Gluten Free Hoi An, Vietnam: The Complete Guide

It is not as easy to eat gluten free in Hoi An, Vietnam as you might expect. If you have celiac disease, you’ll struggle to find safe places to eat in Hoi An if you go in without a plan.

I have celiac disease and spent two months in Vietnam, including a full week in Hoi An. In this article, you’ll find gluten free restaurants in Hoi An that can accommodate celiacs, as well as a gluten free cooking class, homestay, and more.

NOTE | I have celiac disease and avoid cross contact. Saying that, staff, practices, menus, and hours can all change. I encourage you to always do your own research and ask questions before you dine, particularly about the use of Knorr.

Sarah eating gluten free Vietnamese food in Hoi An
Enjoying the gluten free feast we made at our cooking class in Hoi An! Read more about it below.

Gluten Free Hoi An: What You Need to Know

Hoi An is a small city located on the central coast of Vietnam, and it’s on most people’s Vietnam itineraries – as it should be. It’s a beautiful ancient city filled with bright lanterns and peeling paint on once-grand buildings.

Ride a bike down the chaotic motorbike-filled roads and soon enough, you’ll empty out into wide and peaceful rice fields, dotted with cafes where you can lazily sip iced lychee tea or Vietnamese coffees.

If I’m painting an idyllic picture of Hoi An, I’ll stop right now. The reality as a gluten free traveler was that it was a place I struggled to eat gluten free – and was even glutened once (more information on that below!).

Beware the Knorr in Hoi An!

Why was it so hard to eat gluten free in Hoi An? Knorr.

Knorr is a seasoning powder that frequently contains gluten – I share more details on the ins and outs of Knorr in my gluten free Vietnam guide. Unfortunately, I found a lot of restaurants use Knorr in Hoi An.

The gluten free translation card I recommend calls out Knorr, but I would also point to the word “Knorr” on the card after the staff read it, just to double check. All of the restaurants I recommend below could make my dishes free from Knorr, but please do check when you dine because things can change!

Hoi An Vietnam
The colorful streets of Hoi An!
Coffee in Hoi An Vietnam
I drank sooo much good Vietnamese coffee in Hoi An.

My Recommended Vietnamese Gluten Free Translation Card

My best piece of advice is to buy this Vietnamese gluten free translation card before your trip to Hoi An (or Vietnam in general). That is the exact translation card I used every day of my two months in Vietnam!

This card is better than others on the market for a few reasons. First, it is written by a celiac who lived in Vietnam and it’s professionally translated. Second, to my knowledge it is the ONLY translation card that is personalized to Vietnamese cuisine.

It also specifically calls out Knorr, which as I mentioned is a big problem ingredient, especially in Hoi An. Honestly, it’s a must have!

Buy your Vietnamese GF card here.

Gluten Free Hoi An Map

To help you navigate your way around Hoi An, I created this map of gluten free options. You can download it to your phone and use it yourself!

Dedicated Gluten Free Hoi An Restaurants

Unfortunately, there are currently NO dedicated gluten free restaurants in Hoi An. I will keep this post updated if that changes in the future!

Restaurants in Hoi An with Gluten Free Options

Charming Homestay

Charming Homestay is not technically a restaurant but rather where we stayed in Hoi An. They provided breakfast and made me a special gluten free breakfast each morning – usually sticky rice or an omelette.

This took some education about gluten and showing my translation card, but we got there in the end. I had a super delicious breakfast every day which was VERY needed because restaurants were hit and miss in Hoi An for gluten free options.

It’s a truly lovely homestay and we even did a gluten free cooking class with them, too – more information on that below.

Book your stay here.

sticky rice breakfast in Hoi An
A typical breakfast of sticky rice at our homestay.
Nhi and Bha Tu, owners of Charming Homestay Hoi An
Nhi and her mother, Ba Tu, our hosts in Hoi An at Charming Homestay!

