For lunch and dinner, the regular menu at Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa already has a few vegan items on it but as we’d given a bit if extra notice about our stay, they had also prepared a vegan set menu for us. We thought it was a really welcoming thing to do but little did we know it would end up being amongst the best meals we had in Hoi An (and we ate some pretty amazing food during our month long stay).
Our first course was ‘banana flower salad, lotus salad and rice cracker’; which produced the most amazing smell from the crispy shallots. It floated upwards towards us when the dish was put on the table and we nearly dived straight in. If it weren’t for the pretty presentation making us stop and appreciate it all for a minute or two, then our first course would have been gone instantly.
When we did eat it though, the flavours were delicious; imagine lotus stems (they’re crunchy and juicy, a bit like a beansprout) tossed about with fresh Vietnamese mint and Coriander, sesame seeds, crushed peanuts and a sweet and tangy dressing, all topped with aromatic crispy shallots.
The banana flower salad had finely shredded banana flower (tastes a little like artichoke with a meaty texture), sliced onion and red cabbage with crushed peanuts and black pepper. Served with melt on the tongue rice crackers, there were some really enjoyable favours and textures going on,
When the soup arrived we were instantly impressed; soup served in a bread bowl has to be one of the world’s best inventions. We had a smooth and homely pumpkin soup inside a hollowed out nutty brown bread miniature loaf that was crusty on the outside but gooey soft with the pumpkin soup on the inside.
Oh. My. Word.
It’s hard to describe the satisfaction of eating soup this way, it was soothing, warming and just so delicious
After that little pice of soup heaven, our main course arrived, a hearty portion of deep fried tofu, garlicky morning glory and steamed rice. The tofu had been cut into chunky triangles, coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried; it was crunchy (not greasy) and the texture of the firm and juicy plain tofu inside was perfect (not sloppy, not rubbery, not crumbly). There were 3 sauces, a fresh sweet and sour, small pools of basil oil and a spicy chilli sauce to dip those crunchy tofu nuggets into.