Late night eats
The alley at 46-48 Tran Cao Van St, Hoi An
For late night street eats in Hoi An, Tran Cao Van Road is where it’s at. Although you will find other options on the outskirts of town, the stalls that line the street here are properly geared up for serving the late-night crowd, doing a roaring trade of both takeaway (meal in a bag) and streetside dining. Here you bypass the risk of being served up the dregs of afternoon-prepared cau lao that’s been left stewing in its own bacteria heaven. What you get served on Tran Cao Van Road is both fresh and locally priced.
Sitting at the entrance to the alley between 48 and 46 Tran Cao Van is our favourite com (rice) stall, Quan Tu Sang. This mobile kiosk with tables and dwarf-sized stools lining the alley serves up a Chinese rice storm in a wok from a secret family recipe that they won’t give up to anyone — we’ve tried — alongside tender grilled pork or chicken marinated in a Chinese five-spice sauce with a side of salad for 20,000 VND per plate. Servings are plentiful and the rice is sublime — unlike that flavourless sticky stuff often found at Vietnamese street stalls, Quan’s rice is fluffy, buttery and utterly delicious.
The husband and wife team running the stall speak no English, but have excellent pointing skills and fondly mother all foreigners who dine there, making sure they understand which condiments are recommended for each dish and where they go. The chicken sells out fast, so if that’s your preferred meat you need to get there before 20:00, but the grilled pork is usually available till around 22:00. Both are fantastic and you can combine the two for a real meat-fest.
Unusually for such a busy stall, it’s all kept incredibly clean, service is fast, tables wiped and the floor swept between diners. There are a couple of huge cats that keep alley rats to a minimum and there is always lots of action to keep you entertained.
Other food stalls nearby include a bun thit nuong (pork and noodles with a peanut sauce) place just across the road, where they also serve some interesting fresh juices — the avocado and lime one is good. If you were to wander further up (away from town) there are a whole load of barbecue and com ga stalls which we have not yet managed to sample but have heard great things about. That’s the thing with Quan Tu Sang’s 20,000 VND dishes — they are far too filling to allow further grazing.
By Caroline Mills
Last updated on 24th July, 2014.