Hue Street Food beckons with an irresistible allure, inviting epicurean enthusiasts and curious travelers on a captivating gastronomic expedition through the heart of Vietnam. Nestled in the ancient city of Hue, this culinary treasure trove unveils a world of flavors, aromas, and textures that are as diverse as the city’s rich history. From bustling markets to humble roadside stalls, Hue’s vibrant streets are adorned with numerous delectable delights, each meticulously crafted to tantalize the taste buds and narrate a tale of tradition and innovation. This culinary journey transcends mere sustenance; it is an exploration of cultural heritage, a celebration of authenticity, and a testament to the artistry of Vietnamese cuisine. Join Deluxe Group Tours to embark on a flavorful, where every dish tells a story, and every bite is a revelation.
Exploring the Feast of Hue Street Food Delights
Hue Street Food, where the essence of Vietnam’s culinary prowess comes alive on every dish, promises an unforgettable experience for all who embark on this delightful adventure.
1. Banh Canh Nam Pho (Nam Pho Thick Noodle Soup)
Hue, being an ancient and historically rich city in Vietnam, is renowned not only for its historical sites but also as an ideal destination for culinary enthusiasts looking to indulge in traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Banh Canh Nam Pho in Hue is more than just a delicious dish; it holds significant cultural and historical value in this region of Vietnam.
Banh Canh Nam Pho in Hue is typically made from rice flour, resulting in soft, smooth, and chewy noodles. The broth is carefully prepared from pork bones, fish bones, and a blend of natural spices, imparting the distinctive flavor characteristic of the Central region of Vietnam. The dish is often complemented with a variety of meats, such as shrimp, squid, fish, or occasionally pork and beef, adding depth to its taste. Fresh herbs like basil and cilantro, along with condiments like fried shallots, pepper, and chili, are served alongside the soup to enhance the overall flavor profile.
Banh Canh Nam Pho is best enjoyed hot, accompanied by an assortment of fresh vegetables that enhance its freshness and taste. When visiting Hue, one should explore renowned Banh Canh Nam Pho restaurants like Banh Canh Nam Pho Thuy, Banh Canh Nam Pho O Thu, and Banh Canh Nam Pho Me Du. The prices of a bowl of Banh Canh Nam Pho in these restaurants range from 10.000 VND to 30.000 VND. These establishments are not only celebrated for their delectable flavors but also for the genuine hospitality and enthusiasm of the sellers, ensuring an unforgettable dining experience for visitors.
Nam Pho Canh noodle soup in Hue represents more than just a culinary delight; it embodies the essence of Hue’s culinary heritage. For food enthusiasts seeking an authentic taste of the region, Banh Canh Nam Pho Canh is an excellent choice, allowing them to savor the unique flavors that define Hue’s gastronomic culture.
2. Bun Thit Nuong (Vermicelli with grilled pork)
Bun Thit Nuong is a delicious and popular dish in Vietnam. You can find this tasty dish everywhere, from renowned Bun Thit Nuong stalls in Hanoi, Saigon, Hue, Da Nang, and more. Each place offers its unique flavor, representing the distinct regional taste. Particularly, Hue’s Bun Thit Nuong stands out for its diverse and distinctive culinary traditions.
This dish is prepared with simple ingredients such as vermicelli, grilled pork, fresh vegetables, and various spices, creating a distinctive and enticing flavor. The type of vermicelli commonly used includes leaf vermicelli or rice vermicelli. Leaf vermicelli is a traditional variety in Hue, made from rice flour and banana leaves, giving it a unique flavor. The grilled pork is usually marinated with spices and grilled evenly until it becomes crispy and beautifully golden. Fresh vegetables include a variety of greens like raw vegetables, bean sprouts, shallots, lettuce, and spices like fried shallots and fermented fish sauce.
Bun Thit Nuong in Hue can be accompanied by different sauces, depending on individual preferences. A rich, peanut-scented sauce suits those who enjoy a spicy and savory taste, reflecting the bold Hue palate. Vietnamese fermented anchovy dipping sauce, a stronger seasoning, is ideal for those with a robust taste preference, while sweet and sour fish sauce caters to those who prefer a more familiar flavor.
