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Hoi An Markets : Central Market, Night Market and Others in Hoi An

We spent almost 6 months living in Hoi An Vietnam, so we needed to shop at her markets regularly. We started with the Hoi An Central Market near the river in the UNESCO listed Old Town. As we found our feet we started to use Tiger Market and more. The Hoi An Night Market is just for the tourists. More on where to shop in Hoi An, how, and for what in our guide to the markets of Hoi An.

Dawn at Hoi An Market
First light, around 6am, a solo walk into the market. There is activity down here way beyond the advertised opening hours.

Markets in Hoi An

We’re settling into our rental house in Hoi An and loving it, but what’s the point of having a kitchen if you have nothing to cook? Time to brave Hoi An Markets.

Morning Markets and Night Markets

The food and produce markets we mention below are all open early in the morning. The night market starts around sunset with stalls setting up from roughly 4 pm. The morning markets mostly don’t close as the day wears on but certainly, some stalls do and fresh supplies sell out. There are multiple morning markets but the Central Market, below, is the one most tourists will see unless they book a food tour with market visit in a more “local” market,

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Hoi An Central Market, Cho Hoi An

Hoi An Central Market Early Morning
Hoi An Central Market Early in the morning as the stalls set up for the day. The market stretches from the water’s edge into the town, this end, closest to the well ( seen on the left) is where you can find the street food stalls.

Hoi An’s Central Market was the first one we tried, there are others not far away by bike, but Central Market is in the Old Town on the water’s edge and a fascinating place to visit even if you’re not shopping for food.

 Buying food at Hoi An Marke
Eggs come in chicken, duck, quail and “What the heck is that?” varieties. Chef trying, and failing, to get a decent price.

Our local mini marts sell almost nothing other than soy sauce and beer. That’s great, but we need some fruit, vegetables, cooking oil, rice and so on. Time to polish up our bargaining skills and head out shopping.

If you’d like to see this same market in times of flood, you need this post

Hoi An Central Markets
A separate market building houses non-edible goods, from plastic shoes, to hair accessories to woven baskets. Continue on the road lined with produce stalls to find it.

Shopping in Hoi An Central Market

First, Breakfast at the Street Food Stalls Within the Central Market

Hoi An Market Street Food
It’s easy to order, every stall has a menu in English and Vietnamese and the food displays are clean and attractive. You’ll often find us eating in the market.

The Central Market food court, if you can call it that, is a decent spot for breakfast. A multitude of small stalls, each serving almost the same thing at better prices than the local restaurants. The food is good in the market but I’ve had better at stand-alone street stalls elsewhere in town.

Hoi An Street Food. Central Market Cau Lau Breakfast
A breakfast bowl of cau lau, but you can take your noodles, rice, dumplings or Vietnamese pancakes just about any way you like at the Central Market street food hall.

This market food court is a sort of half-way house between for locals and for tourists. You won’t find banana pancakes and omelettes here, you’ll find good Vietnamese food and it’s delicious at any time of day, the perfect way to get warmed up for some food shopping.

Vietnamese Street Food and Hoi An Specialities

Vietnamese pancakes at Hoi An market
My latest obsession, Vietnamese pancakes, they are amazing! Cooked to order in Hoi An’s market. Rice flour makes them ultra crispy.

A full post on Hoi An’s food specialities and Vietnamese street food in general is here, but dishes to enjoy include:

  • White rose, delicate rice dumplings with a single piece of prawn, steamed.
  • Cau Lau, noodles with  greens and pork, no soup ( Cau Lao has fascinating origins)
  • Bun Bo, soup noodles with beef.
  • Spring rolls, fried and fresh, vegetarian and vegan friendly.
  • Vietnamese pancakes, banh xeo, with pork and shrimp, add herbs and greens, wrap in rice paper and dip.
  • Mi Quang, noodles with such things as quail eggs, shrimps and pork cooked in a delicious stock or soup. ( read about Mi Quang here)

There are too many dishes to list! Banh Mi is a more western friendly option, filled baguettes, even a simple cheese spread sandwich is taken to a new level in Vietnam. Try Madam Quang’s Ban Mi shop, east of the Hoi An market, it was made famous by TV chef Anthony Bourdain, be prepared to queue.

Hoi An Fish Market

Hoi An Fish Market sorting crabs ( Central Market)

If you can get down to the river early enough you might get the chance to see the fish deliveries. The market officially opens at 6.30 am and I’ve managed to get here at 5.30 am, but I haven’t seen a fishing boat delivery yet. I’ll keep trying.

Much of the fish on sale, from superb prawns to tuna and small sharks, is ultra-fresh and often still alive. Women work, cleaning, chopping and preparing the fish and crustaceans for sale.

