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Jan 30, 2010 02:17 AM

[Vietnam] Hoi An or Hue?

I'm in Nha Trang and can easily go to either Hoi An or Hue, but not both.

From a foodie perspective, is either more exciting than the other?

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  1. I really like Hue. Especially eating at the big market across the river. Day after day.

    1. love Nha Trang! fresh seafood barbie by the sea with litres of 'fresh beer' in a jerrycan all afternoon long for almost next to nothing... fond memories!

      although i got off the train in Hue just to eat Bun Bo Hue but ever since i've been dreaming about going back to Hue and staying put for at least 2 weeks just to eat! Hoi An is fine and extremely touristy but i'd still vote for Hue in terms of food. should you decide to go to Hue do try both local food and 'imperial cuisine'. [don't care for the latter, coarse dining is my style :) ]

      4 Replies
      1. re: Pata_Negra

        Yum. Think I'll head to Hue, then. I was leaning that way anyway.

        Pata_Negra, I'd love to get more info on Nha Trang eats. I haven't been able to find anything good! I started a separate thread here:

        1. re: Lina

          how can you not find anything good to eat in VN? lol... i could take a year to eat everything there. go to busy restaurants (preferably around lunch time) and just look at what people eat and order :)

          was there back in january 2005 without doing any food research prior. i wandered round checking out what people ate in busy restaurants. at the market i tried things that looked good. i think every afternoon i went to this bbq and beer place [sorry no idea where but it faced the sea and was much farther from the main tourist street/area] for seafood bbq and 'fresh beer'. never saw any tourists and they didn't charge us tourist price.

          1. re: Pata_Negra

            That sounds sort of like Lac Canh in Nha Trang, 44 Nguyen Binh Kiem. It's in most guidebooks. It is very popular with Vietnamese tourists, it's often full of big groups. And while very few independent western tourists ever venture there, it does get tour bus groups on occasion. I know. Whenever I've gotten the job as tour guide in VN, Lac Canh is a required stop.

            It's famous for its grill-your-own seafood. That's not my favorite style. When I go out to eat, I'd like someone else to cook my food for me. But it is very, very popular.

            I read your other post, Lina, and I have to agree. I haven't found much that I like in Nha Trang.

            As for Hue vs Hoi An, that's a tough call based on food alone. Both cities are touristy but both have some very good restaurants and the food is different in both places.

          2. re: Lina

            Mind you I was there 14 years ago, but Hoi An had a lot more charm than Hue and lots of wonderful riverside seafood restaurants. I hated Nha Trang--relentless touts and hawkers on the beach, no chance for peace.

            I quickly learned in Vietnam to avoid chicken and beef (both very tough and flavorless). Seafood is fantastic and pork was always reliable.


        2. there is a GREAT dish in Hue - we ate it twice and I can't stop thinking about it. Com Hen.
          here is the photo:

          11a Truong Dinh, Hue phone: +84 (0)9 1764 5227

          course in Hoi An there is Cao Lao - all the info is on eating asia, and there is a fantastic but very expensive for Vietnam place for clams and crab that Hesser and Bourdain like.

          1. Hue...

            Hoi An is a touristy dump...

            13 Replies
            1. re: Simon

              I'm sure it's changed considerably since I was there 13 years ago--the signs were already there that it was about to happen...

              1. re: Simon

                While I don't think it's a dump, I was disappointed by Hoi An. In the words of some friends, it has "died of tourism". I imagine it was great twenty years ago. Hue is interesting, but it rained and rained and rained while we were there, which detracted somewhat from the experience! My favourite city by far in Vietnam (of those I visited) was Ho Chi Minh.

                1. re: greedygirl

                  That's a great way to describe it. I'm in Hoi An now, and I haven't been to a place where the locals were so blatantly hateful unless I am spending money. I've stayed at three hotels and at all of them they are very nice and smiley until I tell them I won't be booking tours or onward travel through them and then after that they don't bother looking at me or just scowl. Food situation is okay, but it's all very overpriced. Haven't been too impressed with anything yet, but will check in later with some reviews.

                  1. re: Lina

                    Best place we found was a tiny place on the waterfront. Can't remember what it's called, but not fancy at all. Will see if I can ferret out the name.

                    1. re: Lina

                      I've found that those comments apply to just about every touristy city in VN, not just Hoi An. I've worked in the tourist industry in VN and I've been told by locals that I must be rich from all the kickbacks I receive. (I don't get any, but I'm definitely the exception.) If you're part of a big tour group you're usually fine but independent tourists are looked at as walking ATM machines by most locals. I've had people try to sell me stray dogs and have been ripped off more times than I can count. I've had some amazing food over the years but I don't know if I can stand going back.

                      1. re: el jefe

                        Yes, that's been my experience so far as well. Any non-touristy cities I should look at?

                        1. re: Lina

                          I can't think of any in Vietnam.

                          Are you going to Laos next? When do you get to northern Thailand?

                          1. re: el jefe

                            Sorry, I am terrible about noticing responses! I'd like to go to Laos next but am waiting to find a cheap fare out of here (Hanoi). Everything is booked up because of Tet. Are you in Chiang Mai?

                            1. re: Lina

                              Yes, I'm in Chiang Mai now, but I'm leaving for Sri Lanka for 3 weeks. I'll be back here in late March.
                              Maybe someone reading this thread can help me. There has never been a single post about Sri Lanka on the South Asia Board.

                              1. re: el jefe

                                I was in Sri Lanka a few years ago now! Where are you going?

                                1. re: greedygirl

                                  It's a 3 1/2 week trip so we're going almost everywhere, except Colombo and Jaffna. I'm most interested in recs for places we'll be spending more than one night -- Kandy, Galle, Negombo and Dambulla.
                                  I posted this on the South Asia board where I didn't get any replies. Probably best if you replied there --

                          2. re: el jefe

                            that's too bad...while i disliked Hoi An, i found Hanoi and Hue very pleasant, and met lots of nice people in both places...

                    2. HUE! Eat the com hen right on the river, there's a few casual restaurants serving up bowls for 5.000VND. Fantastic!!


                      Also try some Mi Quang will in the central provinces.