In the preparation process, the pork is marinated with spices and grilled over charcoal or wood fire until it’s fully cooked and acquires a beautiful golden color. The vermicelli, after being cooked, is drained and allowed to cool. Fresh vegetables are cleaned, chopped, and mixed to create a base that complements the grilled pork vermicelli. When serving, the vermicelli and fresh vegetables are evenly arranged in a bowl, with the grilled pork placed on top. The dish is often garnished with fried peanuts and various spices.
Bun Thit Nuong in Hue is not only visually appealing but also a fantastic blend of the distinctive taste of Central Vietnam and the freshness of high-quality ingredients.
You can enjoy delicious Bun Thit Nuong at the Bun Thit Nuong Restaurant on Dao Duy Tu Street, at number 81 Dao Duy Tu Street, Phu Binh Ward. This is a familiar breakfast spot in Hue for many food enthusiasts, affectionately known as Mrs. Ty’s restaurant. Prices range from 20,000 VND to 30,000 VND.
3. Bun Bo Hue (Hue Beef Noodle Soup)
Hue Beef Noodle Soup is a traditional Vietnamese dish originating from the city of Hue, one of Vietnam’s renowned culinary destinations. This dish is known for its unique and complex flavor profile, combining various types of meat, rice vermicelli (bún, which are thin and round rice noodles), and a range of spices, creating a distinctive taste that is unmistakably associated with Vietnamese cuisine.
The main components of Hue Beef Noodle Soup include rice vermicelli, typically made from rice, thinly sliced beef (The beef chosen is the front calf, bright red beef or flower corn, and light yellow beef fat.), coagulated pig blood, and pig hock, which are boiled and cut into thin slices, Vietnamese pork sausage (chả), and fresh vegetables such as water spinach, basil, mint, and bean sprouts.
Additionally, the dish is garnished with aromatic herbs like cilantro and green onions. Hue Beef Noodle Soup is typically served hot and accompanied by condiments such as lime wedges, chili, and garlic, enhancing its rich flavors
The broth, a crucial element in Hue Beef Noodle Soup, is prepared by simmering beef bones and adding a little fish sauce and lemongrass to the broth, resulting in a flavorful and fragrant soup base. The combination of these ingredients creates a balanced blend of flavors and textures, making Hue Beef Noodle Soup a beloved dish not only in its place of origin but also throughout Vietnam and in Vietnamese restaurants worldwide.
A steaming bowl of Hue beef noodle soup is a delight, with its aroma and the authentic flavors that harken back to the ancient capital. The bowl showcases a blend of colors; the warm orange hue from cashew oil, the brown tones of beef and pork blood, and the fresh green accents of onions, and cilantro complemented by a sprinkle of refreshing bean sprouts. This exquisite dish tantalizes the palate with its balance of spiciness, sweetness, and savory notes leaving diners satisfied.
One destination to savor the delightful Hue Beef Noodle Soup is Mệ Kéo Beef Noodle Shop, situated at 20 Bach Dang, Phu Cat, in the heart of Hue City. This establishment stands as one of the most ancient beef noodle stalls in Hue. The cost for a serving of Beef Noodle Soup at this eatery varies, falling within the range of 25,000 VND to 35,000 VND.
4.Banh Khoai (Hue Crispy Pancake)
Banh Khoai is a special pancake from the city of Hue. The preparation method is quite similar to the Southern Vietnamese dish ‘Banh Xeo,’ but the shape of the cake is completely different. Banh Khoai Hue is known for its unique flavor and distinctive preparation, making it an essential part of Hue cuisine.
Banh Khoai is created by applying a delicate rice flour batter onto a heated, circular pan with a mold. Shrimp, pork, beef, mushrooms, and bean sprouts are placed at the center, and the cake is folded in half. It’s then fried until the outer layer turns crispy and golden brown. The dish is especially delightful when prepared on a wood stove.
