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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Good Food in Hoi An

Days 809-812

As well as Tailors, Hoi An has an abundance of great cafes and restaurants. Some good food in Hoi An we returned to and some were new for us. And sometimes, as Jac says, we get great recommendations from our children.

Over to you Jac:

“Whenever we plan a family holiday, our daughter Abi has often looked into our destination and booked good restaurants in advance. Abi was in Vietnam with her fiancé Paul last year and she suggested Mango Mango, so I booked this to celebrate Lindsey’s birthday.

We had to postpone our booking as our flight from Ho Chi Minh was delayed, so instead, we turned up on Tuesday evening.

Mango Mango We had read a bit about the Chef-owner Duc. I spotted him working in the open kitchen and asked if I could take his photo while he worked. He immediately wanted to know my name and pump-fisted me!

Later he joined us at our table where we were already tucking into amazing starters. We gleaned that he had escaped Vietnam when he was 16 years old on a refugee boat in 1985 ended up in a refugee camp in Malaysia. Because of his love of food and people, he used his cooking skills to transform the awful produce they were given into something a bit tastier for all to share.

Somehow he ended up in Texas USA, and over the years his passion for cooking grew. Eventually, he pursued all sorts of work in various kitchens starting to build his career as a Chef while travelling the world. Finally, he returned to Vietnam, married and settled in Hoi An, opening Mango Mango, now with three other restaurants.

It was inspiring to hear his story, which would make a great book, and a joy to spend time with him.

After the delicious main courses with intriguing names (Dancing with Ducks, I love Seafood, and In the mood for Love), we were all surprised when Lindsey was presented with a beautiful chocolate and passion fruit pudding with a glass of champagne for each of us! What a treat!

We moved down to the ground floor where we spent time chatting to Chris (coincidentally also from Texas), who also has led an interesting life being involved in humanitarian work around the world. He met Duc here and agreed to do his Sales & Marketing. As we chatted, a great Irish guitarist played our requests and we took to the dance floor with Duc and Chris!

I then spoke to another young English guy who said he was there filming Duc with Lisa Snowden for ITV’s This Morning programme.

My son Joel worked for Lisa's fiancé George Smart until November last year! Joel had often met Lisa and it is apparent there is mutual respect and fondness for one another, so I asked to meet her.

Lisa was so lovely and treated us like long-lost friends, wanted to meet Lindsey & Tim when I explained about all their travels. Immediately Lisa pinged photos of the two of us together to Joel and then videos of Lindsey, Tim and I dancing!

What a special serendipitous moment.”

Thanks, Jac. A few other places we can recommend are:


Tim and I wanted to return to STREETS as we knew Jac would love the ethos of this place.

Jac is brilliant; she talks to anyone and is interested in hearing their story. She chatted for quite some time with the Manager finding out that it is a social enterprise project working with disadvantaged, orphaned, trafficked or out-of-school young people.

STREETS provides them with professional-level training and apprenticing, including English language and life skills, for careers in culinary arts and hospitality service.

All the young people who served us had been trained so well. They greeted us with warm smiles and couldn’t have done more for us. .... And the food was delicious.”

ROM Bistro

When we arrived, ROM Bistro was empty (not a great sign) however we were not disappointed. This vegetarian eatery aims at offering fresh food, especially mushrooms and it took us a bit of time to realise that ROM is the initials of their motto Revolution of Mushrooms. Doh!

My crispy pancakes arrived, and it wasn’t until after I had eaten it that I realised that the white sheet under my bowl which I thought was a napkin, was rice paper! I was supposed to wrap each layer around a sliver of pancake with some salad!

Jac’s meal came last, a large plate of vegetables and tofu with a big heated pan full of boiling soup. The three of us could have just shared this between us! We all waddled back to our BnB stuffed!

Another vegetarian place we frequented was Minh Hien Vegetarian Restaurant in Tran Cao Van, a bright cafeteria type place lined with books. With a Buddhist culture, there are quite a few vegetarian places here, and more opening with the rising interest in veganism around the world. For me being a non-meat eater for the last 38 years and Tim for the past month, this makes travelling life easier.

And Jac certainly enjoyed her egg coffee at 92 station café. As well as the food being tasty, the view on the top floor was spectacular, overlooking the tiled roofs and canary yellow painted walls of the quaint Old Town buildings.

We use google maps for locating high scoring eateries wherever we are, and as Jac says, we come up trumps every time. #MangoMangoHoiAn #STREETSHoiAn #ROMBistroHoiAn #92StationCafeHoiAn #MinhHienVegetarianRestaurantHoiAn #GoodFoodInHoiAn #HoiAn #LisaSnowden

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