10 Hue specialties that if you have not tried yet, then you have not visited the real Ancient capital

17-Jul-2019

Besides some well-known Hue specialties such as baby clams rice, Hue beef vermicelli, Hue style cake (banh beo), you still have a list of delicious dishes to try when you come to the Ancient capital.

1. Baby clams rice/ vermicelli (Com hen/ bun hen)

Baby clams rice is the favorite of all Hue locals and tourists, thanks to its deliciousness and simplicity. A standard bowl of “Hue” baby clams rice is served with cold rice cooked overnight, so that it can keep the crispness of the vegetable and the flavor of the spices. In accordance with the "eat spicy and talk heavily" personality of Hue people, this Hue specialty is full of flavor, from a sweet-smelling flavor of rice, onions, as well as the strange tastes of sweet, buttery, salty, sour, and especially spicy. When you travel to Hue, if you do not tell the waiter carefully in advance, your clam rice bowl will make you burn your tongue.

Currently, you can easily eat baby clams rice and vermicelli in all provinces in Vietnam, but if you have once tried clams rice in Hue, you will have to say "This is the proper clams rice!" Perhaps because of its spiciness and rich flavor, Hue baby clams rice make people eat once and remember forever.

com hen

Reference addresses:
Com hen Dap Da – No. 1 Han Mac Tu, Vy Da.
Quan Nho in the intersection of Pham Hong Thai - Truong Dinh.
No. 2 Truong Dinh.
Chao – Bun – Com hen – 98 Nguyen Hue.

2. Hue beef vermicelli (Bun bo Hue)

Unlike people in the South, where Hue beef noodle soup has a sweet and pleasant taste from beef bones, Hue people use “xac  ruoc” (Vietnamese fermented shrimp paste) to create an attractive scent and charming sweetness for the noodle bowl. Therefore, traditional Hue beef noodle is more salty and richer than others. One difference between beef noodle in Hue and other regions is the vermicelli. With this dish, Hue people especially use the small rice vermicelli, also known as fresh vermicelli, the type of vermicelli that you usually eat when you have salad, or crab/ bamboo shoots noodle.

If you want to enjoy this Hue specialty, you have to be quick because Hue beef noodle is only sold in the morning. Every morning, just a bowl of vermicelli filled with beef, pork shanks, “cha Hue” and “cha tom” (Hue shrimp patties) can provide you enough energy for one working day. Perhaps one of the most favorite practices of the people in this Ancient capital is to slowly enjoy a bowl of beef vermicelli, sip a cup of tea and share stories together.

bun bo hue

Reference addresses:
Bun bo Hue – 14 Ly Thuong Kiet
Bún bà Tuyết – 37 Nguyen Cong Tru
Bún bà Tâm – 43 Nguyen Cong Tru
Bún bà Mỹ – 71 Nguyen Cong Tru

3. Hue sweet soup (Che Hue)

It is not unusual to call Hue the capital of all kinds of “che” and “che hem” (street sweet soup) is one of the characteristics of Hue. Every few steps, you will come across a shop or a street hawkers selling “che” in the alley. Therefore, “che” becomes an indispensable specialty of Hue in your list of dishes to try.

The delicious and strange “che” are sold all-year-round, with various kinds, such as grilled pork wrapped in cassava flour sweet soup – “Che bot loc boc thit quay”, taro and banana sweet soup – “Che chuoi khoai mon”, white kidney bean sweet soup – “Che dau ngu”, corn sweet soup – “Che ngo”, lotus seed sweet soup – “Che hat sen”, etc. A bowl of sweet soup with grinded ice is a great food to refresh yourself on a very hot day. Each type of sweet soup has its own special taste so if you have time, you must try it all.

che hue

Reference addresses:
Che Hem – 17 Hung Vuong.
Che Sao – 60 Phan Chu Trinh.

4. Hue lemongrass skewers (Nem lui Hue)

People often spread the news that “nem lui” is one of the great things about Hue cuisine. The dish is processed in a rustic and simple way, but thanks to the charming and flavorful taste of Hue people, this Hue special dish has a scent that can flutter all diners.

“Nem lui Hue” is often served with raw vegetables, herbs, star-fruits, chillies, like a meat roll of the Southern people. The difference in this dish is the special sauce called "broth" (nuoc leo). Try “nem lui Hue” at the following addresses, you will "crave" for it until the day you come back:

nem lui

Bún Thịt Nướng & Nem Lụi Bà Tý – 81 Dao Duy Tu.
Tài Phú – 2 Dien Bien Phu, Vinh Ninh Ward.

5. Hue sour shrimp paste (Tom chua Hue)

Sour shrimp paste is an idyllic Hue specialty that you can hardly see in other provinces. The cool and sweet taste of the shrimp itself mixed with the spiciness from spices make it more harmonious and charming when eaten with the other side dishes.

