It is time to check out another special of Hoi An: Cao Lau! With our hardly empty stomachs after a late lunch at White Rose Restaurant, we walked over to Cao Lau Ba Le to try out this unique noodle dish of Hoi An. Are you curious to know what this dish tastes like and what I think? Come with me to find out more! (o´ω`o)ノ

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What is Cao Lau, and Why Cao Lau Ba Le?

Cao Lau is a traditional Vietnamese cuisine found only in Hoi An. It consists of thick and chewy rice noodles topped with barbecued pork slices, pork crackling, vegetables, and herbs. You might wonder why cao lau is only found in Hoi An. That is because some ingredients used to make the cao lau noodles can only be found in Hoi An!

I didn’t know as well until I started reading about it. They used water from the Cham wells and ash from burning specific trees on the nearby Cham Islands, both located in Hoi An. A combination of these ingredients is what gave the noodles its signature taste, colour and texture. How cool is that? w(°o°)w To check out this unique noodle dish, we shortlisted two places and eventually decided to go to Cao Lau Ba Le, near our hotel in Hoi An. (ᵔ◡ᵔ)

Cau Lau Ba Le – A Vibrant Restaurant in the Alley of Hoi An

The restaurant was located in an alley, away from the main road. Even then, when we reached there, the restaurant was already bustling with people, both local and tourists. Luckily, seats were still available, and we grabbed a table just beside the road. But little do we know that the restaurant has a separate seating area to manage the crowd! And that space looks quite big from the outside. Haha! And here we were, thinking there might be no seats for us. (´・ᴗ・ ` )

The exterior of Cao Lau Ba Le, and the extra space for the restaurant on the opposite side of the restaurant

Cao Lau Ba Le does not only serve cao lau. Their menu is quite extensive, including many of Hoi An’s specialty foods, such as white rose dumplings, banh xeo, and fried spring rolls. Another specialty food that you can try is the Mi Quang, another noodle dish unique to Hoi An. Since hubs and I had shortlisted another restaurant for that, we decided to just go with cao lau and a drink. Remember, we were still not hungry after our late lunch!

Grilled Pork Skewers and Drink – Must-Orders Here!

Since our first taste of Thit Nuong (grilled pork on skewers) at Morning Glory Signature, I have been craving it. So when I spotted it on the menu, I told hubs that we should have it, even though we were both NOT HUNGRY and wanted to eat less. What a joke. LOL. (¬‿¬ )

The grilled pork came with cucumbers, mint leaves, vegetables, and rice paper on the side. We could enjoy the meat by itself. Or, as we learnt at Morning Glory Signature, the Vietnamese way of eating it is to wrap the meat in rice paper and eat it. The dish also came with a bowl of peanut sauce. We did it both ways, having some in our wrap or dipping the wrap into the sauce. Either way, the combination was spectacular. You can’t really go wrong with the grilled pork skewers here in Hoi An. Both times we had it, it was perfectly marinated and tender.

The Honey Lemon Ginger Lemongrass and grilled pork skewers (thit nuong) we had at Cao Lau Ba Le

It might sound like a mouthful to say Honey Lemon Ginger Lemongrass, but this drink was PERFECT. If you don’t like ginger, don’t worry; you could hardly taste it as it was overpowered by everything else in the concoction. Haha! But you better love lemongrass, as that was pretty obvious from the first sip. And with a good mix of honey and lemon, it became a refreshing drink with a slight tanginess and sweetness. This drink was perfect to pair with our food at Cao Lau Ba Le. You should definitely order it! (๑˃ᴗ˂)ﻭ

Learning How to Eat Cao Lau

It’s time to introduce the star of the day, Cao Lau! Even though we wanted to go “light” for our meal, hubs and I still chose to each have a bowl of cao lau. When they were served, the lady who served us told us that we should add the condiments on the table to our cao lau. They would help make our cao lau taste better.

I decided to try the cao lau without the condiments to find out its original taste. Honestly, it was alright, but missing some oomph to it. Then I added one spoonful of chilli and lime, and the flavour went BOOMZ! Σ(O_O) To think that a short while ago, I thought I might be unable to finish the dish as it tasted a bit bland. But after adding the condiments, it was so easy to finish it as it was SO GOOD. The chilli definitely brought a kick and helped to elevate the taste.

The cao lau and the a peek at the interior of Cao Lau Ba Le

The pork slices that came with the cao lau were quite tender. But my favourite was the pork crackling, which was so flavourful and crunchy. Everything just went so well together in one mouthful. I slurped up all my noodles, vegetables and bean sprouts! I continued to amaze myself with how I could finish bean sprouts in Vietnam. It was as if I was a changed person. LOL. (´・ᴗ・ ` )

Overall Experience at Cao Lau Ba Le, Hoi An

We had a delightful meal at Cao Lau Ba Le. I love how the staff in Hoi An are always so ready to share how to enjoy food in the Vietnamese way. The food was terrific, and the drink was another highlight here at Cao Lau Ba Le. If only this drink were more commonly found, I would drink it daily! ( ´ ω ` )

The alley leading to Cao Lau Ba Le and the seating area of the restaurant

There was a little episode after our meal. One side of hubs’ ear had a ringing sound when we got back to our hotel. We do not know how it happened, but it happened after our meal at Cao Lau Ba Le. We suspected it might be because we were seated beside the road, and motorbikes honked every time they passed by. The loud honks might have caused this to happen. He woke up all good the next day, so we didn’t seek medical help. For the remainder of the trip, he was fine, too. So, a little advice is to grab a table slightly further in the restaurant!

Information About Cao Lau Ba Le, Hoi An

QUAN CAO LAU BA LE

⏰ Opening Hours: 11 AM – 9.30 PM (Mon-Fri), 8 AM – 9.30 PM (Sat-Sun)
☎️ Phone Number: +84 937 691 891
💲 Cao Lau Noodle: 40,000 VND (~2.20 SGD) | Thit Nuong: 120,000 VND (~6.50 SGD) | Drink: 20,000 VND (~1.10 SGD)

🔎 You can find out more about Cao Lau Ba Le on Facebook

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Useful Travel Resources

Pack your wanderlust, and let’s set sail! I have prepared the following travel resources that you might find helpful to fuel your next adventure. This section will be ever-growing, and if you think there is anything that you want me to add to this list, drop me a message to let me know! ⸜( *ˊᵕˋ* )⸝

BEST Cards to Use for Your Overseas Spending
Want to enjoy seamless spending overseas without the pesky fees? Check out my post on the best cards to bring overseas—the Trust Bank and YouTrip cards!

A Guide to Using Your Multicurrency Cards for Overseas Cash Withdrawal
Feeling stressed about using foreign ATMs? Let me help you navigate overseas ATMs with ease as I share my experience using my Trust Bank and YouTrip cards for overseas cash withdrawals—examples included!

Transform Your Travel with Lounge Access + Cards I Use to Get Free Visits!
Ready to ditch airport stress? Visit my post to discover the magic of lounge access and my go-to credit cards for complimentary lounge visits!

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Struggling to find a hotel for your Hoi An trip? We stayed at the Lion King Hotel right in the heart of Hoi An, and it was super cosy! If you gotta have your caffeine fix, check out my recommendations on the cafes to visit in Hoi An. For those who like their coffee a little different, don’t miss out on the amazing salt coffee here as well! Oh, and while you’re planning, check out these Hoi An posts I wrote! They’re packed with info to make your adventure epic. (๑˃ᴗ˂)ﻭ


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