One of several restaurants operated by Ms. Vy, Morning Glory focuses on Vietnamese street food. Spring rolls, pho, and, of course, cao lau, are on the menu. 106 Nguyen Thai Hoc St., 84/(0) 510- 2241-555, morningglory-hoian.com
Ms. Thanh makes one dish: cao lau. And she does it very well. Ask locals where to eat good cao lau and they’re likely to point you to this garage/patio/eatery just outside the historic center of town. 26 Thai Phien
Hoi An Central Market
If it’s an authentic Vietnamese shopping experience you’re after, meander through the makeshift alleyways on the banks of the Thu Bon River in the southeast corner of Hoi An. Arrive before 7 a.m. and watch vendors haggle with fishermen on the docks for the day’s catch. Then maneuver under low-hanging tarps, where merchants peddle seafood and huge woven baskets of fresh leafy greens and root vegetables. Work your way inward for the best deals, and don’t be afraid to bargain. When you’re ready for breakfast or lunch, hit the food court and look for the blue-and-white sign that reads “Pho, Cao Lau, Hu Tieu, Kinh Moi,” and bargain again, this time for what is almost universally considered the best cao lau in the city. The stall opens around 7 a.m. and stays open until midafternoon.
Mostly tourists gravitate to this century-old restaurant smack in the middle of Hoi An for the cao lau and other local specialties. The English-speaking cooks and servers are charmers. 87 Tran Phu St., 84/(0) 510-864-622
The setting—a riverside mansion—is half the appeal here, but the Japanese operators turn out a good rendition of cao lau, as well as another of Hoi An’s secrecy-shrouded delicacies: pork-filled “white rose” dumplings. 11 Nguyen Thai Hoc St., 84/(0) 510-391-036, hoiansakura.com