If you pay it a closer look, you will find this Hue’s specialty a representing character of the sophisticated and meticulous nature of the people here. When processing this dish, Hue people especially do not use big sea shrimps but only choose small freshwater ones. The reason is because these shrimps are easier to marinate with spices and more beautiful when presented on plates, cups or jars to serve the diners.

Hue sour shrimp paste is often served as a side dish in a wrap with boiled meat, rice paper and other vegetables. In addition, if you do not have much time to roll a wrap, you can also eat sour shrimp paste with hot rice. The best sour shrimp paste can be bought at: Tôm chua - 21 Dang Tran Con.

tom chua

6. Bloating fern-shaped cake (Banh beo)

Referring to the Ancient capital and the specialties of Hue, you cannot ignore the many kinds of "cakes" here, from sweet to salty, Hue is the paradise of cake. At the top of this list must definitely be the famous “banh beo”.

The standard “banh beo Hue” is made in a small cup and served on a bamboo tray. On the top of those white cakes are the red orange color of the shrimps, the yellow of the fried onions and greaves and the green of the spring onions. Pour some fish sauce with chili on top before eating, you will feel like all the elites of the earth and sky are gathered in the cup of “banh beo Hue”.

In Hue, there are two street vendors where “banh beo” can attract tourists the most: “banh beo ganh Nam Pho” and “banh beo ganh Doc So”. In addition, there are some old shops and restaurants selling “banh beo” such as “banh beo Ngu Binh” and “banh beo Tay Thuong”.

banh beo

Reference addresses:
Banh beo street: Anh Dinh Palace, Ngu Binh street, Nguyen Binh Khiem street, etc. 
Tay Loc Market Food court – 209 Nguyen Trai.
Banh beo Ba Cu  – 47 Nguyen Hue.

7. Rice dumpling cake (Banh bot loc)

Hue’s rice dumpling cake is divided into two types: package cake (wrapped in banana leaves or “dong” leaves) and bare cake (not wrapped in leaves), but any kind is attractive to the customers thanks to the translucent cake encasing a beautiful and delicious bright red-orange shrimp. The filling of the cake is usually finely chopped shrimp and bacon, and some places even use a whole small shrimp instead of the grounded ones.

banh bot loc

Like other specialty cakes of Hue, “banh bot loc” only eat with spicy and sweet fish sauce, do not need to eat with other vegetables. You can enjoy this delicious cake at the following address:

Beo – Nam – Loc – 109 Le Huan.

8. Flat rice dumpling (Banh nam)

This cake is also one of the favorite snacks of Hue people, appearing on many street vendors around the city. The rectangular cake has a white color with golden shrimp and pork fillings inside and all wrapped in a “dong” leaf. A bowl of “banh nam” is usually served with “cha tom” (shrimp patties) and sweet fish sauce to enrich the flavor of the cake.

banh nam

Reference addresses:
Banh nam ba Do – 71 Nguyen Binh Khiem, Phu Cat.
Quan Hang Me – 14 Vo Thi Sau, Phu Hoi.

9. Hue rice pancake (Banh khoai)

If you come to Hue for the first time, you will easily mistake “banh khoai” with “banh xeo” because the appearance of these two dishes have many similarities. If you look carefully, you will see that the crust of the “banh khoai” is smaller, thicker and crispier than “banh xeo”. The taste of the two dishes are also different, mainly due to the sauce eaten with it.

The sauce eaten with “banh khoai” is called "broth" (nuoc leo). It is made from pork liver, minced pork, roasted sesame, finely grounded peanuts and original Hue soy sauce.

banh khoai

Address: Banh khoai Lac Thien – 6 Dinh Tien Hoang.

10. Sticky rice dumplings on a pancake (Banh ram it)

“Banh ram it” is considered more elaborate than other salty cakes from the shape, decoration of the cake to the way to make it. This elaborate cake, before becoming a specialty of Hue that is easy to try anywhere like today, is used to be a favorite dish of the Nguyen Dynasty kings.

The name of "banh ram it" is a combination of two distinct components: “banh ram” and “banh it”. “Banh it” is the round and white steamed sticky rice dumplings on top and “banh ram” is the fried sticky rice pancake at the bottom. Eating cakes is also a very unique experience. From one bite, you can feel the softness of the rice flour, then the richness of the shrimp and meat filling and also the crispness of the “banh ram”. Both good for food pleasant to the eyes, “banh ram it” is a favorite dish of many customers when coming to Hue.

banh ram it

Address: Quan Hang Me – 14 Vo Thi Sau, Phu Hoi.

Some travel schedules to Hue for your reference:

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