Morning Glory Original

Morning Glory Original is the best restaurant for celiacs in Hoi An for sure. It is a bit on the upscale side but worth it because the staff is really knowledgeable about gluten and celiac if you ask and show your translation card.

I wish we’d just come back here most nights instead of trying to find new gluten free restaurants because I ended up getting sick elsewhere, and this place was by far the safest.

I ordered a gluten free banh xeo (a big rice flour pancake) and morning glory, both of which were super tasty.

Location: Morning Glory Original Google maps link

gluten free banh xeo
Gluten free banh xeo from Morning Glory Original!
Morning Glory Original restaurant sign with lanterns in Hoi An
Morning Glory Original is a good dinner option for celiacs in Hoi An.

Red Dragon Restaurant

Red Dragon Restaurant was a great discovery in Hoi An. We went here on a whim because it was very close to our homestay, and ended up being so happily surprised with how they handled gluten free.

The menu here actually labels gluten free options! They are marked with a “G.” The staff was really friendly and understanding and read my translation card thoroughly.

Both Dan and I ordered the duck and it was so delicious. This is definitely a safe spot for celiacs in Hoi An.

Location: Red Dragon Restaurant Google maps link

the menu at red dragon Hoi An restaurant
The menu at Red Dragon Hoi An – the “G” is for gluten free!
Duck at red dragon hoi an restaurant
This is the (gluten free!!) duck dinner I had.

Goodmorning Vietnam

Goodmorning Vietnam is an Italian restaurant in Hoi An that offers gluten free pasta. They will boil it separately in fresh water with a clean colander but you have to ask.

Yes, it’s somewhat random to eat Italian food in Vietnam, but it was quite tasty.

Location: Goodmorning Vietnam Google maps link

Sarah with gluten free pasta at Goodmorning Vietnam in Hoi An
To be honest I was quite happy to have a break from Vietnamese food and enjoyed my gluten free carbonara!
Dan with pizza at Goodmorning Vietnam in Hoi An
Dan and his gluteny pizza… note that they do NOT have gluten free pizzas here.

Miss Ly

Miss Ly is a Vietnamese restaurant in the central touristy area of Hoi An. I didn’t eat here myself, but I did message with them over WhatsApp and they told me that their white rose dumpling is gluten free. White rose dumplings are a specialty of Hoi An so it would certainly be worth checking out!

Location: Miss Ly Google maps link

Good Eats Hoi An

Good Eats Hoi An is an Australian-style vegetarian cafe that actually has quite a lot of gluten free options! In particular, they offer gluten free bread!! It’s made from buckwheat, and if you ask the staff will take extra careful precautions about cross contact.

I’m a bit sad that I discovered this toward the end of our time in Hoi An, because I would have eaten here more often if I’d found it sooner. The more you know! (P.S. get the coconut coffee – it’s great).

Location: Good Eats Hoi An Google maps link

Sarah at Good Eats Cafe in Hoi An
Very happy to discover gluten free bread!
Sarah smiling at Good Eats Cafe in Hoi An
And I’ll emphasize again: the coconut coffee here was great.

Baba’s Kitchen Indian Restaurant

Baba’s Kitchen Indian Restaurant is an Indian restaurant in central Hoi An. I didn’t eat here myself but I think it’s another one worth investigating since Indian restaurants typically have gluten free options. This one even has a couple reviews that mention gluten free curries.

Location: Baba’s Kitchen Indian Restaurant Google maps link

Bun Cha Ta Hoi An – Ask About Knorr!

If you’ve read my gluten free Hanoi guide, then you know that I totally fell in love with a 100% gluten free restaurant called Bun Cha Ta Hanoi. Well, there is a sister restaurant here in Hoi An called Bun Cha Ta Hoi An.

Sadly, when I visited, there were NO gluten free options at this restaurant because they used the pork-flavored Knorr in everything (which contains wheat in Vietnam). Suffice it to say, I was devastated.

