Whether you opt for authentic local dishes, Western favourites or a mix of the two, going out for brunch is an increasingly popular custom in the ancient Vietnamese city of Hội An. From enticing cafés serving global treats such as avocado and eggs to traditional Vietnamese joints serving the likes of local pancakes and dumplings, there’s something here to satisfy all tastes and whims.
In a quiet setting near Cua Dai Beach, this family-run spot is perfect for all moods, serving everything from club sandwiches to pho or mango salad with a choice of tofu, shrimp and squid, chicken or pork. Don’t miss the banana, mango or pineapple crêpes. The home-blended coffee features beans grown by local families in the central highlands of Vietnam, in flavors including coconut coffee and egg coffee.
Relatively new to the Hội An dining scene, this hip and laid-back spot has gone down a storm for its all-day breakfasts and lunches. The choices are almost overwhelming. Smoothie bowls and scrambled egg or tofu will tempt you first thing (all breakfast dishes are available in vegan versions), while falafel burgers or pitas and Middle Eastern bowls are more substantial alternatives. There are also fabulous smoothies and juices. This is virtuous luxury for those who want a healthy vibe without the need for a hair shirt.
The banh mi (filled baguette) is the queen of Vietnamese snack and breakfast foods, and according to the late chef Anthony Bourdain – a devotee of Vietnam and its cuisine – not only are Hội An’s the best, but there’s nowhere better in the city to try one than this simple café and takeaway. Its secret? A special sauce is made from the smoked-pork juice (although fish and veggie options are available, too). Be prepared to queue – this is one place that lives up to the hype.
Squirreled away in a lush private oasis of greenery down an alley near the Japanese Covered Bridge, this tranquil spot is open from 8am daily for traditional and contemporary Vietnamese and Asian-fusion dining. Daily cooking classes are preceded by market visits. There’s no specific brunch menu, but expect the likes of crunchy sour-sweet wonton and salty fried crab, with all ingredients and dishes being organic as well as preservative- and MSG-free. This is not the cheapest option in town, but its popularity is testament to its enduring appeal.
This long-standing favourite with a charming courtyard, occupying a traditional shop-house on a strip of trendy restaurants and bars, is best known for its al fresco evening barbecues and its open-air kitchen. For a late-morning treat, don’t miss the banh mi, the white-rose dumplings, the Hội An pancakes or the fresh ginger tea. Cooking classes are hosted by the on-site Red Bridge Cooking School. This place is normally buzzing, so try to book ahead.
One of of Hội An’s must-visit eateries, presided over by the formidable local restaurant doyenne Ms Vy, this original Morning Glory was opened to showcase everyday Vietnamese food, from traditional and celebratory dishes to comfort foods, workers’ meals, medicinal foods, street foods and snacks. Among the moreish Hội An dishes you might pick at brunch are steamed savoury rice-flour crepes and fresh rice-paper rolls with barbecue pork. It’s open from 10am. The second Morning Glory Signature restaurant at 41 Nguyen Phuc Chu serves refined contemporary Vietnamese cuisine, and Ms Vy also has a cookery school where you can learn to emulate her craft.
Opened by Canadian and Australian expats, this restaurant, deli and bakery is the city’s best bet for Western-style brunches, served in hearty portions – think deli sandwiches, Aussie meat pies, eggs benedict and Lavazza coffee brewed up by trained baristas. An adventure playground with a fort, tower, trampoline, bridge and swings makes this a great option for diners with kids, and there’s a covered outdoor area, too.