All to know about Mi Quang Noodles – Must-try dish from the Central

Mi Quang noodles are celebrated for their delightful taste and harmonious blend of ingredients, making them universally appealing. Originating in Quang Nam province, they were initially dubbed “Mi Quang Nam” to honor their birthplace, later shortened to “Mi Quang.”

Today, these flavorsome noodles can be savored across Vietnam and around the world, each region offering its own unique twist in ingredients, preparation, and presentation. Despite their widespread availability, many connoisseurs still swear by the authenticity of Mi Quang noodles found in Hoi An.

In this comprehensive article, Viland Travel provides a detailed exploration of Mi Quang noodles, including their origins, variations, and a curated list of local eateries renowned for serving the finest renditions of this beloved dish. Whether you’re a seasoned food enthusiast or a curious traveler, embarking on a culinary journey to discover the nuances of Mi Quang noodles promises to be an unforgettable experience.

An overview of Mi Quang noodles 

Mi Quang noodles, pronounced “Mee Kwong”,  vary across Vietnam. While typically served as a soup elsewhere, the Hoi An version stands out as a saucy noodle dish. Originating from Quang Nam province, where Hoi An resides, the name translates to “noodles from Quang.” Turmeric imparts the characteristic yellow hue to the wide rice noodles, which are then accompanied by a broth-based sauce, herbs, and assorted proteins. 

With its growing popularity, Mi Quang noodles have become a beloved lunch option nationwide, prized for its delicious flavor and health benefits. There are numerous variations, including those featuring eel, snakehead fish, pork and shrimp, or chicken. Originally made with fish, Mi Quang noodles have earned widespread recognition for their distinct taste and cultural significance.

The history of Mi Quang noodles  

Mi Quang noodles, an iconic dish of Quang Nam province, has preserved its recipe for nearly five centuries. During the 13th to 15th centuries, Hoi An thrived as a bustling trade hub, attracting merchants from across Asia, particularly China. Chinese traders introduced wheat noodles to the locals, inspiring Vietnamese cooks to adapt the technique using rice, thus giving rise to the wide rice noodles integral to Mi Quang noodles

This culinary fusion not only reflects the influence of Chinese culinary traditions but also showcases Vietnamese innovation and adaptation. Through centuries of cultural exchange and refinement, Mi Quang noodles have become a beloved dish, cherished for its rich history and unique flavors.

The ingredients for a perfect bowl of Mi Quang noodles 

Mi Quang noodles consist of fine rice noodles bathed in a flavorful broth, adorned with marinated proteins, and paired with fresh raw vegetables. Alongside other iconic dishes like Cao lau, Banh mi, Pho, and Com ga, this signature Hoi An delicacy is a must-try culinary delight.

The noodles

Mi Quang noodles are beloved for their rich flavor and universal appeal, catering to all ages and even earning the “eco choice” badge for vegetarians. The noodles take center stage in this dish, with the finest ones crafted by skilled villagers around Hoi An, proudly displayed on eatery signs for easy recognition.

Sourced from the fertile paddies of Cam Thanh and Cam Kim island, the rice used in Mi Quang noodles shares origins with Hoi An chicken rice, grown with minimal chemical intervention by local farmers. While some establishments may resort to importing rice from other regions, they prioritize locally-produced rice to preserve the dish’s authenticity.

The initial steps in crafting Mi Quang noodles closely resemble the process for making rice paper (banh trang). After soaking high-quality rice and grinding it into a smooth paste, the mixture is evenly spread over a cloth layer covering a pot of boiling water, then steamed and cut into noodle shapes. To enhance visual appeal, many makers incorporate turmeric to achieve the signature vibrant yellow hue.

The sauce 

Sauce plays a crucial role in every flavorful serving of Mi Quang noodles. Typically, the noodles are bathed in a luscious sauce crafted from a harmonious blend of pork and shrimp, seasoned to perfection. This versatile sauce complements various dishes, enhancing their flavors. While some locals believe that mixing these proteins creates an even more tantalizing taste, not all eateries follow this practice. In Hoi An, some restaurants opt for single-protein-based sauces, particularly for chicken and fish noodles, offering a unique twist to this beloved dish.

