10 Must Try Foods in Hue

10 must try foods hue vietnam

              All you need to plan for this next vacation is a love for food.  Vietnamese food varies a lot from region to region, but nowhere has more of a distinctive cuisine and unique dishes as Hue.  Once the royal seat of the emperors and the capital of Vietnam, chefs turned out 50 course meals day after day for the emperors.  Due to this, of the almost 3000 dishes Vietnam produces, about 2/3 of them originated in Hue, and many of them never left.  This creates a foody paradise just waiting to be explored.  Below, I’ve rounded up my 10 must try foods in Hue. 

1. Bun Bo Hue

bun bo hue hue vietnam

One of the most known of the different types dishes in Hue is the Bun Bo Hue; a beef noodle soup.  Bun Bo can be found across Vietnam, but here in Hue they make it their own.  Hue’s take on this iconic soup is spicier, tastier, and uses vermicelli noodles.  They sometimes also include cubes of coagulated pig’s blood in the soup, which may sound and look odd but is actually pretty good.  Traditionally eaten as a breakfast soup, you can find it at just about every restaurant all day long.

2. Nem Lui

nem lui hue vietnam

              Nem Lui was one of my favorite Hue specialties and is basically all the parts to a build-your-own-spring roll.  The main difference is the meat.  With Nem Lui they press seasoned ground pork into sausage type links on the end of lemongrass skewers and then grill them.  These are then served with lettuce, herbs, pickled carrots and green papaya, and cucumber.   All of these ingredients are added onto rice paper that is then wrapped and dipped into a peanut sauce. 

3. Com Hen

com hen hue vietnam

              Com Hen mean ‘clam rice,’ but this name sorely understates the unique chaoticness of flavors this dish embodies.  This rice dish includes stir-fried clams, crispy pork rinds, roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, mint, peppers, fried shallots and herbs, and is served with a bowl of hot clam broth that you can add if you wish. 

4. Mi Xao Don

mi xao don hue vietnam

              This dish is similar to the regular Mi Xao (stir fried noodles) you are used to, but with a twist.  In Mi Xao Don the thin egg noodles are transformed into a crispy golden nest, then this is piled high with stir-fried beef, shrimp and crunchy vegetables, and then topped with a light sauce.  It’s everything your used to, but with a crispy fried noodle instead.

5. Banh Loc

banh loc hue vietnam

Banh Loc, a typical Hue snack, can be found just about anywhere and is one of my favorite Hue dumplings.  This dumpling is made of tapioca flour and stuffed with caramelized shrimp and pork belly.  The dumpling is wrapped and tied lightly in banana leaves and steamed. Served in pairs, once you unwrap these clear dumplings from the banana leaves you will top it with a sweat chili fish sauce.

6. Banh Nam

banh nam hue vietnam

              Bahn Nam dumplings are much like Bahn Loc, but are made from rice flour instead of tapioca.  The rice flour batter is spread onto a banana leaf with ground shrimp, scallions, and pork. These flat dumplings are then wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed.

7. Banh Beo

banh beo hue vietnam

               Banh Beo, also known as water fern cake, is another dumpling specialty that is usually served in groups of 5 – 6.  These dumplings are made of a combination of rice and tapioca flour and topped with dried shrimp, pork rinds, and a bean paste. 

8. Banh Ram It

banh ram it hue vietnam

              Last but not least of the dumplings is the lesser known Banh Ram It.  Slightly different from the rest, these dumplings are made from sticky rice and filled with shrimp, pork belly, and bean paste.  They are then served on crispy, fried dough circles for an extra crunchy texture. 

9. Banh Ep

banh ep hue vietnam

              Bahn Ep is a crepe like dish that is made with tapioca flour.  The cooks press the dough into thin cakes between two pieces of cast iron, then put the filling on top, and press them again.  Banh Ep is usually filled with egg, green onions, minced meat, dried meat, or any combination of those.  

10. Banh Khoai

banh khoai hue vietnam

              Banh Khoai is another crepe style dish, but is far more popular than it's cousin Banh Ep. Banh Khoai is made of rice flour with a healthy dash of tumeric and then pan-fried into a thick crispy crepe.  This is then stuffed with shrimp, pork belly, and herbs and folded like a sandwich.   The crepe is served with hoisin-based dipping sauce.  Easy to eat and portable, Banh Khoai is a popular Hue dish for those on the go. 

If you travel to Hue with an open mind and an empty stomach, I promise you will leave happy.  So, grab your chopsticks and soup spoons you foodies and find your happiness in Hue’s Central Vietnamese cuisine! 

What are some of your favorite dishes from Hue?   
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