My favourite hangout during my stay in Hoi An was Morning Glory Street Food Restaurant. I generally like to check out the local cuisine at the places that I visit, with the exception of internal organs and stuff that would appear on a Fear-Factor menu.
Here’s the view from the Morning Glory (pics on the left: from the 2nd floor & pics on the right: from the ground floor).
Hoi An has a few unique culinary specialties. One of them is the “White Rose” (aka. Banh Bao Banh Vat) which is an open-faced shrimp dumpling on an opaque rice flour skin, shaped like a lotus flower. Apparently only one family in Hoi An makes the dumpling, with a recipe that is fiercely guarded and which requires water drawn from a particular well in the town. I thought that the white rose dumpling skin was similar to that of Har Gao (Dim Sum: Steamed Shrimp Dumplings) though the texture was a little more firm than that of Har Gao skin.I ordered a plate (VND 25,000) at Morning Glory on my first day in town to try the town specialty. A plate of about 6 open-faced white roses were served along with a longish closed dumpling which was stuffed with beansprouts and some minced meat. Apparently, the open-faced dumplings represent the female whilst the closed dumpling represents the male. The white rose dumplings were tasty and an interesting change from the normal closed dumplings. The dumpling’s texture is light, so eating it doesn’t weigh too heavily on the stomach.
On my last day in Hoi An, I tried the Fried Wantons with Crabmeat (aka Hoanh Thanh Chien @ VND32,000). This dish was recommended to me by “Nhi”, a friendly waitress at Morning Glory who attended to me during my 3-day visit in Hoi An. She said that since I’ve already tried the White Rose Dumplings, I should also try the Fried Wantons. The wanton skins were crispy and they were stuffed with sauteed crabmeat then topped with chopped onion, tomato and herbs. It was like a Chinese-style fried wanton with a Bruschetta topping.
Another of Hoi An’s culinary specialties is “Cau Lao” (VND 18,000), a dish made with thick rice-noodles, served with some tasty broth and topped with sliced marinated pork, fresh herbs and croutons. You’re supposed to toss all the ingredients and then eat it. There isn’t alot of broth in this noodle dish, which makes it similar to Chinese noodle dishes which are served “dry” (ie. with sauce and sometimes with a small bowl of soup on the side). It was very tasty and I enjoyed crunching on the crispy croutons. This is apparently one of Hoi An’s most famous dishes with Japanese, Chinese and French influence. The texture of the noodles reminded me of a firmer and thinner version of Japanese Udon. The croutons, though made from flour instead of bread, made me think of Caesar salad. This is definitely a MUST-TRY!
I like the selection of drinks here as they have healthy concoctions to remedy various ailments.
The weather was so warm and humid that I pretty much tried most of the items on the Healthy Beverages menu. The Strawberry Yoghurt Lassi (top left pic) was smooth on the palate. The Sparkling Pineapple & Pear Juice (top right pic) was very refreshing on a hot day. The hot drink called “Calms a Cough & Soothes a Sore Throat” (bottom left pic) which was a combo of green tea, cumquats, honey and sea salt was most soothing for a dry throat. I think I shall try to replicate this at home as I’m prone to sore throats. The “Firm Up Ones Insides” concoction of orange juice, mineral water, sea salt & honey was an interesting mix of flavours.
Here’s a picture of “Nhi”, the sweet waitress who made quite a few good suggestions during my many visits to Morning Glory. Most of the waitresses at Morning Glory speak pretty good English and she’s one of the few who is able to express her opinions more freely.
Morning Glory Cooking School & Street Food Restaurant
106 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street,
Hoi An, Vietnam
Tel: (84 0510) 241555 / 241556
Fax: (84 0510) 911431