Vietnam - Hội An

Hoi An Style Pho Bo (Beef)

Ingredients (Serves 2):

50g Beef tenderloin    
100g dried pho noodles   In Hoi An these are slightly thicker almost thin pasta style rice noodles (white)
50g White Onion   1/2 an onion
10g Shallots   1 or 2
2 table spoons vegetable oil    
2-3 cubes of beef stock   Really you should boil beef bones for 4 hours instead of using beef stock cubes. Or since we are in Christchurch you should buy beef stock from Foundations Foods as theirs is great. You can get it from Reward Fresh or direct from foundation foods.
50g Lemon Grass    
50g Fresh Pineapple    
2 tsp light fish sauce   if using Thai fish sauce then maybe just 1 tsp
a pinch of salt    
2 tsp sugar    
1/2 tsp pork powder   I think this is MSG (probably best to miss it out)
1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice    
A few springs of coriander    
2 table spoons of unsalted peanuts    
1 red chilli    
2 spring onions    
Handful of washed mixed greens (basil, lettuce, mint, water spinach, bean sprouts)    


Cut the beef into very think slices and set a side.

Slice the shallots and cut the white onion into small chunks.

Peel the pineapple and cut into thin wedges

Cut the lemon grass into 5cm lengths and smash flat.

Remove the seeds from the Red Chilli and slice crosswise.

Cut the spring onions into 5cm julienne strips


Bring 500ml water to the boil in a large pot and add beef stock cubes or just use good beef stock.

Cook the pho noodles by immersing them for 3-4 minutes in boiling water. Remove from pan and place into two large soup bowls.

Heat oil in the fry pan and fry the white onion, shallots, and a pinch of 5 spice power.

Stir-fry for about 1 minute and then add to the hot stock. Continue cooking the stock over a hot element.

Add the fish sauce, salt, sugar, pork powder, the rest of the five spice powder.


There is two ways to cook the beef:

  1. Place stripes of beef onto a ladle and then add stock to the ladle and place into the bowl with the noodles. When enough beef has been added then add stock to fill the bowl.
  2. Place the beef on top of the noodles and then add stock to the beef and noodles.

Top with springs of coriander, peanuts, slices of chilli and fresh spring onion.

You can serve the soap with a plate of mixed greens.


Hoi An Spring Rolls

Hoi An Spring Rolls

Ingredients (serve 2 people)

1 dried black mushrooms   These are Chinese Black Fungus mushrooms
30 gm Pork tenderloin    
20 gm Fresh Prawn   Since we do not get fresh, frozen will have to do – just use RAW not cooked!!!
Taro Root   About the size of a potato
1/2 Carrot    
2 Small Shallots or 1 large    
1 or 2 Garlic Cloves    
1 pinch Salt    
1 tsp Black Pepper    
1 tsp Sugar    
1 Egg Yolk   Keep egg white
6 sheets Rice Paper    
2 cups vegetable oil   Depends on frypan size
3 tsp light Fish Sauce   If using Thai Fish Sauce use 1 tsp
1 small lime    
1/2 tsp Minced Red Chilli    
1 table spoon warm water    


Hint: Rice paper can be salty so you could taste a bit and see how much salt there is and adjust the recipe accordingly. If very salty you could make without salt altogether since the fish sauce is salty as well.

Simmer the mushrooms in hot water for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool (a few minutes)

Shell and de-vein the Prawns or buy ones already done.

Mince the Pork and the Prawns or cut very very finely and set aside.

Peel the Taro Root.

Slice and then julienne the Taro, Spring Onion, Carrot and soaked mushrooms (squeeze the liquid from the mushrooms first) and then turn and cut the julienne strips into 1-2mm cubes.

In a medium sized bowl mix the Pork and Prawns with the cubed vegetables, minced Garlic and Shallots. Add the Salt, Sugar, Pepper and Egg Yolk and mix all together by hand.

Separate the 6 sheets of rice paper, soften each with a little water if necessary (dampen a tea-towel so it is just damp not wet) and trim to 5-6 inches wide and 10 inches high (if required).

Divide the ingredients into 6 or just use an appropriate amount of filling (1 large Table Spoon)

Please one of the rice paper sheets flat on the table and place the filling near the bottom in the center leaving about 1” of rice paper at the bottom and 1” on each side.

Roll tightly, turning in the sides of the paper as you roll so you end up with a nice fat cigar shape. When near the top wet the paper with either water or egg white (left over from the egg yolk) to seal.

Repeat the above for the rest of the rice paper sheets.


Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. To test if hot enough place the pointy end of a chop stick in the oil and if it bubbles around the bottom of the chopstick then it is hot enough.

Please the spring rolls into the hot oil, sealed side down, turning frequently. Cooking time is about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown – do not let burn.

Dipping Sauce

To make the dipping sauce in a small bowl mix the fish sauce, sugar, juice from the lime, minced garlic, minced chilli and warm water. Stir until sugar is dissolved.