Banh Khoai is traditionally served warm and sliced into small, manageable portions. It is commonly enjoyed with a selection of fresh vegetables like bean sprouts, lettuce, chili, and garlic, along with locally sourced Hue vegetables such as figs, green bananas, and star fruits. In addition, the people of Hue prepare a delightful sweet and sour dish by combining shredded papaya and carrots, which are soaked in a mixture of vinegar and sugar to enrich the taste.
The flavor of Banh Khoai heavily depends on the dipping sauce, a vital element prepared with great care by the locals. This sauce is meticulously crafted, incorporating more than 10 varieties of spices, including unique ingredients like pork liver and finely minced lean meat. Additionally, it contains shallots, garlic, toasted sesame, peanuts, soy sauce, fermented shrimp paste, and seasoning powder. The mixture is simmered until it thickens, achieving a pale yellow hue that indicates the perfect taste.
Banh Khoa is not only a delicious dish but also carries the rich cultural and historical heritage of the people of Hue. It is often enjoyed during festivals and special occasions, holding a significant meaning in Hue cuisine.
In Hue, many places are selling “Banh Khoai”, walking around small alleys, market corners, and street stalls, you can easily find this delicious Hue specialty. Among them, the Banh Khoai shop owned by Ms. Hạnh has gained a famous reputation in Hue, captivating countless people. The shop is conveniently located near the Western Quarter at 11 Phu Duc Chinh Street, Hue City, with prices ranging from 20,000 VND to 55,000 VND. This is one of the delicious and affordable options for customers.
5.Banh Bot Loc (Hue’s Topioca Dumplings)
Banh bot loc, a delightful dish from Hue, is closely linked with the warm and welcoming people of the sunny and breezy Central region. Crafted from cassava flour, the thin, see-through exterior of the cakes showcases their flavorful fillings. These small, chewy cakes offer a delightful experience for those who indulge in them. Traditionally, the filling usually includes a combination of shrimp, pork, or both, seasoned with ingredients like pepper, and shallots.
Banh bot loc typically appears in two varieties: one without any covering and another wrapped in banana leaves. Cooks use a range of ingredients like meat, shrimp, or even just creamy green bean paste based on their preferences. Thanks to its diverse fillings, this dish can cater to the preferences of almost any guest
People often enjoy banh bot loc with a dipping sauce made of sweet and sour fish sauce, minced garlic, and chili to enhance the flavor. Not only is this dish tasty, but it also looks appealing, with the transparent outer layer highlighting the ingredients inside.
Hue-style banh bot loc is crafted meticulously and requires skill and expertise in handling ingredients to create a thin and uniform outer layer. This dish is not only a significant part of Hue’s culinary tradition but also an indispensable aspect of Vietnamese culinary culture. If you have the chance to visit Hue, don’t forget to try the traditional banh bot loc to experience the distinctive taste of this region.
Located at 23/117 Phan Dinh Phung Street, Hue City, Bà Cư restaurant is always bustling with customers coming and going. What sets it apart is that the restaurant serves all day, and each meal ranges from 10,000 to 30,000 VND, making it suitable for various customer segments. Despite its crowded ambiance, the service is very fast, and the staff is attentive and courteous. The dishes are always delicious and hot, no matter the time.
6.Hue Sweet Soup
Hanoi is famous for its 36 streets, but Hue stands out with its diverse array of 36 sweet soups. These desserts come in many flavors, from the sophisticated taste of royal sweet soups to the humble sweetness enjoyed by everyday people. Each type carries its distinct aroma, adding to the culinary charm of this Ancient Capital.
Hue sweet soups are a harmonious combination of Cham Pa culinary art and traditional Vietnamese cuisine, creating one of the distinctive tastes of Hue cuisine: salty, sweet, sour, spicy, and bitter. That’s why sweet soup is an indispensable dessert in the sumptuous feasts of the Nguyen dynasty kings. Moreover, sweet soup is also a daily favorite of the elderly and young people in every corner of the city. Additionally, it is an essential dish on ceremonial occasions, festivals, full moon days, and other special days, serving as a sweet and heartfelt gift to the ancestors.
