Talking about Hue, people always think of the famous historical vestiges like the Imperial Citadel, Emperor Tombs, and Thien Mu Pagoda but forget another huge attraction of this city: Hue Cuisine. Hue food has been long famous all over the country thanks to its appetizing taste.
The foods are simple, yet still very special and hard to forget. Let’s explore the top dishes to try in Hue food tours.
1. Bun Bo Hue (Hue beef vermicelli)
“Bun Bo Hue” is one of the best variants of “pho” – the worldwide famous Vietnamese specialty. If you are considering what to eat in Hue, “bun bo Hue” is the dish that it would be a huge regret to miss.
Bun Bo Hue
The food has a toothsome taste thanks to the great combinations of different ingredients: the fragrant and mouth-watering hot broth made by simmering beef bones and shank, lemongrass, chili oil, and fermented shrimp sauce (sa te tom). Regarding toppings, the dish includes thin slices of beef (or pork) shank, boiled oxtail, pork or pig’s knuckles, congealed pig blood (tiet), cilantro, and green onions. Various types of fresh herbs like cilantro, mint, banana blossom, lettuce, cabbage, basil, etc. are also served. Interestingly, additional to the original taste of broth, customers can vary the taste by adding different things like chili, shrimp paste, or lime. “Bun bo Hue” is aromatic, flavorful, and eye-catching. Also, the congealed pig blood of this dish is said to be really good for those who have high blood pressure.
Travelers can easily find a “bun bo” eatery along their way around the city. Remember to pick up one which you can smell the aroma of the broth from far away.
2. Banh beo (Fern-shaped cake)
One famous dish that you should try in your Hue food tours is “banh beo” – the typical Central food that is regarded as one of the must-eat street food in Vietnam.
Elegant saucers of “ banh beo”
“Banh beo” is made from rice flour, tapioca flour, crumbled shrimp, and pork skin. That steamed dish is named “beo” as its shape looks like the water fern leave (“beo” in Vietnam). Hue people blend the flour, then put the ingredients (shrimp, pork, etc.) into it and shape it like a fern cake. The cake is then wrapped in banana leaves before getting steamed. Another way is put all the things mixed into small saucers and steam. The later way is preferred as the cake is served in small saucers, and one serving will consist of about 10 – 20 saucers. It is believed to be affected by the royal food manner, where the food for the King is usually small but a helping may contain many of them.
“Banh beo” is white, sometimes transparent. It is served with a bowl of light fish sauce. It is soft, chewy, crunchy, and also fragrant. The visual is also elegant and beautiful enough to whet your appetite.
3. “Com hen” (Rice with tiny mussel)
It would be a big loss to leave Hue without trying “com hen” at least once. It is the heavenly tasty dish that anyone taking Hue food tours would fall in love.
“Com hen” consists of rice, boiled tiny mussel, fish sauce, star fruit, pepper, peanut, cabbage, onion, chili, and various fresh herbs. Different to most of the dishes that are served hot, all the things making up this dish are cold. The dish is also served with a bowl of hot clam broth. To suit Hue people’s taste, “com hen” is extraordinarily spicy, yet it is still really tasty. Travelers can find this dish at several food stalls and eateries along the streets. It is not only a normal dish for a meal but also a symbol of Hue cuisine.
4. “Banh khoai” (Happy cake)
Together with “banh beo”, “banh khoai” is the top Hue street food that foodie should try. Form the very first look, you might mistake it for “banh xeo” – the famous crispy pancake of the Central and Southern people, because similar to “banh xeo”, “banh khoai” is also made from rice flour, water, turmeric powder, added slivers of fatty pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts, and then pan-fried. Also, it is wrapped in lettuce leaves and rice paper and served with a special sweet and sour sauce. However, “banh khoai” is much smaller, thicker, and even crispier. It is the favorite snack of Hue people, especially students and youngsters.
With tranquil landscapes, valuable history and culture, and special cuisine, Hue is absolutely a right choice for Vietnam travel. Taking a food tour around the poetic city of Hue will leave you with unforgettable experiences.