping while away, a big walled organic garden while home and a kitchen full of a bit of everything. Runs an organic bakery/delicatessen/food shop with her husband using food from the garden and the years of accumulated kitchen snooping. Check out the shop and garden at www.lettercollum.ie View all posts by lettercollumkitchenproject

2 responses to “Hanging out in Hoi An

  • Gun

    I was in Hoi An last week and one evening had the pomelo salad at the Morning Glory Restaurant. It was amazing! Would you mind sending me the recipe for the salad? I would love making it myself back home!

    • lettercollumkitchenproject

      Here you go, it is delicious! If you can’t find pomelos you can substitute pink grapefruit. Pomelo are asker to work with though.

      Pomelo with Prawns

      About 20-25 raw prawns
      1 pomelo
      1 small onion
      1 small carrot
      a bunch of mint leaves
      a small bunch chopped coriander
      1-3 chillies
      2 cloves garlic
      juice 1 lime
      1 tbs sugar
      2-3tbs fish sauce
      2tbs water
      a handful of crispy onions
      a handful roasted and crushed peanuts

      Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, drop the prawns in and cook for 2 minutes. Remove and drain.
      Peel the onion and slice thinly, break up the rings and put the onion into a bowl of iced water.
      Peel the pomelo then remove the membrane around the pomelo segments. Break the pomelo into bite size pieces and put into a large bowl.
      Peel the carrot and cut into a very skinny julienne.
      Peel and chop the garlic, chop the chilli then chop them both together.
      Put the lime juice into a bowl or glass, add roughly an equal amount of fish sauce and 1 tbs sugar. Mix well the dilute with a little water – roughly 2tbs.
      Drain the onion and mix with the pomelo, prawns, carrot, mint and coriander. Toss in the dressing then sprinkle a few crispy onions and peanuts on top.

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