For the people of Hue, the preferred ingredient for making sweet soup is green beans. From this single ingredient, 2 to 3 delicious sweet soup varieties can be prepared. Alongside green beans, lotus seeds, and black-eyed peas are also used in Hue sweet soups. However, each type of bean requires a specific and intricate preparation method. The sweet soups in Hue are prepared in two distinct styles: traditional and royal, showcasing a unique and varied culinary tradition. Elegant-style sweet soups from Hue include lotus sweet soup, ginger sweet soup, sticky rice with roasted pork sweet soup, longan sweet soup, and wrapped sticky rice dumplings with lotus seeds. On the other hand, common-style sweet soups include corn sweet soup, mung bean sweet soup, red bean sweet soup, green bean sweet soup, taro sweet soup, and wrapped sticky rice dumplings with peanuts.
To achieve the rich Hue flavor in every bowl and glass of sweet soup, the cook must go through many meticulous steps, such as selecting the ingredients and preparing spices and aromas, before starting the cooking process. Each person’s recipe varies, creating many sweet soup dishes with diverse and rich flavors in Hue cuisine. When looking at these transparent and enticing bowls and glasses of sweet soup, with their chewy and soft texture, the sweet aroma invites and entices everyone to taste.
“Chè hẻm” is one of the famous places for selling Hue Sweet Soup in Hue City. When you visit Hue, you must try it. It is called “chè hẻm” (alley sweet soup) because these sweet soup stalls are located close to each other in a small alley. These stalls are usually not large, with tiny and charming spaces. Inside the stalls, small tables are placed close to each other, and underneath, there are high stools. This creates a vintage atmosphere, especially with old-style tea sets placed on the tables. Located at 17 Hung Vuong Street, Hue City, the price is only 12,000 VND per serving.
7. Nem Lui (Lemongrass skewers)
Nem lui, also known as Lemongrass skewers, is a popular dish in Hue, made from a combination of pork and pork skin. The meat is finely minced and mixed with various spices such as garlic, shallots, pepper, and other seasonings to create a distinctive flavor.
Nem lui is usually shaped into small skewers and grilled over charcoal until golden brown, ensuring a crispy and enticing outer layer. This dish is often served with fresh vegetables like lettuce, herbs, vermicelli noodles, or rice paper rolls. People typically enjoy nem lui by wrapping it in fresh leaves, adding some noodles, and dipping it into flavorful sauces.
To truly enjoy this delectable Hue specialty, it should be consumed while still warm. Grab a portion of Nem, and encase it in rice paper along with fresh veggies and green bananas. This combination allows you to relish the crunchiness of Nem, the heat from the chili, and the indulgent, savory flavor of the dipping sauce. These elements result in an incredibly flawless taste experience.
Hue Tai Phu’s nem lui restaurant is a beloved destination for many tourists. Located at the corner of Dien Bien Phu intersection, it offers a spacious and clean environment. Their nem lui is abundant in meat and has a rich, flavorful taste that never gets tiresome. Additionally, the restaurant also sells delicious Vietnamese pancakes that are easy to enjoy. Prices range from 20,000 to 50,000 VND per serving.
8.Trung Vit Lon Um Bau ( Balut with Gourd)
Balut is a widely enjoyed light snack that’s familiar to many. Most diners are accustomed to eating it traditionally, boiled and accompanied by salt, pepper, ginger, and cilantro.
If you find yourself in Hue, make sure to experience a delightful way of savoring balut known as “Trung Vit Lon Um Bau.” This unique and incredibly tasty delicacies offer a completely different culinary adventure.
Begin by cooking aromatic garlic in a spacious pot until fragrant. Next, toss in the guard and stir-fry. Introduce a mix of spices, water, and vine spinach, and simmer until everything is tender. Lastly, add the balut to the pot. After the cooking is done and the stove is turned off, carefully ladle the duck embryos and water spinach into ceramic bowls. Top them with green onions and finely chopped chili for a visually appealing garnish.