The toppings

Toppings for the classic Mi Quang noodles, such as Mi Quang tom thit, typically include flavorful pork slices, fresh shrimp, boiled quail eggs (sometimes substituted with duck eggs), crushed roasted peanuts, and a crispy rice cracker. Chicken is also a popular option, often served with bones in authentic local eateries, although tourist restaurants in Hoi An tend to remove them for convenience. Other protein options for Mi Quang noodles include snakehead fish or frog.

For the vegetarian version, Mi Quang chay, toppings usually consist of tofu (lightly fried or fresh), crushed roasted peanuts, crunchy rice crackers, and an assortment of vegetables such as mushrooms, pumpkin, chayote, and carrots. Due to the influence of Buddhism, locals often enjoy Mi Quang chay during the first and middle days of each Vietnamese lunar month. During the Lantern Festival (Le hoi den long Hoi An), which coincides with this time, Mi Quang chay is especially popular, and the vicinity of pagodas is the best place to find and try it.

The herbs 

In Hoi An, locals complement their Mi Quang noodles with a variety of raw vegetables to harmonize the flavors and textures of the dish. These vegetables are carefully selected, often sourced from Tra Que village, known for its organically grown herbs with rich essential oils and small, tender leaves. Common additions include chopped green lettuce, spicy baby cabbage, and sliced banana flowers or the young banana tree trunk.

* Local tips: There are a couple of varieties of Mi Quang noodles, make sure to explore the diverse world of Mi Quang noodles, each offering a unique twist on this beloved Vietnamese dish:

  • Mi Quang Phu Chiem: Savor the renowned Mi Quang noodles from Phu Chiem village, known for their exceptional quality and flavorful broth made with small crabs from rice fields. Experience the tradition firsthand by witnessing locals preparing the noodles before dawn, earning the nickname “carrying noodles.”
  • Mi Quang Tuy Loan: Discover the tantalizing Mi Quang noodles from Tuy Loan village, famous for their superior quality and unique use of snakehead fish. Although fewer restaurants offer them due to the distance from Hoi An, the noodles are highly sought after and a culinary delight.
  • Mi Quang Ech (Frog Noodles): Delight in the adventurous taste of frog noodles, a newer ingredient in Mi Quang noodles. While less common, restaurants like Hung Viet in Hoi An and the Mi Quang Ech Bep Trang network in Da Nang offer this flavorful option for those seeking culinary exploration.
  • Mi Quang Tron (Mixed Mi Quang): Indulge in the mixed Mi Quang noodles, a popular choice across Southern Vietnam, featuring a lighter sauce made from fish sauce, garlic, chili, sugar, and lime juice. Ideal for those craving variety, it’s a favorite among households for family meals.
  • Mi Quang My Son: Experience the unique flavors of Mi Quang noodles from the My Son sanctuary area, renowned for its fresh ingredients, including farm-raised chicken and fertile mud from the mountains. 

Where to find the best Mi Quang noodles

In every corner of the city, whether at humble sidewalk stalls or upscale eateries, finding and savoring delicious Mi Quang  is effortless. Local residents enjoy it throughout the day, making it a common sight at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Eateries serving this delectable noodle dish abound, ensuring easy access for all. Let’s explore Viland Travel’s favorite hidden gems for indulging in a delightful bowl of Mi Quang noodles.

Mi Quang Ong Hai

Address: 6A Truong Minh Luong
Opening Hours: 6 a.m to 10 p.m. Monday – Sunday 

Cost: 30.000 VND (1.3 USD)

Mi Quang Ong Hai originated from a unique blend of Vietnamese football enthusiasm and culinary entrepreneurship. During the 1996 European Football Championship, local fans crowded into cafes with large screens to watch matches. Seeing this opportunity, Mr. Hai, affectionately known as Ong Hai, set up a street stall near these bustling football hubs. 

Operating at night due to the time difference between Vietnam and England, Mi Quang Ong Hai quickly gained popularity. Over the years, the street stall evolved into a permanent establishment, opening its doors in 2007 after decades of pavement-based business. With over two decades of experience, Mi Quang Ong Hai has earned a reputation for serving some of the finest Mi Quang in Hoi An, testament to Mr. Hai’s dedication and expertise.

