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For a long time, Hue has always been famous as the culinary capital of Vietnam. Hue dishes satisfy even the most demanding people not only by their delicious taste, but also by the meticulous, attractive and eye-catching layout. So, what are Hue specialty foods? Here are 10 dishes that you must definitely try during your trip in Hue (check out where to eat at the end).
Bun Bo Hue
The name “Bun bo Hue” means “Hue beef vermicelli/noodle soup”. This dish shows all the personality and meticulousness of the people in Hue. To make this delight, you have to be very patient. First, make the broth by adding pork or beef bones, meat with spices including “ruốc” fish paste, aromatic herbs and chili.
Then, prepare the other ingredients: the fine white rice vermicelli, beef cut into strip seasoned with lemongrass, crab rolls and pepper. In the traditional version, the locals still add a few pieces of pig’s trotters and a slice of curdled blood.
To find good “Bun bo Hue”, distinguish the street hoists from the old ladies who are often called “mệ” (grandma). Their skill and traditional recipes inherited from previous generations make us discover a true delight of Hue.
Com hen is a popular dish in Hue and the best place to taste this dish is at “Cồn hến” on the shore of the Perfume River, where you can find the best freshwater mussels in town.
A bowl of Com hen consists of white rice with sautéed mussels, peanuts, crumbled rice cake and a few pieces of “top mo” (pork skin, sautéed in boiling oil until ‘it becomes crisp). The com hen has a pungent first taste, but this sensation is attenuated with the mussel broth and the fresh vegetables including the chopped ‘Colocasia gigantea’ and the leaves of laksa (thân cây môn/dọc mùng được cắt nhỏ).
Banh khoai is the pancake of Hue, a version of the “Banh xeo” of the South, a traditional pancake filled with shrimp, meat and fresh vegetables (bean sprouts, lettuce, grated carrots) but much smaller and thicker than the crispy pancake of banh xeo. Once prepared, the pancake is then dipped in a sauce made from peanut and pork liver (frankly delicious) and served with slices of green figs.
Banh beo is not only delicious, but it is also pretty and playful. You are served countless cupcakes made with rice paste and tapioca flour in cups, garnished with crispy strips of fried onions, “top mo” and dried shrimp. Enjoy them all at once, drizzled with fish sauce. Each serving can hold 10 small plates, which goes perfectly with the crunch of onion, and salty flavors of the different ingredients: a real delight that you will not forget after leaving Hue! I am sure that the originality of this dish will appeal to you too.
Banh bot loc
Banh bot loc are a specialty of Hue and can differ depending on where they are tasted. Traditionally, these are transparent ravioli. The dough is made from tapioca (and not rice, which gives it its particular color) and the stuffing with shrimp and pork.
There are two ways to prepare it: steamed it directly or in a banana leaf. Today, banh bot loc became more and more popular and can be found in other cities of Vietnam.
Another delicacy of Hue cuisine is Banh nam, made from rice flour and tapioca, wrapped in banana leaf, steamed with chopped pork and prawn. This dish always goes along with Banh loc. I can say there is no restaurant serving only one of them.
Banh ram it
For a long time ago, banh ram it is a flat people’s dish which was transmitted to the Imperial Palace in Hue. Local people here often eat it for breakfast or with afternoon meals.
It consists of 2 clear parts: the pork and shrimp balls, wrapped in a soft dough, on a small fried pancake. Ram it is often eaten with the sweet and sour brine sauce.
Nem lui is a popular Hue dish on special occasions. These are pork skewers coated in lemongrass trunks and grilled over charcoal. How to taste this dish? The people of Hue often remove the nem from the lemongrass trunk and roll it with a rice cake, adding a little mango, cucumber and aromatic vegetables to make a beautiful delicious roll.
This dish is accompanied by a special peanut and pork liver sauce. A real treat!
Che is the traditional Vietnamese dessert and comes in just about every form you can imagine across the country. But che Hue is one of the most famous one.
Che can seem confusing to anyone unfamiliar with Asian cuisines. It consists of a syrup-based drink, in which we add all kinds of ingredients such as red beans, white bean paste, rice paste, jelly, flans, fruits and a sweet soup, served hot or cold. In Hue, they say there are almost 40 different types of che!
The peculiarity of che Hue? “Che bot loc thit heo quay”! Ginger, jelly and… pork! This dish will be a bit difficult to eat for those who are new to it, as it will be a combination of sweet and salty, hot and cold. But once you get used to it, I believe you will be addicted to it.
If you are looking for a specialty of Hue that can be used as a souvenir for the family, I suggest you Me xung, the sesame candy. Its ingredients include sesame, peanuts, rice powder, and white cane sugar. In the past, it was the dessert of the Emperor after the royal meal. Try taking a me xung with a cup of tea, you can completely enjoy the rich sweetness of the candy mixed with the bitterness of tea, music and the the breath-taking view. It’s really a joy of life!
Madam Keo (“Mệ Kéo”): at the pavement of Bach Dang Road, near the Gia Hoi Bridge
Uncle Vong and Aunt Phung (“Chú Vọng): at the intersection of Chi Lang and Nguyen Du street
Madam Bot (“Bà Bớt”): 11 Ha Noi Street
Madam Cam (“Cẩm”): 45 Le Loi street
My Tam (“Mỹ Tâm”): 3 Tran Cao Van street
Tam Phuc (“Tâm Phúc”): 6/7, Ung Binh, Con Hen
Com bun mi hen: 17, rue Han Mac Tu, overlooking the Perfume River
Com hen: 38 Ngo Gia Tu Street
Hanh Restaurant: 11 Pho Duc Chinh street
Lac Thien restaurant: 6 Dinh Tien Hoang street
Ba Do restaurant: 8 Nguyen Binh Khiem street
Tai Phu restaurant: 2 Dien Bien Phu street
Food stalls at the entrance of Dong Ba Market
Che Hem (“Chè Hẻm”): 29 Hung Vuong street
Che Mo Ton Dich (“Mợ Tôn Đích”): in front of Thuong Tu gate, 2 Tran Hung Dao street
Che Ngoc Hien (“Ngọc Hiến”): in front of Hung Dao theater, 67 Tran Hung Dao street
Thien Huong shop (“Mè xửng Thiên Hương”):
+ 20 Chi Lang street
+ 14 Nguyen Hue street
+ 45 Ba Trieu Street