Hoi An Cafe

We have been excited to visit Hoi An Cafe for some time (and I apologize in advance for all the missing punctuation marks). Not only is it another restaurant from my favourite list, "Never Heard Of It" by Scoutmagazine.ca but it would be an opportunity to try something just a little bit different! HAC is another Vietnamese restaurant, it is true, but it is a Vietnamese restaurant featuring the cuisine of the central part of the country. We all know that Chinese food is not just Chinese food. Chinese food varies among a great number of regions. The same is true of Indian food. We even get that poutine is representative of Quebec and not of Canadian cuisine as a whole but did we know that Vietnamese cuisine also varies by region?
Anyway, we arrived on Saturday not too long after opening (we're calling it brunch) and were seated right away. By the time we left, there were still a few tables available but evidently, the "never heard of it" does not apply to the local community.
We started with Banh bot loc la chuoi a steamed tapioca dumpling with shrimp and pork, served with fish sauce.
This is the same dumpling that we had at Do Chay about a week ago (except for the pork and shrimp thing). These were easily on par with the others with a delightful texture and a salty meaty filling offsetting the subtlety of the tapioca.
Next, we had Bahn beo nhan uot. These were rice cakes, evidently steamed on their plates and then topped with pork and a shrimp puree and served with fish sauce. This is the most unique thing that we have sampled in a long time! It was texturally pleasant  with the rice cake being soft but firm enough to provide a platform for the topping. Wonderful! Try this!
Next up was Cao Lau, a yellow rice noodle (yellow thanks to Tumeric) with sauteed pork and garlic sauce. The pork was garlicky and tender and between the noodles and peanuts, we were again impressed.
Like Pho (but not from southern Vietnam like pho) this dish came with some adders including shredded banana blossoms (which Marie often uses in Filipino cooking unbeknownst to me).
Finally came Com Bo Kho, a chunky beef stew that I had always attributed to French colonialism and which I assume involved central Vietnam just like the south (shame on me for this gap in my history knowledge). Our server assured me that it was authentic to the central Vietnamese aspect of the menu. I can only say that it was excellent like everything else that we enjoyed here!
Not vegetarian-friendly at all unless you are plain rice friendly (just being honest). The folks here are lovely and the service is attentive. You need to put HAC on your bucket list (unless you are vegetarian, as mentioned).
For what it's worth, we give Hoi An 4 1/2 out of 5.



Hoi An Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Are you guys eating again? At some point Marie and I became the kind of people who take pictures of everything we eat, whether in a restaura...