Wednesday, May 21, 2014


I like the central coast city of Hue and have been there many times over the years. After a four year gap, I recently visited this charming city again and definitely got my fill of Hue food. We enjoyed very much our stay with La Residence Hotel, fabulously located on the river and within easy walking distance of lots of great street foo

We walked along the Perfume River/ Sông Hương to have breakfast, starting with Bún Hến (clam noodles) and Cơm Hến (clam rice) at 2 Trương Định St. The vendors were pretty funny when it came to bill time. There was quite a long conversation before they decided to charge us 20,000VND - $1 per bowl. I have no problem at all with the price but I did realise that the Hue locals were only charged half what we payed. I said I'm Vietnamese too, you know :). I suggested to her that if she was poor, she should ask me and other people, they probably wouldn't mind donating or loaning her some but cheating is not a good way to do busines

Further along the road, we dropped into two different coffee places where we paid just 7.000VND (35c). It was not the best coffee but it was nice to be treated as a Vietnamese again :). After getting our caffeine hit, we headed to hue's main market, the Dong Ba Market just over the Trang Tien Bridge. As we headed across, I saw a middle aged woman walking along selling bean curd drink. I ordered two bowls and I was ripped off again. I was so upset but just gave her my money and walked away. It seems that Hue people have changed so much, only thinking about instant cash and taking advantage of tourists as much as possible. I felt sad more than angry with them. I've chatted with friends since and they all had similar stories when they visited Hue. Some are even refusing to return, which is a pity!

Anyway, things improved after that. The highlight of my short vacation was the Bún Mắm Nêm from an old lady who has been sitting outside 15 Phan Đăng Lưu St for more than 30 years. It's only 15,000VND (75c) but it was so satisfying after a long walk around the fascinating Đông Ba Market. I have to say that the noodles were really spicy; I was sweating and tears were running from my eyes by the time I'd finished my bowl of noodles. It was fantastic! A second highlight was Huyen Anh restaurant, where they serve grilled beef with noodles and herbs. It was so yummy

Later in the evenings, we normally headed out for supper, too. Two snacks I was really impressed with were Banh Ep (a rice pancake with egg, served with green mango and herbs) and Bang Trang Trung (a crunchy rice cracker with egg, pate, potato and herbs). Of course, I slept very well at night after eating so much each day.

By the end of the trip, I'd completely forgotten about getting ripped off. But one thing I have yet to discover in Hue is really good Bun Bo Hue. We had a couple of bowls but I honestly don't think they were as good as what I've had in Hoi An or Nha Trang. When I go back, I'm going to do more research on that one.





Katherine said...

I think it's an interesting dilemma, and I'm guessing there are no local government tourism departments or associations set up to support Vietnamese retailers and street vendors adapt to increasing tourism. Sometimes there's a real cultural mismatch between vendors and visitors.

It's also interesting that you're Vietnamese but you're treated as an outsider with money.

CITY said...

Photo SphereI also tried to find good Bun Bo Hue in Hue but was not successful.