The restaurant is located at the corner of Phan Dinh Phung Street, Phu Nhuan District, Hue City. The restaurant is only open from 8 PM until midnight. Each bowl, priced at 15,000 VND, contains a balut. The ceramic bowls help keep the dish warm for a long time. The Balut with Guard is perfectly seasoned, so there’s no need to add any additional spices. Diners only need to savor each spoonful. The tender and fragrant water spinach, combined with the rich and sweet duck embryos, along with the freshness of the cilantro, enhances the harmony of the dish’s flavors.
Exploring Hue’s Culinary Treasures: Top Spots for Street Food Enthusiasts
1.Dong Ba Market
Dong Ba Market, nestled in the heart of Hue City alongside the Perfume River, holds a storied past dating back to the early 19th century. Its architectural charm, characterized by a tiled roof and a bustling interior, not only serves as a testament to the rich heritage of the region. This vibrant marketplace also witnessed culinary adventures abound.
Dong Ba Market in Hue features a 3-story structure, referred to as the “bell tower,” encircled by rows of houses creating a U-shaped layout. Each floor offers distinct merchandise, systematically categorized to simplify the shopping experience. For a taste of Hue city’s specialties, the first floor is a must-visit, showcasing a wide array of Central Vietnamese dried seafood and unique Hue delicacies like shrimp paste (mam co ri), fermented fish sauce (mam nem), and a plethora of delectable dishes. The vendors at this level are exceptionally welcoming and ready to assist customers.
One can savor the delights of Com Hen, a dish harmonizing tiny clams, rice, herbs, and a special sauce, tantalizing taste buds with its flavors. Bun Thit Nuong, a lunchtime favorite, features vermicelli noodles crowned with grilled pork, fresh herbs, peanuts, and a delectable fish sauce. For those with an inclination toward savory treats, Banh Beo beckons — small steamed rice cakes adorned with shrimp, mung bean paste, and crispy shallots. Moreover, Dong Ba Market is a gateway to Hue’s royal cuisine, offering dishes once savored by emperors, showcasing intricate preparation and exquisite flavors. Fresh seafood, including succulent prawns and various fishes, is readily available, promising a seafood lover’s paradise. The market’s sweet offerings, ranging from banh flan to che and sticky rice cakes, cater to dessert enthusiasts.
Dong Ba Market is more than a marketplace; it’s a cultural immersion. Visitors engage with friendly locals, learning about traditional Vietnamese ingredients and techniques. Amidst the lively ambiance, one witnesses the tapestry of Vietnamese life, experiencing the authentic sights, sounds, and aromas of Hue. A visit to Dong Ba Market transcends the ordinary, offering a sensory adventure that captures the essence of Hue’s culinary heritage and warm hospitality.
Dong Ba Market can be found at 2 Tran Hung Dao, Phu Hoa, Hue City, and is conveniently accessible via various modes of transportation for visitors.
2. Hue Western Quarter
For food enthusiasts, not visiting Hue Western Quarter to experience local cuisine would be a significant omission. The question of what to eat in Hue Western Quarter is no longer a challenge because this place offers a variety of irresistible dishes. The exquisite dishes of Hue not only provide a unique culinary experience for travelers when they step into this ancient capital but also leave a lasting impression on food enthusiasts.
In addition to street food, travelers can indulge in various enticing specialties of Hue. One of the famous specialties is “Com Hen,” made from cold rice, pork cracklings, fermented shrimp paste, baby clams, and a range of complex spices, combined with raw vegetables, bean sprouts, banana blossoms, and small pieces of taro stems. There is also “Che Hue,” where the ancient capital takes pride in dozens of different types of sweet soups, each with unique flavors and delicate preparation methods, suitable for tourists to refresh and recharge before exploring other interesting places.
