Best of Hue street food: A one day trip report
Hue was the capital of the Nguyễn dynasty which dominated much of southern Vietnam from the 17th to the 19th century. As a result, Hue cuisine inherits from the best food which was drawn throughout Vietnam to serve the King. A distinctive feature of Huế dishes that sets them apart from other regional cuisines in Vietnam is the relatively small serving size with refined presentation, a vestige of its royal cuisine. Another feature of Huế cuisine is that it is often very spicy.
I’ve been to Hue numerous times before, but most of the time it was only to visit the Citadel and the kings’ tombs. This time, I decided to make a day trip just to discover Hue’s street food. So here are my little discoveries.
Now what is the first thing one should eat in Hue? Can’t really go wrong with the most famous dish of this city: Bun Bo Hue. Following the recommendation of a local friend who is also an expert in Hue eateries, we arrived at the small bun bo stand in a tiny street; typical Hue style. The place was packed with people just exactly what we had expected and we even had to wait a bit to get a table.
20,000VND (each) @6 Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Huế
The restaurant we went to have bánh khoái is very famous locally, it’s been running for decades. Basically bánh khoái is a smaller version of bánh xèo, served with a moderately similar sauce and is eaten without the Danang’s “wrap and roll” style. It is crispier than bánh xèo and instead of pork toppings, it has toppings made from chả along with shrimp and bean sprouts. An interesting savory snack, but for 20kVND each – it was quite expensive.
~80,000VND (whole tray) @Hàng Me -12 Võ Thị Sáu, Huế
Bún hến (tiny clams vermicelli salad) is another authentic Hue dish that is very hard to find elsewhere. It is the Hue equivalent of Danang’s bún mắm with tiny clams (hến) instead of pork, fried pork skin, lots of greens, herbs and shrimp paste is used instead of anchovy fish sauce. And just like bún mắm, the dish is very cheap (only 8,000VND) but tasted insanely good.
Cơm hến (tiny clams with rice and soup) is quite similar to bún hến but with a bit of soup. Bún hến is better in my opinion.
5. Bánh ướt thịt quay
100,000VND (2 persons) @Bà Sửu – National Route, 25km from Hue (if you travel from Da Nang to Hue, the restaurant is on your right, after you’ve passed Truồi bridge)