My Favourite Hoi An Food and Coffee Spots
I spent about a week in Hoi An - one last stop after my Bali and Thailand travels before heading back to Melbourne.
I can’t say I’ve seen Vietnam, but I’ve definitely seen Hoi An and explored every corner of it - especially in terms of food and coffee. I’ve also met a lot of amazing people. I loved how easy it was to make connections and new friends in Hoi An.
I believe it was this combination of good people, good food and good drinks, that made Hoi An so special. Not necessarily all the lanterns, the water, the romantic atmosphere, the flowers and all that attracts masses of tourists, but those small encounters and special discoveries.
Below are my very top recommendations. Only the best of the best.
The Juicery was one of the first places I went to for breakfast one morning, and I’m glad I discovered it so early on. I made friends with Vee and Xuan, the two girls who started and run the place. The quickly learned my dietary preferences (no sugar or dairy) and were super accommodating. Though their premise is to offer healthy juices and food anyway, without any added sugar.
When I hadn’t been round till the afternoon one day, they had started wondering what was up and were truly concerned. I love the girls and their kindness, the vibe of the Juicery, and of course their juices, food and coconut coffee.
My recommendations are the mango juice and the coconut coffee - so delicious!
Allez Chu cafe & juice
Allez Chu is a tiny cafe/hole in the wall type of place on Tran Cao Van that most people just walk past without even noticing. It’s across the road from where local old ladies sit in the shade of the trees and drink Vietnamese coffee and milk tea all day long.
Jody, the owner, makes a limited number of some of the most delicious juices I’ve ever tasted. I loved her mango and pineapple shake/juice.
On my last morning I decided to be a bit more adventurous and try the tomato juice. I wasn’t sure I would like it, as tomato juice always brings up images of tetra packed tomato juice, the slightly thick juice that maybe tastes best when seasoned with salt and pepper in high altitudes up in the air. But NO, I was wrong. This tomato juice was DELICIOUS. I would have never thought that tomato juice could be this good. Fresh, ripe, flavourful red tomatoes blended and strained, then poured over ice. It was the perfect refreshing, full of flavour, nutritious tasting breakfast drink! So fresh, and perfectly sweet and savoury at the same time.
The morning that I left Hoi An, Jody gave me my last mango smoothie for free. I was so touched by it. It’s such a small act, but full of love and kindness. It may sound cheesy, but it really meant a lot.
Banh Mi Tam Hoa
I always got the vegetarian Banh Mi with egg here. The best I’ve ever had! I could have eaten two or three of those for breakfast every single day.
Banh Mi Bich
Another amazing Banh Mi (in a different part of town). Same here, I got the vegetarian one with egg. So good!!!
Phin Coffee is run by Thin Thin (or just Thin) and Ann, who were both tour guides before opening the cafe. One came from the North, one from the South, and so they met and settled in the middle - Hoi An. Thin used to drink five cups of coffee a day, spending $10 a day just on coffee (a lot for Hoi An), so he decided to open his own cafe. He now drinks 7 cups of coffee a day ;)
They only sell Vietnamese coffee from a farm in Dalat, where they work directly with families. Thin and Ann also pay the families more than is common, which of course is why the coffee is more expensive. They teach them how to pick the beans and create quality coffee. No stripping the trees anymore. They taught them different ways of picking fruit to get different tastes. Different levels of ripeness determines the sweetness of the coffee. They then still have to handpick and sort the beans to determine which washing and roasting process to use. Three different washing and drying processes are employed (fully washed is what most coffee shops/sellers use, but natural drying versions make coffee sweeter).
There are three different harvesting seasons as well - the first one at the beginning of December is when 15% of the coffee beans get harvested, next they harvest 70%, then 15% at the end of the season.
Thin knows SO much about coffee, harvesting, washing, drying, roasting, brewing, etc! It’s crazy how knowledgeable he is and how much education goes into it. I could definitely taste all his knowledge, effort and quality in the coffee. You also get free water with the coffee which is nice!
It was a conscious decision to only sell Vietnamese coffee, and promote and raise awareness of it, rather than importing from Kenya or Ethiopia. This way they can control the quality of the coffee.
They sell cold brew coffee as well as traditional Vietnamese drip coffee. Cold brew is a 24 hour dripping process, which removes a lot of the acidity from the coffee, which is why you can combine it with fruit juice (lime, pineapple or orange) - one of their exciting options on the menu. Thin had tried this unique combination at a different coffee shop where it was too acidic with regular drip coffee, so he figured out that you have to use cold brew.
I loved getting to know everyone here so quickly, again everyone was very welcoming and open. I only wished I could drink more than one cup of coffee to have at least three coconut coffees in a day as well as try all the other versions of coffee all at once.
Vietnam Travels is a Danish tour company run by Kenneth and Thao, both of whom I met at Phin Coffee (where they’re regulars and friends of Thin and Ann).
Kenneth came to Vietnam in 2008/09 backpacking, then back in 2011 to see more and catch up with some friends. He initially set up a tour company in Hanoi first, then Thao joined in 2014/15. They offer all sorts of tours all across Vietnam. A lot of travellers now do trips with them over a 3 or more weeks period, travelling through the country.
Watching some of the videos they created made me want to come back to Vietnam straight away, experience more of the country and go on all their trips. Food tours, cooking classes, cycling tours through the countryside visiting traditional craft makers, people cooking egg pancakes, boat tours in round “boats”, ... One of their trips looked super exciting - visiting the North of the country in winter when there’s snow, staying at a local homestay in the countryside. It looked incredible in one of their videos!
After meeting Thao and Kenneth at Phin Coffee, they showed me around Hoi An a bit more, and introduced me to Reaching Out (see below), as well as took me on one of their Hoi An food tours. Another beautiful encounter with amazing people.
Reaching Out Teahouse
Reaching Out is a quiet place. It’s a place where only deaf people work, and it’s one of the most peaceful and fascinating cafes to be at. I watched Thao communicate with some of the women working there, which was super interesting.
Reaching Out is such a beautiful, peaceful oasis. A quiet place to retreat to and rest on a hot day, have a refreshing lime juice or herbal tea (which you can get hot water refills for! So cool!). I also loved that they don’t add any sugar or syrup to the lime juice straight away - you can do it yourself and choose from normal syrup, cinnamon and ginger.
Quan Chay Am (vegetarian)
I went out for dinner to Am (Quan Chay Am) with Vee and Xuan (from The Juicery) one night. We shared so many dishes amongst us three - all of it was delicious! We ordered fresh spring rolls, crispy baked tofu, lotus stem salad, mushroom salad, and a mushroom hot pot. All options were great and fresh, and tasted healthy! A nice plus was of course going out for dinner with the girls and getting to know them better over (vegetarian!) food.
I hope this round-up of all my favourite places (and people) in Hoi An is helpful for you when planning your trip. If you end up at any pf the places, send best wishes to the amazing people running them from me. :)