While in Hoi An, Melissa, AJ, and I took the wonderful half-day Taste of Hoi An Food Tour, in which we got to sample 43(!) local dishes in a culinary extravaganza. The tour began with a walk through a typical street market—where we learned about local fruits, vegetables, and seasonings—and then continued with a stroll through the surrounding neighborhood, with stops at notable restaurants and food stalls for samples of their specialities.
The tour concluded with a multicourse sit-down lunch in which the organizer, Neville Dean, shared his vast knowledge of Vietnamese food. The idea was that after the tour, we’d recognize almost everything on a restaurant menu or street stall in Hoi An and be able to order without fear (which was true!).
AJ’s baby, Francesca, accompanied us on the tour and happily sampled everything we ate, from caramelized eggplant to ginger tofu to black sesame paste (which the Vietnamese consider very therapeutic and good for babies). Her culinary adventurousness delighted Neville and earned Francesca a certificate proclaiming her a Food Tour Legend—the youngest honoree on record. She’s entitled to take the tour again for free anytime in her life.