Monday, September 7, 2015

What to eat in Hue

Hue has always attracted many visitors by its peace and beauty. This small city gives you the feeling like you are lost in an ancient land with tombs and temples. Besides the majestic architecture, Hue also offers tourists a unique culinary culture. Don’t know why the cuisine here appeals to me right at the first time. I’m sure that everyone whoever visits Hue would ‘fall in love’ with one of the food here. Below are my own feelings about the food and restaurants here.

There are numerous types of cake here such as bèo cake, steamed shrimp rice cake or tapioca pudding, etc. Bèo cake with its small shape looks like a Japanese water fern. The cake is made of rice flour with shrimps filled inside and often served with sweet sauce. Ingredients needed to make steamed shrimp rice cake are almost the same as bèo cake. The only difference is that it is wrapped in banana leaves before being steamed. Tapioca pudding is made of cassava and filled with shrimps and stew pork. You can steam it with the banana leaves or remove them before steaming. In the past, Hue’s people used to welcome guests with these 3 types of cakes. But now, they tend to invite their guests to go to the restaurants to taste these cakes.

Bun bo Hue is a really popular dish and has been known by many travelers around the world. This dish is the perfect combination of many ingredients. The smell of bun bo Hue is the mixture of bone broth, citronella, lemon, onion along with fish sauce smell. What’s special is that it is the medium restaurants that are famous for the quality. Bun restaurants on Nguyen Du streets often start selling in the evening. Sometimes you have to wait for an hour to have a chance to enjoy bun bo Hue on this street. But trust me, it’s really worth waiting. The other restaurants also famous for bun bo Hue are ‘mu Rot’ restaurant located behind Dieu De pagoda and ‘Le’restaurant on Dien Bien Phu street.

Khoái cake is among the most popular types of cakes in Hue. The cake is made of rice flour and filled with fried shrimps, meat and mushrooms. This cake is often served with banana and vegetables. It is the dipping sauce that makes Khoai cakes in one restaurant differs from the others.

If you don’t have much time to discover all of the places popular for each type of Hue cakes, you can just catch a taxi to Thao Nhi district, which is 7 kilometers away from Hue. This place offers all of the types of cakes mentioned above. Besides enjoying Hue signature dishes, tourists can also relax in ‘Nhà rường’, a type of traditional house in Hue which is sophisticatedly constructed.

Also, remember to try royal meal, an original dish, which impresses not only the locals but also foreign travelers. You will get to choose from 8 to 10 from hundreds of typical dishes in Hue. Some dishes that have to be mentioned are peacock – shaped spring rolls, phonix spring rolls and Hue cakes. Royal desserts have to be Tinh Tam lotus seed sweet soup. Royal meal represents not only the cooking talents of Hue’s people but also the art of decorating food. More interestingly, guests will get to wear the costumes of King and Queen while enjoying royal meal.

Almost all the restaurants selling banh cuon and fried meat in Hue are located on Kim Long Street. From my view, banh cuon and fried meat sold in these restaurants are all delicious and stunning. But the most famous one is the one named Huyen Anh.

Those famous water fern cake restaurants are located on Nguyen Hue streets, the recommended restaurants are ‘Ba Do’ restaurant on Nguyen Binh Khiem Street and ‘Mu Cai’ restaurant which is famous for tapioca cakes is located at the end of Chi Lang Street.

If you love sweet food, you should totally visit ‘Hem’ sweet soup restaurant on Hung Vuong Street or ‘Che Sao; on Phan Boi Chau St. Just a piece of advice, you should not visit those royal sweet soup shops since they will serve you a really big cup and the soup is too sweet.

 ‘Khoai’ cake is quite the same as ‘xeo’ cake in the South of Vietnam. However, I am in favor of the former. I am totally ‘in love’ with the dipping sauce of this type of cake. In the restaurants, they won’t charge the any money for dipping sauce and raw vegetables. The most popular restaurants for selling ‘khoai’ cakes are ‘Lac Thien’ and the one on Dinh Tien Hoang street.

Restaurants mainly selling ‘banh canh’ are located on Pham Hong Thai Street.

Mussel rice restaurants: This food is preferred by most local people. There are 2 restaurants on Han Mac Tu Street. You may also want to visit one in Con Hen, after crossing the bridge, turn left and you will find it.

Also, there is a restaurant which mainly sells ‘bun bo’(which means beef vermicelli) on Nguyen Du St. The restaurant starts selling from 3pm. Trust me, it is really popular. The beef here is so fresh and delicious that can please even the most fastidious guests. I have to remind you that ‘bun bo’ here is really spicy. Whoever comes to Hue and want to try ‘bun bo’ should not miss this restaurant.

The best mussel rice restaurants are in Han Mac Tu St, but they do not serve the dish which is made of rice paper and mussels here. So you should visit Con Hen. If you tell you taxi driver that you want to visit a good restaurant in Con Hen, they would probably take you to Huong Xua restaurant. This restaurant offers nice view but the food is not really delicious while the price is too high. You can also enjoy mussel rice on Truong Dinh St or Cung An Dinh, etc.