I even went so far as messaging the owners on WhatsApp in the off chance that it was a miscommunication with the staff when I visited. They confirmed to me that they do use Knorr in their Hoi An location. In their words “In Hoi An there are not enough ingredients like in Hanoi so they have to use Knorr.”

Sad times 🙁

Saying that, there is somewhat room for hope. I have read some reviews since my visit that mention they’ve switched seasoning to one that doesn’t contain gluten. Things change all the time with restaurants so I encourage you to show your translation card and ask your own questions, and only eat here if you feel comfortable doing so!

Location: Bun Cha Ta Hoi An Google maps link

gluten free bun cha
Gluten free bun cha eaten at their Hanoi location – sadly everything contained pork Knorr at their Hoi An location during my visit so was off limits to celiacs! I hope you have a better experience.

Dingo Deli – Not Celiac Safe

Dingo Deli is a cafe in Hoi An that comes up a lot when you search for gluten free Hoi An restaurants on the various apps. Sadly, I got badly glutened here so I cannot recommend it in good faith.

I ate here twice. They do have a gluten free menu which includes gluten free pizza. The first time they were very careful, at my request, and made it on a separate surface. I had no ill effects.

I ate here again a few days later and the staff working that day was more dismissive and brushed off my questions. Despite those red flags I still decided to eat here because I was sooo hungry and it was fine on my previous visit.

Unfortunately within an hour I got extremely sick with classic glutening symptoms – I’m talking about vomiting and the kind of symptoms you get when you eat a lot of gluten, not just a crumb.

So, I personally would not recommend to celiacs. I did leave a review on the Find Me Gluten Free app, and the owner responded that he would give his staff more training in cross contact. At the end of the day, though, there is still a lot of gluten on the premises so it’s likely just not safe for celiacs.

Location: Dingo Deli Google maps link

gluten free pizza
The “gluten free” pizza I ordered at Dingo’s Deli. Don’t recommend for celiacs, unfortunately, as the risk of cross contact just seems to be way too high.
gluten free salad
We also got a salad there! There is a lower risk of cross contact with this for sure but I’d still recommend against it.

The Noodle House – Not Celiac Safe

The Noodle House was sadly another failure that I want to warn you about. There were a lot of really positive reviews on various gluten free apps so we checked it out, but came away hungry (thankfully, not glutened this time).

When I visited and showed my translation card, it took about 20 minutes of back and forth before finally the chef came out and told me they use a wheat-containing Knorr in their pho and pretty much all their dishes.

It was a huge waste of time and really frustrating. I’ve since read another review where someone had the same experience so it seems they still use Knorr. Again, do with this information what you will but I think there are better options for celiacs in Hoi An!

Location: The Noodle House Google maps link

Gluten Free Cooking Class in Hoi An

One of my favorite things we did in Hoi An was a cooking class through our homestay, Charming Homestay Hoi An.

Quite a few things had to be modified to be gluten free but Nhi, our homestay host, was willing to do this. Their normal rice paper is NOT gluten free, so we had to buy a different kind for me. Side note: this is where I learned that in Vietnam, rice paper frequently contains a small amount of wheat, so be careful!

We also had to omit some sauces and use gluten free alternatives instead.

As long as you communicate and watch out during the class you should be okay. It’s a private class so it was easy to make it gluten free. We rode bikes to the local market to pick up ingredients, and then spent the afternoon cooking in our homestay. It was the best food I ate in Hoi An (if I say so myself)!

To book, message Nhi on WhatsApp (and tell her Sarah from Endless Distances says hi!): +84 90 522 24 83

Or book a room in the homestay here.