Mi Quang Hat

Address:   81 Phan Chu Trinh (Nguyen Duy Hieu Secondary School)

Opening Hours:  5 p.m until sold out

Cost: 25.000 VND (1.08 USD)

Mrs. Hat, the owner of Mi Quang Hat (or Mi Quang Di Hat), began her culinary journey as a street vendor in Hoi An several decades ago. Originally catering to workers at night, her delectable noodles quickly gained popularity through word of mouth among visitors. In addition to her renowned Mi Quang noodles, Mrs. Hat also specializes in crafting the iconic Cao Lau, introducing both dishes to people across the country. 

Located closest to the Old Town compared to other top Mi Quang noodles spots in Hoi An, Mi Quang Hat is a convenient choice for those craving authentic flavors. However, due to its immense popularity among locals and tourists alike, Mi Quang Hat tends to get crowded quickly. To fully savor the flavorsome noodles offered here, it is advisable to arrive early to avoid long waits.

Mi Quang Bich 

Address:  272 Hung Vuong

Opening Hours: 7:30 a. m -7:30 p. m. Monday – Sunday 

Cost: 30.000 VND (1.3 USD)

Mi Quang Bich is renowned for serving some of the finest Mi Quang noodles  in Hoi An. Situated by the river, this restaurant exclusively uses noodles and rice crackers sourced from Phu Chiem village, known for their exceptional quality. Fresh proteins and vegetables from Tra Que village complement the dish perfectly. Despite the popularity of other Mi Quang spots like Mi Quang Ong Hai and Mi Quang Hat among tourists, Mi Quang Bich has remained a local favorite for years.

In addition to its superb cuisine, Mi Quang Bich benefits from its prime location near several top attractions. Many food enthusiasts make a pit stop here during their visits to Thanh Ha pottery village or My Son sanctuary. Be sure to include a visit to Mi Quang Bich in your travel itinerary to savor its delectable noodles and soak in its picturesque surroundings.

Com Ga Hien

Address:  35 Phan Chu Trinh (on the edge of Hoi An ancient town)

Opening Hours:  10 a.m to 9 p.m. Monday – Sunday 

Cost: 35.000 VND (1.52 USD)

Pho Xua unquestionably tops the list of Hoi An’s specialty restaurants, particularly renowned for its exquisite Mi Quang noodles. Housed within a charming old building, this locally-owned gem seamlessly blends historical elegance with modern amenities. 

Whether you opt for outdoor seating or cozy interior tables, indulge in their delectable offerings, including the signature Cao Lau noodles, flavorful Pho, and traditional Com Ga chicken rice, for an authentic taste of local cuisine at its finest.

Mi Quang Di Suong

Address:  Alley of Nguyen Phan Vinh (near Bungalow Beach Bar)

Opening Hours: 7 a.m until sold out. Monday – Sunday

Cost: 20.000 VND (0.87 USD)

Tucked away in a quaint alley within An Bang village, just a stone’s throw from Nguyen Phan Vinh main road, lies this hidden culinary gem. Here, the delectable noodles are meticulously crafted by the skilled hands of Ms. Nghi. 

During the initial and middle days of every lunar month, she opts to shutter the restaurant, allowing her time to recharge and fully embrace her personal journey of vegetarianism.

Final thoughts

Mi Quang noodles hold widespread appeal among both locals and international travelers alike. While this delectable dish can be savored in restaurants across Vietnam, for the most authentic taste, it’s best enjoyed in its region of origin—the central part of the country.

Viland Travel’s bespoke tours offer a deep dive into Vietnam’s culinary heritage, providing an insider’s glimpse into the secrets of authentic Mi Quang noodles. With meticulously crafted itineraries and expert insights, Viland Travel ensures that every aspect of your journey is tailored to deliver genuine and unforgettable experiences. Whether exploring bustling city streets or serene countryside landscapes, Viland Travel guarantees an immersive expedition through Vietnam’s rich and diverse culinary landscape.