The Meat Market

Buying meat hoi an market chicken

It gets a little grisly in the meat section, but it’s much cleaner and smells better than most Asian or Central America meat markets we’ve visited. I doubt we’ll be buying meat in Hoi An, it’s easier and cheaper for my carnivores to just eat out 3 times a day, but this is where we’d have to come if they want me to cook poultry, pork or beef.

Fruit and Vegetable Market

Buying fruit and vegetables hoi an central market
She’s laughing because she knows we’ve just paid double the price for our rambutans!

If you’re packing a nutribullet this is where you need to head to get the makings of an amazing smoothie! We filled our bike baskets with rambutans, passion fruit, mangoes, bananas and avocado for just a few dollars. I strongly suspect that we paid at least double the local price but we’re all under the weather with a respiratory virus and we just couldn’t face haggling over a dollar or two this morning. Next time we’ll know better.

Fruit at Hoi An Market
Never mind the price, the fruit is awesome, we filled two bike baskets for a few dollars to keep us in fruit smoothies for a while.

Spices, Oil, Flowers, Incense and More

Selling flowers at Hoi An Market Vietnam
The flowers are quite something to see, most are grown nt far away in Hoi An’s own flower growing district, Tan An.

The market is a treasure-house and you could probably buy everything you need to self cater in Hoi An. We’ve bought a few basics, but it’s hard to know when to haggle ( probably, all the time) when you’re buying basics like cooking oil. We’re a bit worn down and tired at the moment, but we’ll figure out how to shop soon and for now, there’s food available on the street every few paces, it’s cheap and it’s good, we’ll eat out. We have coffee, smoothies and eggs and that’s plenty.

Buying Coffee in Hoi An

Buying coffee in Hoi An Mia Coffee Shop Arabica beans
We went with a more western style arabica, the local speciality coffees aren’t what we enjoy.

We cheated on the coffee, we headed to a western-style coffee shop we use often ( Mia Coffee, they also do great carrot cake) to buy a bag of their arabica beans which they ground for us on the spot. That and a little cup-sized coffee filter is keeping us well caffeinated when we don’t want to go out in the heat.

You can buy a 1 cup filter in the market for a dollar or two, we stupidly left our travel coffee makers at home. The coffee they sell at the Central Market tends towards being chocolaty or caramel flavoured, the local beans are slightly sweet. We don’t like it and a lot of it is processed using civets   (squirrel coffee is just a brand ). It’s probably not nice to furry creatures. My inner vegan tends to avoid that sort of thing.

Hoi An Central Market Opening Times

Hoi An Night Market
Parts of Hoi An market stay open well into the night.

The official opening times for Hoi An Market are 8am to 7pm but we know that much of the market is open well beyond these times. Maybe those times refer to the actual market buildings, I’ll check.

Hoi An Night Market

The Hoi An Night Market is on the far side of the river, we call this the party side and you’ll soon see why. Music bars and clubs pump music, seemingly competing to drown each other out. This disturbance is confined to a small area near the night market, the rest of the old town remains relatively peaceful.

Mostly the night market sells imported Chinese junk and souvenirs but there are plenty of food stalls too. It’s open from around sunset every day.

On our most recent visit to Hoi An (2019) the Night Market had spread to the near side of the river, next to the Central Market. Stalls on wheels appear from around 4 pm meaning this street has lost much of its charm along with its lovely sunset views of the river. Hoi An is developing fast. We’ll be back in 2020 to share more.

Tiger Market, Cho Tan An

Tiger Market Hoi An Cho Tan An
Tiger Market in Tan An is where we shop now. There is a small supermarket selling western foods including olive oil.

Tiger market is “our” market and we do most of our shopping here, it’s easy to buy fruit, vegetables, fresh rice noodles, tofu, meat and some homewares. It’s a small market and the prices aren’t much different to the Central Market but after a while the ladies charge you less or throw in more free gifts.

Right opposite Tiger Market there is a small supermarket that stocks a good selection of western foods, including vegan supplies.

Ba Le Market, Cho Ba Le

This local morning market serves the large expat and traveller community over in an Cam Chau and Cua Dai Rd. This market is bigger than Tiger but otherwise same same. It’s near Dingo Deli.

Where to Buy Bread, Banh Mi in Hoi An

You can buy a plain banh mi from any of the banh mi stalls if you ask.. To get them fresh from a bakery you can go to Ba Le Markat ( Cho Ba Le ). There is a bakery on the main street right opposite the fruit and veg market. It only sells bread in the mornings until it runs out.

Supermarkets and Mini Marts in Hoi An

Hoi An Mini Mart
Our local mini mart is great for beer, wine and biscuits, little else.

The nearest supermarket is in Danang in one of the big malls there. In Hoi An you will find mini-marts like ours, above. In all honesty, they sell very little, only dried, processed goods and drinks. You need to get your noodles, fresh from the markets.

