In Vietnam it’s routine for locals to wake very early, then take afternoon naps to ride out the hottest part of the day.  The first time we visited Hoi An’s Central Market during the afternoon it surprised us to find most of the merchants sleeping in their stalls.  Now, it’s our go-to time to browse when we want fewer interactions with aggressive sellers!

In addition to sleepy merchants, we also found some of Hoi An’s best food in the Central Market. We had tried the famous local specialties of Cao Lau and White Rose dumplings in a more upscale restaurant on our first evening in the Old Town and weren’t impressed.  We tried them again from a small vendor in the Central Market and finally understood what the rave was all about—and for about 1/10th of the price!

Join us on a tour of the sleepy Hoi An Central Market here:

And take a peek at two tasty meals here:


  1. Hi Griffins – we used to live in Hoi An a few years ago, which is when we researched the Cao Lau story you’ve linked to for Feast magazine – thank you 🙂 I won’t be so rude as to ask which upscale restaurant you’re referring to (I can probably guess), however, can I clarify that while there is some truly delicious Cao Lau in the local markets and on the footpaths, there is also some very mediocre Cao Lau to be found on the streets, just as there is in restaurants. It’s not so much that the street Cao Lau is better than the restaurant Cao Lau, or vice versa. As long as they’re using the proper Cao Lau noodles, it all depends on the individual cooks and how much care they take with their pork and broth, the quality of chili sauce they use (hopefully they’re buying the best), and whether they’ve achieved the right balance of textures. I’d encourage you to try Mr Hai’s Cao Lau (address in our story). The same can be said of the White Rose. Ms Ly does the most delicate version, because of her sauce and how she handles the dumplings. Enjoy Hoi An! We absolutely loved living there. Get in touch if you ever get to Siem Reap 🙂

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