Sarah at gluten free cooking class in Hoi An
One of my favorite gluten free meals in Hoi An…
Sarah at gluten free cooking class in Hoi An
…As you can tell!
Dan on bike in Hoi An
Part of our cooking class was riding bikes to the nearby market!
food at Charming Homestay Hoi An gluten free cooking class
Our delicious gluten free spread.
Sarah, Ba Thu, and Dan at Charming Homestay Hoi An
Dan and I with Ba Thu, the matriarch of our lovely homestay and cooking class in Hoi An!

Hoi An Hidden Gems Tour – Can Accommodate Gluten Free!

While in Hoi An, Dan and I booked an Airbnb Experiences tour called Hoi An Hidden Gems Tour for Early Risers. I highly recommend it!

We had a truly incredible time from dawn until mid afternoon, zooming around the off-the-beaten-path areas of Hoi An on the backs of motorbikes (someone else drives you!).

During the tour, we:

  • Observed a 200 year old Cao Lau noodle workshop (a specialty of Hoi An)
  • Visited an ancient fishing village during their morning market
  • Learned how fish sauce is made
  • Took part in hands-on coffee roasting and demonstration at a beautiful cafe
  • Met with two women who weave sleeping mats, a lost art form, and tried it ourselves
  • Sampled rice wine at the only local rice wine brewery
  • Stopped at a lotus flower farm

Regarding gluten, please note that the Cao Lau noodles are NOT gluten free, nor are they gluten free anywhere you get them in Hoi An (they all come from this same workshop – and he adds soy sauce to the noodles!!).

However, the fish sauce, coffee workshop, and rice wine are all naturally gluten free. Also, our guide Ha gave me a special gluten free sticky rice for breakfast instead of the normal gluten-containing breakfast that’s included in the tour. Just send your Vietnamese gluten free translation card over Airbnb or WhatsApp when you book!

Book via Airbnb Experiences or message Ha on WhatsApp (tell him Sarah says hi!): +84707 886335

Dan on back of motorbike in Hoi An
Dan on the motorbike for our hidden gems tour!
Sarah sitting on bench with flowers in Hoi An
I absolutely loved the coffee shop we stopped at, it was soo pretty!
gluten free sticky rice
Gluten free sticky rice – my breakfast during our tour!
cau lau noodles in Hoi An
The cao lau noodles – note that these are NOT gluten free because they contain a small amount of soy sauce. Avoid them while in Hoi An!

Gluten Free Hoi An Grocery Shopping

There are not any big, western-style grocery stores in Hoi An. However, you can find a number of mini marts as well as fresh fruit and vegetable markets.

My advice is to pick up any gluten free specialty items you might need (like gluten free soy sauce or pasta) when you are in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City – check out my gluten free guides for those cities for grocery store recommendations that carry specialty gluten free products.

rice paper in Vietnam that contains gluten
Rice paper sold at the market in Hoi An. Notice that the ingredients say “bot mi”? That translates to wheat flour!!! Be very careful of rice paper in Hoi An and northern Vietnam, especially this stringy kind.
gluten free rice paper in Vietnam
Another rice paper found at the market in Hoi An. This one is gluten free. The ingredients translate to salt and pure rice.

Bonus: Gluten Free Drinks in Hoi An

I feel like this gluten free guide to Hoi An has been a bit of a downer in terms of realistic gluten free food options. So, as a bonus, I want to share my very favorite tea and coffee shops in Hoi An. I really did have a lovely time in Hoi An and a big part of that was discovering the cafe culture. Thankfully, coffee in Vietnam is gluten free!

My favorite coffee shops in Hoi An:

  • Roving Chill House: Lovely cafe out in rice fields. Super popular, nice teas.
  • Ca Phe Hoa Lua: My favorite cafe in the rice fields, recommended to us by Nhi, our homestay host. The lychee tea was especially good!
  • Coconut Coffee: Great spot to get, you guessed it, coconut coffee.
  • Phin Coffee: My favorite coffee shop in Hoi An town! It’s hidden in a courtyard and frequented by locals.
  • Little Faifo: Quite popular coffee shop with good views from the roof.
  • Reaching Out Teahouse: A really nice nonprofit coffee shop where all the staff is hard of hearing. The cafe itself is silent, which leads to a very interesting and unique atmosphere.
  • Sunday in Hoi An: Come here for the iconic instagram wall mural (and a coffee!).

