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.

Video footage:


1. Bún bò 
30,000VND @5 Nguyễn Du, Huế

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.

When we thought about eating bun bo in Hue, we expect it to be really spicy and hot. To our surprise, the steamy bowl of bun bo we tasted was not spicy at all but rather, very mild and naturally sweet. It was so good but at the same time quite different from what we usually have in Danang. This is why we should eat a dish at its birth place: your previous concept of a dish and the real dish itself might be two very different versions.
2. Bánh khoái 
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.
3. Hue’s ‘bánh’ medley (bánh bèo, bánh nậm, bánh bột lọc…)
~80,000VND (whole tray) @Hàng Me -12 Võ Thị Sáu, Huế

Then it was time to visit another popular dish in Danang but also has Hue origins: the famous combo of different kinds of bánh (cakes). One major difference of the Hue version, or the version of the place we went to, was that the bánh nậm and bánh bột lọc here are wrapped in lá dong (phrynium leaves), instead of banana leaves like Da Nang’s versions. As a result, the cakes inside have a very unique scent. Another thing that caught my attention was that the dried shrimp toppings here are exceptionally well done and are not something one could easily find in Da Nang.
4. Bún hến, Cơm hến
8000VND @Nhỏ – 28 Phạm Hồng Thái, Huế (morning)

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)

We had this dish at a very famous stall on the national route between Hue and Danang. Basically it was just rice rolls (bánh cuốn, or bánh ướt like how we call it in the central region) but the real shining star here is the accompanied roasted pork. It was so crispy and soft and juicy and had a really really nice smell. This eatery is favourited by many long distance travelers along the national route.

Post By Summer Le (128 Posts)

Summer created Danangcuisine.com in 2010 to share her eating experience in her hometown Da Nang and other cities around Viet Nam and Asia. She also runs the Funtastic hostels, Food tour and Cooking class in Danang.

Website: → Summer's Danang Food Tour

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  • eric

    Thanks for sharing! My wife and I live your videos. We’ll look up some of these addresses when we are in Hue in February.

  • Joy

    Hi thanks for this helpful post! We tried to go to the bun no hue place you recommended but we couldn’t find it when we got to the street. Could you confirm the address again? Thank you!