Anthony Bourdain in Hội An: 3 Spots Where Tony Ate

From the very first minute that I came to this country, I knew my life had changed. My old life was suddenly never gonna be good enough; I needed a new one where I could keep coming back here.

Anthony Bourdain

To say that Anthony Bourdain loved Vietnam feels like an understatement. It was a place he regularly referred to as one of his favorite destinations in the world – if not the destination he most loved to visit. Over the course of his television career, Tony filmed eight episodes in Vietnam, making it one of the most shown outside his home country. During those trips, he visited different parts of the country, engaged with the challenging history of American-Vietnamese relations, and ate a lot of delicious food.

Anthony Bourdain in Hoi An Hero

One such place he visited was Hội An, located on the central coast. Anthony Bourdain visited Hội An to film season 5 (episode 10) of No Reservations; the episode is titled “There’s No Place Like Home” referring to Tony’s love of the country and house hunting he does during the episode. It was his only on-screen visit to this part of Vietnam, though he visited other cities on several other trips.

While he didn’t eat at as many places in Hội An as other Vietnamese cities like Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Huế, Hội An is still worth a visit – especially if you love Vietnam’s most famous sandwich… but more on that in a moment. If you’re planning a trip and want to eat at the same places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Hội An, below you’ll find a list of spots to put on your itinerary.

This post was originally written in February 2023 and was updated most recently in February 2024.

Central Market

Broadly speaking, this is the primary spot that Anthony Bourdain ate in Hội An; below I share the specifics of two places he ate within the market, but you really can’t go wrong by wandering among the stalls and ordering whatever suits your fancy.

Tony is joined in Hội An by his former Les Halles boss, Philippe Lajaunie and the two seek out local foods among the many vendors.

Hai Chiến Cao Lầu

Anthony Bourdain in Hoi An - Cao Lau

Within the Hội An Central Market, the first spot that Anthony Bourdain grabs a bite is at Hai Chiến Cao Lầu; though it’s been almost 15 years since his visit, this vendor is still open and can be found at Stall E034 within the market.

There, Tony and Philippe sit down for a bowl of Cao lầu. This dish includes pork, pickled shallots, greens, and a heavily guarded secret noodle with lime and chili paste; it’s often eaten for breakfast, and as such is one that Bourdain heartily enjoys.

Bánh Mì Phượng

Anthony Bourdain in Hoi An - Bahn Mi

The other place that Bourdain and Lajaunie visit in Hội An is home to what many consider to be the “best Bahn Mi in town” – if not in all of Vietnam. At Bánh Mì Phượng, this sandwich is made with liver pate, ham, cucumbers, fish paste, dressing, mayonnaise, and much more – with a fried egg on top. It’s definitely a unique way of assembling the standard and special ingredients.

As this is one of my favorite Vietnamese foods, this is one spot that’s definitely on my own list whenever I finally make it to Tony’s favorite country.

Thanks to Stephen in the comments, I can confirm that Bánh Mì Phượng is open again after a temporary closure. Enjoy!

Hội An Food Tours to Try

If you’re looking for a few other foods to try in Hội An, a food tour is a great way to sample a lot in a short span of time. I took a look and found these food tours that seem to be in line with the kind of delicious and deep travel experiences Bourdain encouraged us all to take.

Have any questions about these places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Hội An, or other spots to eat? Let me know in the comments below!

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Valerie is a travel writer currently based in Cleveland, but her favorite destinations are Alaska, London, and Jordan – only one of which Bourdain ever visited! You can find her writing on Lonely Planet, Forbes, and her travel blog, Valerie & Valise.


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