Vietnam’s regional cuisines are incredibly varied and hold many serendipitous moments for a traveller who is prepared to go the extra mile on a quest for authentic flavours. Sitting between the culinary meccas of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in the south and Hanoi in the north, the port town of Hoi An in central Vietnam can certainly hold its own when it comes to culinary gravitas.
A celebration of Hoi An’s growing culinary ambitions, Hoi An International Food Festival is taking place on March 20th – 26th 2017. The event is bringing together twelve acclaimed international chefs who will recreate their countries’ dishes using local ingredients whilst exploring regional gastronomic traditions in the process. Hoi An’s gourmet lures are not confined to the festival events, however, with the town’s celebrated street food being an attraction in its own right.
One of Hoi An’s biggest delights is diving headfirst into the world of unknown flavours. It is virtually impossible to go hungry in a town where regional dishes such as mi Quang, cao lau and the banh bao – banh vac duo (poetically known as white rose dumplings) compete for one’s attention with the country’s famous banh mi sandwich and pho noodles. The therapeutic effect of waiting for one’s ca phe sua (Vietnamese drip coffee sweetened with condensed milk) to brew – as water slowly trickles through the filter into the cup – could well be a local form of morning meditation.
For the executive chef at Anantara Hoi An Resort David Eldridge – a South African with a soft spot for Vietnamese clay pot pork belly – Hoi An is a treasure trove of new ideas and inspirations, which are translated into an array of tantalising dishes at Anantara Hoi An restaurants.
In Hoi An, with its locally grown fresh produce and exceptional talent, Anantara’s signature Dining by Design concept reaches its full potential. Promising the ultimate in tailor-made dining, the concept allows guests to build their own menu after a consultation with a chef and pick their preferred location – be it a candlelit poolside pavilion or a verdant rice paddy.
Whether your interest lies in traditional Vietnamese cuisine, local coffee culture or unusual food and beverage pairings (such as Hoi An oysters and Vietnamese pomelo wine), Dining by Design is fully customisable.
Up a dramatic staircase, the airy Lanterns restaurant serves a sumptuous breakfast buffet either in the French colonial dining room or outside on the terrace with sweeping river views and traditional Hoi An lanterns in royal yellow silk swaying gently in the breeze.
The perfect introduction to Hoi An flavours, Lanterns’ live cooking stations delight with a daily-changing menu of local specialties such as mi Quang (wide rice noodles with turmeric) and cao lau (noodles with pork and local greens).
Open all day, the Riverside Café serves light lunches on the waterfront terrace. The stylish monochrome interior feels like a traditional French café, and the bar counter displays a tempting selection of freshly baked cakes, homemade truffles and Vietnamese premium roasted coffees.
Upcycled dining tables created by a talented resident carpenter from old weaving looms carry the legacy of the family tradition of making exquisite furniture for the Imperial Palace at Hue.
O’malleys Bar & Grill is a cosy hub to enjoy a range of beers and delicious comfort foods. Sports fans can socialise over games of darts, foosball and pool, or cheer on live international matches that are televised on a large screen. Located in the vibrant street side courtyard of Anantara Hoi An, O’malleys is a popular spot to unwind for hotel guests and Hoi An residents alike.
The tranquil pool bar Reflections sustains throughout the day with tropical juices, indulgent cocktails and light bites, and a glimpse of fishing boats gliding along the river. After a morning of exploration, a cooling dip in the pool followed by exotic refreshments is always a welcome diversion.
With Spice Spoons cooking school, guests step behind the scenes of Vietnam’s exotic culinary culture, renowned for its enticing blend of Chinese and Asian spices, as well as the ingredients and traditions of classic French gastronomy. After mastering the five fundamental taste elements of Vietnamese cuisine – sour, bitter, sweet, spicy and salty – aspiring chefs are invited to dine on their creations such as papaya mango salad, fresh spring rolls and Vietnamese pancakes.
For further information, please contact Anantara Hoi An at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +84 (0) 510 3914 555.