Archive for November, 2013

Hue is a slow-burn town, one of major tourist spots in the Central region of Vietnam as it’s Vietnam’s former imperial capital – a world’s cultural heritage. Foreign visitors love this place because of its peaceful and quiet environment.  Above all, Hue’s cuisine is such a sensation.  If you are into Vietnamese food, you may be able to recognize the taste difference of people in the Central, the North and the South. The Southern Vietnamese people prefer food with a sweeter taste, while the Northern food is a bit plain. Hue’s food or the Central Vietnamese food is known for being very tasty, salted and spicy.

The story of Hue traditional sauces is long, and even simple snacks require specific ingredients.

“Bánh Nậm”, rice dumplings, are served with sweetened fish sauce, and fresh chili adds kicks to the sweet and sour taste. What you expect is the rice floor, with a bit of shrimp and pork meat being smashed so you can’t see the meat clearly. You can only ‘feel’ it when eating. The fish sauce to go with Bánh Nậm really depends on your flavor, whether you want it to be salty or sweet.

2 - banh nam

Bánh Nậm

1- Banh Nam

Phrynuim leaves are used to wrap the cakes, the most typical of which is the Banh nam. To make this cake requires skilful hands that can arrange the pastry evenly on the leaf, topped off with a fried shrimp then wrapped into a rectangular shape.

To fully enjoy “ Bánh Bột Lọc”, tapioca cake, it needs to be complemented with salty shrimp paste and a generous amount of chili. It is covered with banana leaf. In each cake, there is a piece of shrimp and ground pork.  It is saltier, therefore, it is served in a very small plate.  If you are not origionally from Hue, you might not be able to stand the spicy taste of tiny green chili peppers grown on the mountain slopers surrounding the city. “Bánh Bột Lọc” is very hot, but once you get used to it, it will leave a strong impression in your mind forever. Another specialty is a cake that is folded and then devided into 2 parts. The first is vegetarian and the second contains meat. Naturally, each requires special sauces to go with it.

3 - Banh bot loc

Bánh Bột Lọc

4 - Banh Bot loc

Steamed clear tapioca cake

“Bánh Bèo”, Bloating Fern-shaped cake,  usually serves in small bowls, with the rice flour, shrimp paste, fried onion, and fish sauce. You may find other places serve the dry shrimp paste, unlike the one in the picture. It depends on what style you want. The fish sauce for Bánh Bèo is quite sweet and not so salted.

6 - Banh Beo

Though also made of rice flour with shrimp filling, banh beo is in small round shape that looks like a flower petal with red pistil in the center. It is put in a tiny bowl using with fish sauce when serving

Once you have tried these dishes, you can never forget the experience

Once you have tried these dishes, you can never forget the experience

The story of flavors of Hue can not be fully conveyed in a short space. Each season there is a special food to be tried. Hue sweet soup is a must-try for visitors, and includes red bean, green bean, horse-tooth bean, chickpeas, lotus seeds covered in loganberries, tapioca, and taro, to name just a few ingredients. The small shops that sell sweet soup are an unforgettable  memory for the many visitors who frequent the small lanes of Hue.

Generations of Hue residents have created special foods for every season, each of which complements the unique beauty and charm of Hue.

If you are in Hue, dont miss these places:

– Ba Do restaurant: Add 7A Nguyen Binh Khiem. Mrs Đỏ (Mrs Red) is just an amazing woman with great Hue food.  Very simple spot but tasty treats.

– Hanh Restaurant. Add: 11 Pho Duc Chinh st, Hue. Best grilled pork rolled on leek stork served with rice paper, herbs and peanut sauce.

– Huong Cau restaurant: 4 Nguyen Binh Khiem, Hue. All Hue style food with a little garden to chill out.

– Mandarin: 24 Tran Cao Van st., Hue. The menu has both international and local food. Owner is a great photographer, his photos are hung in the restaurant so it’s both art and great food at the same time.

– Ngoi Do : 10/7 Nguyen Cong Tru, Hue. Local foods with nice settings in a quiet alley.

If you are in Hanoi and read this make you kicking yourself for not spend your time in Hue, please visit:

– Net Hue restaurant: 207B Hang Bong st., Hanoi. A tiny spot on the small alley but always crowded. This is the closest of Hue cuisine you can get.

– Ngon restaurant 26 Tran Hung Dao st. A nice setting in  french villa with big menu from North to South, though you may want to ask the server which one is hue cuisine cause they are not listed as region.

If you are in Saigon, dont worry come to Hy Restaurant (Address: 15-17-19 Ton That Thiep st., Dis 1).


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