To make the tomato flower see

Sautéed Chicken with Chilli and Lemon Grass

Sautéed Chicken with Chilli and Lemon Grass


2 Small dried black mushrooms   These are Chinese Black Fungus mushrooms
150 gm Chicken Fillet    
1 tsp light fish sauce   Use Vietnamese but if only Thai available use 1/3rd tsp
2 tsp sugar   Could reduce to 1 tsp as I found the end result quite sweet
1 tsp Pork Power   I think this is MSG – could leave out
1 tsp Oyster Sauce    
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder    
1 Pinch Salt    
1 Pinch Black Pepper    
2 Table Spoons Vegetable Oil    
2-3 cloves of Garlic    
3 Shallots    
2 stalks of tender Lemon Grass   Only use the bottom white section – discard green section
1/2 Green Bell Pepper    
1/2 Large Carrot    
1 Red Chilli   seeds removed
2 Spring Onions    
1/2 Cup Water or Chicken Stock    


Simmer the dried mushroom in water for 5-10 minutes then set aside.  After 10 minutes drain

Slice the chicken into thin slices and place in large bowl.

Mix the chicken with Fish Sauce, Sugar, Pork Powder (MSG), Oyster Sauce, Turmeric Powder, Salt, Pepper and a splash of oil, Mix around and set aside.

Cut the Carrot, Chilli, Green Bell Pepper, Spring Onions and the Mushrooms into Julienne strips (very small strips). Chop the garlic and slice the shallots.  Cut the Lemon Grass and flatten


Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan,add Garlic, Shallots and Lemon Grass, Stir-fry for 20-30 seconds.

Add the prepared chicken and stir-fry over medium heat for 5 minutes until cooked.

Add Carrot, Chilli, Green Bell Pepper and Chicken Stock or Water.

Continue to cook for about 5 minutes

Adjust seasonings to taste.

Arrange on a plate and toss with coriander, serve with steamed rice. Have a nice beer on the side.


Hoi An Cooking School

There are literally hundreds of cooking schools in Hoi An – Our hotel did them, most restaurants do them and there are a few specialty ones as well.

We decided to do one at the White Lotus which was very close to our hotel.

The cost of the course was 18 USD each. We booked on Saturday afternoon for Sunday morning class.

Pam & I were the only two in the class so that was good for us if not the restaurant.

We were welcomed with a Coffee (I did not have mine) – Pam said it was made with Condensed Milk!

Our tutor took us down to the market to buy vegetables. We saw a lot of things that we were not sure of so having someone who can answer the questions was good.


Pam holding a Banana Flower (or bud) that is used in a salad called Banana Flower Salad which was delicious.


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Off to the fish market now (lucky you can not smell over the Internet)


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After the market we walked back to the restaurant (we could have come back by boat but decided not to since it was only 200 meters)


Good French bread sold from the back of the scooter – the best is very nice so far in Vietnam.


Since we were the first to book for today we could make 3 dishes of our choice from the menu offered which has about 12 items (decided when booked)

We choose

  • Hoi An Fried Spring Rolls
  • Pho Bo – Beef Noodle Soup
  • Sautéed Chicken with Lemongrass and Chilli


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Our finished dishes (Hoi An Fried Spring Rolls, Pho Bo, and Sautéed Chicken with Lemongrass and chilli)


And to finish off we had some fresh fruit

A visit to My Son

My Son is the major site in Vietnam from the ancient Champa Kingdom which flourished between the 2nd and 15th centuries. Descendants of the Champa civilisation still live along the coast of Vietnam though they are now fully integrated in Vietnamese society.

The Kingdom at My Son dates back to the 4th century and remained fully occupied through until the 13th century which makes it the longest occupied of all the major monuments of SE Asia. It served as a religious and intellectual centre where Champa kings were crowned and buried. In 1999 it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Pam & I caught a bus from our hotel to My Son. We took the option of Bus + Boat which means we went on the bus on the way to My Son and then on the way back we caught a boat about 1/2 way back and idled down the river for 90 minutes.

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Cost : 6 USD per person + 60,000 VND for ticket when you get to My Son


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For a UNESCO World Heritage site we thought that it was pretty overgrown and not that well looked after. It looks like a lot of the buildings are still visible under the grass all around and a lot are covered in grass.

The complex at My Son was bombed by the American's during the Vietnam war and as a result a lot of the buildings were severally damaged.

Some of the buildings have covers over them where they appear to be working on them although there did not appear to be anyone doing anything when we were there.


A walk though the Hoi An food Market

Walking around the food market–most spells were OK, but some where pretty strong.

Our hotel in Hoi An

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Where we are staying in Hoi An

A very pleasant boutique style hotel close to the old town, the Ha An is beautifully situated amid peaceful gardens and water features. Well appointed rooms, decent restaurant and the Ha-An hotel is convenient stay in Hoian.
This large and charming garden hotel is set at the eastern edge of Hoi An and has a large, very pleasant garden area in front highlighted by potted orchids.



Huong Duc Ha An Private Enterprise
Website :
Sales & Reservation Dept for Ha An Hotel
Tel : (84.510) 3863126 Fax : ( 84.510) 3914280
E-mail :
Address :06 - 08 Phan Boi Chau, Hoi An Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam

Copyright © Chris & Pam - 2020