Skip the hotel omelette
Unless you are partial to rubbery cold omelettes and brittle banh mi, and have the dexterity to deal with a cling-film swaddled fruit bowl before you’ve had a chance to sweep the sleepy dust from your eyes, you might want to barter a B off your B&B board. A haggle at most will reward you with a purse plumping $2 to $5; spend it instead on something with local colour and flavour or something relaxing and brunch based. We’ve taken some inspiration from the mum-knows-best-bible and hunted down Hoi An’s top spots to indulge in breakfast.
Breakfast like a local
From a steamy bowl of bun bo to Hoi An’s version of a full monty fry up — the supersize bahn mi, a huge pork-stuffed baguette with a couple of yolky fried eggs — an early morning street breakfast will pick you up and throw you head first into the colourful culture of the local community.
Although there was a time long ago when the perfect location to fill both your boots and your belly was riverside Bach Dang Street’s central market, the arrival of the ‘market tour’ crowd has somewhat ruined the charm. The flipside of this is that there are more street markets and stalls on every street in every locality, affording the humble breakfaster a far wider choice of fare.
For the Vietnamese, breakfast is typically soup, such as a good old-fashioned pho, or the country rice porridge chao, which comes in a multitude of flavours, with chao chay being the vegetarian option and chao vit (duck) being one of the tastiest. For the true Hoi An local however, the most popular of all is canh chua ca, a delicious sweet and sour fish soup with pineapple, tomato, fresh greens and bun noodles. Streetside breakfasts are served from dawn till around 09:00; expect to pay no more than 25,000 VND per dish.
Brunch like a boss
Step over on the walking bridge to An Hoi and you’ll find fancypants Fusion Cafe (35 Nguyen Phuc Chu, An Hoi Islet), a boutique eatery with budget prices. Brunch is served in cushioned comfort with river views and the occasional live jazz singer serenading in the background. The breakfast menu here is full of Western favourites, including one of Hoi An’s best value eggs Benedict, served with a choice of smoked salmon, ham or bacon with a price tag of less than 80,000 VND. It’s deservedly stolen the title of best fancy breakfast from Cargo for those in the know.
Full English fry ups
Kim Oanh Cafe (109 Tran Hung Dao, Hoi An) is another of Hoi An’s new breed of cafes to take on a menu and management revamp. Run by Brit Paul (quality control) and his Vietnamese wife Thuy (master chef), they have together produced Hoi An’s first British greasy spoon/Vietnamese fusion cafe where all aspects of the menu work, especially the Belly Buster, a gigantic, gut-busting, mother of all-day, full English breakfasts: sausage, eggs, bacon, beans, toast and hash browns.
For destination dining you can’t beat the backdrop of sea and sand peeking out of your own private cabana. An Bang beach’s Soul Kitchen serves up a tasty and varied breakfast menu with prices starting at 50,000 VND for a BLT or 90,000 VND for the big breakfast option, a decent sized platter of eggs, bacon, tomato, beans and… cheese.
By Caroline Mills
Last updated on 24th July, 2014.