Are the Markets Open Over Tet ( New Year)

No, almost everything shuts in Hoi An over Tet, but it’s only a few days. Some food outlets will still be open but expect higher prices. Most shops and mini markets close for Tet. We found that the expat mini market opposite Jim’s Snack Bar was open most during the Tet period.

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Hoi An Market buying food

Where Are We Staying in Hoi An ?

After a few nights in a hotel after arrival from Saigon, we quickly and easily found the most beautiful house to rent. Our house is in a quiet residential street but modern and comfortable. We have wi-fi, air-con, purified drinking water and all mod cons. We couldn’t be happier with it.

Book a Hoi An Cookery Course, Food and Markets Tour Here

You can easily pre-arrange a huge selection of food tours and cookery classes in and around Hoi An and most will include a market tour.  Choose from full-day, morning, evening or half-day tours and classes. Check some of the options here. Arranging them locally can be time-consuming and there are touts to avoid.

So shopping in Hoi An is a little tricky, even for us as long-term Asia lovers and expert hagglers. We’re good, we’re getting there. Hoi An Central Market, or any of the other markets are absolutely places you should visit if you’re in town. Try to get there early or late at night. The days are long and hot and the market is best in dawn light or lit up in the evenings. Want more on travel in Vietnam? Our full Vietnam Travel Blog and Guide is here for you, or you can visit things to do in Hoi An with kids.

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Alyson is the creator of World Travel Family travel blog and is a full-time traveller, blogger and travel writer. A lifetime of wanderlust and now over 7 years on the road, 50+ countries allowed the creation of this website, for you. She has a BSc and worked in pathology before entering the travel arena and creating this website. World Travel Family Travel Blog has been helping you travel more, better and further since 2012, when Alyson and James first had this life changing idea. On this site you can find endless travel information, tips and guides plus how to travel, how to fund travel and how to start your own travel blog.

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Tom Lim

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Great post! Do check out Travel Itinerary in Hoi An where we did some cafe hopping, hot stone massage at La Luna Spa as well as catching sunset at Hotel Royal's rooftop bar - The Deck!

Happy Travels Everyone!

Sue R

Saturday 21st of December 2019

Thank you for all the information. Luke Nguyen the TV chef made me want to see Hoi An and now I want to stay there for a month or more if we can after reading your write up. We've travelled a lot but never really stayed put somewhere for long. This sounds really good.

Alyson for World Travel Family

Saturday 21st of December 2019

Thanks Sue, I like him too, I think he's only on Australian TV so I've only seen him a couple of times but he seems really great. Bordain went to Hoi An too and famously tasted the banh mi, again, he's not so famous outside the US, so we really have never seen much of him either.

Ian

Thursday 17th of January 2019

Thinking of going to Vietnam in Dec/jan 2019/2020 . We have a family of 4 mum Dad 7 yr old girl and 5 yr old girl .We have 3 weeks so would like some tips or suggested places to stay and visit . We certainly want to be adventurous with Kids seeing elephants , sea side and about 30% of the trip being at a child friendly resort . The other 60-70% being adventurous .

Alyson Long

Thursday 17th of January 2019

I don't think I've ever seen elephants in Vietnam. The thing is with Vietnam is it's long and narrow, so the classic journey is north to south or vice versa. A month is about perfect to do this and hit all the highlights but 3 weeks, sure, you could do it, but you'd have to be more selective. You have very young girls so I'd be skipping the war museums, they can be harrowing, but Cu Chi Tunnels could still be good and the Cao Dai Temple. Hanoi onviously, Sapa, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An Certainly, down to Saigon, but from there you can go further south which I've never done, we've headed inland to Cambodia by water / road from there so most of the islands and waterways down there I haven't yet seen.

Tess

Monday 12th of November 2018

We loved the food in Vietnam and the kids definitely found it easier than Thailand with the "add your own heat" style. Though I have to say, they are now tolerating huge amounts of chilli! We spent a lot of time in Hue (more than in Hoi An) and loved the street food but found it really irritating when they were massively overcharging us...lots of laughter. I don't mind paying a bit extra but sometimes it was a joke. In the end, we worked out when we wanted something from a street vendor we would sit close by and chill for a bit and watch how much the Vietnamese paid (colour of notes) and then go and get something. The minute we mentioned the real price it was all smiles and everything was ok. We could then use that as an indicator for other street food, I didn't feel like this was a big issue in Hoi An but in Hue they saw us coming a mile off!

Alyson Long

Monday 12th of November 2018

I've only ever spent 2 days in Hue so can't really comment but "our" vendors in Hoi An were just lovely. I was just thinking about the food this morning, longing to go back but we have to go to Australia...

Rebel

Thursday 23rd of November 2017

Yes I was shocked by the higher price of everything in Hoi An after HCMC and a visit to a night market in Ben Tre where hardly any tourists stay overnight this market had prices on everything no need to haggle they were so low. Still we loved Hoi An and are heading back in July.

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