You can find all those coffee shops included in my gluten free Hoi An map, linked at the beginning of this article!

coconut coffee hoi an
Coconut Coffee in Hoi An. It’s a must try!
iced tea in the rice fields in hoi an vietnam
Lychee tea at Ca Phe Hoa Lua in the rice fields around Hoi An. I loved this place!

Where to Stay in Hoi An If You’re Gluten Free

As I’ve mentioned, I loved where we stayed in Hoi An: Charming Homestay. I recommend it to anyone looking for accommodation in Hoi An. We stayed there for a week and got to know Nhi (our host) and Ba Thu (her mother) quite well. It was such a special experience and really made our time in Hoi An so much more special.

Our room was beautiful and – very key detail here – had good air conditioning. From a gluten free perspective, Nhi was willing to learn about gluten free needs and she prepared me a special gluten free breakfast every morning. They also lent us their fridge space to store leftovers as needed. And of course we had a great gluten free cooking class at our homestay, too!

Book your stay at Charming Homestay here.

charming homestay Hoi An
Our room at Charming Homestay in Hoi An. It was very spacious and air conditioned!

More Accommodation for Celiacs in Hoi An

If Charming Homestay is unavailable, or you’re looking for other accommodation in Hoi An, I recommend looking for options with a small kitchenette or even full kitchen since the celiac safe restaurants are a bit sparse.

Recommended accommodation in Hoi An:

  • Sophia Homestay Hoi An: Another homestay option close to the Old Town, this one comes with a well kept kitchen (complete with oven) that is available for guest use. It gets great reviews!
  • Green Meadows Boutique Apartments: Beautiful apartments in the heart of Hoi An, complete with a full private kitchen for each apartment. Also comes with free bikes and air conditioning.
  • Lavini Hoian Boutique Villa: Excellent rated suites located out in the rice fields. On site pool, kitchenettes in rooms, a full outdoor kitchen, complimentary bikes, and more amenities! Perfect for families or anyone who wants to stay in the calmer rice field area.
Sarah, Dan, Ba Thu, and Nhi at Charming Homestay in Hoi An.
Dan and I with our wonderful hosts in Hoi An turned friends – Ba Thu and Nhi! I definitely recommend their beautiful homestay.
Riding bikes through the rice fields was such a cool experience in Hoi An.

Gluten Free Hoi An: Final Thoughts

As you can see, I did struggle a bit with eating gluten free in Hoi An. Not only did I get glutened quite badly at Dingo Deli, but I also got very frustrated by showing up to restaurants with fabulous gluten free reviews only to find that they used Knorr or other gluten-containing ingredients in their dishes.

This just goes to show that you cannot solely rely on online reviews as a gluten free traveler. You must do your own investigating and the Vietnamese gluten free translation card is a lifeline for that.

I hope that my gluten free Hoi An guide gives you a bit more of a realistic viewpoint of what to expect in Hoi An as a celiac. There were certainly bright spots: a cooking class at our beautiful homestay, the hidden gems of Hoi An tour, many coconut coffees sipped in wonderful tucked-away cafes, and more.

Have a great trip to Hoi An and let me know in the comments if you have any updates!

Check out my other Vietnam posts…

Hanoi Gluten Free Guide

Ho Chi Minh Gluten Free Guide

Gluten Free Vietnam: The Ultimate Guide (Coming Soon!)

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This is your guide to eating gluten free in Hoi An, Vietnam, written by a celiac. Includes gluten free restaurants, cooking class, and more.
This is your guide to eating gluten free in Hoi An, Vietnam, written by a celiac. Includes gluten free restaurants, cooking class, and more.

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