A dish that cannot be missed is “Bun Bo Hue,” one of the culinary symbols of Hue. A bowl of “Bun Bo Hue” filled with various toppings, combined with spicy and rich broth, will undoubtedly make diners remember its distinctive delicious taste.
Furthermore, there is “Banh Nam,” a type of cake wrapped in dong leaves with minced shrimp and meat filling, appealing at first glance. The cake can be enjoyed with sweet and sour dipping sauce and a bit of green chili to enhance the unique flavor of Hue. Lastly, do not forget “Banh Beo Chen,” with its soft and smooth batter, placed in small cups and topped with fried shallots, pork cracklings, and small pieces of dried shrimp, accompanied by sweet and sour fish sauce. It’s an unmissable culinary experience for anyone visiting Hue’s Western Street.
The Hue Western Quarter, also known as Hue Walking Street, comprises three routes: Chu Van An Street, Pham Ngu Lao Street, and Vo Thi Sau Street. This used to be a lively area in Hue, drawing numerous tourists and locals alike with its diverse entertainment options as gourmet restaurants… Don’t hesitate to come here to have a fulfilling street food experience.
3. Gia Hoi-Chi Lang Ancient Quarter
Make sure to visit the captivating old town area of Gia Hoi, particularly the bustling Chi Lang Street, as it is an absolute must. This district stands out as a paradise for food lovers in Hue, renowned for its exceptional location that captures the hearts of countless tourists. As you wander through its charming streets, you will come across a diverse range of restaurants, each offering a delightful culinary experience. These eateries showcase an extensive menu with a wide variety of delicious dishes, all carefully prepared to capture the rich and diverse flavors of Hue. From savory beef noodle soup and fragrant rice with mussels to the comforting warmth of Hue-style sweet soups and the artistic presentation of steamed rice rolls, each dish tells a unique story about the city’s culinary heritage.
Chi Lang Street, in particular, comes alive with an exciting energy, with numerous restaurants lining its sides, tempting passersby with enticing aromas and vibrant displays of local delicacies. Here, you can indulge in the heavenly flavors of Hue-style baguettes, enjoy the subtle sweetness of boxed sticky rice, and savor the exquisite creations of renowned establishments like O Buom noodle soup and the aromatic vinegar-based noodle soup near Gia Hoi Bridge. These places have earned their stellar reputation through years of perfecting their culinary skills, making them a must-visit for food enthusiasts.
A visit to Gia Hoi old town is not just a treat for the senses; it is a profound exploration of Hue’s historical and culinary legacy. It invites you to delve deep into the city’s past, embrace its traditions, and savor its flavors, all within the picturesque surroundings of this ancient marvel.
Location: Gia Hoi Ancient Town, Gia Hoi Ward, Hue City.
4. Hai Ba Trung Walking Street Food Court
Hue’s Hai Ba Trung walking street is a charming spot for food enthusiasts and culture lovers. This area, named after Hai Ba Trung Street, offers an opportunity to relish delectable dishes.
Hai Ba Trung Walking Street Food Court is a bustling center filled with a variety of eateries and restaurants that serve a wide selection of mouthwatering dishes from different parts of Vietnam. Travelers can indulge in specialties like Hue-style beef noodles, clam rice, crispy pancakes, and an assortment of spring rolls at popular dining establishments. Moreover, there are also options to try international delicacies such as pho, sushi, or pizza.
The allure of this area goes beyond its tantalizing culinary offerings. The eateries are adorned classically, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of dining in ancient Hue houses. Traditional music and visuals are frequently displayed, resulting in a vivacious setting.
Apart from being a haven for food lovers, the Hai Ba Trung walking street is also an excellent place for shopping. Numerous street shops offer handcrafted items, electronics, clothing, and distinctive souvenirs. It is the perfect location to discover meaningful gifts to bring back cherished mementos from your journey.
Hai Ba Trung walking street often hosts cultural and entertainment events, including traditional music performances, dances, and folk games. These activities contribute to the festive and vibrant ambiance enjoyed by both tourists and locals.
The Hai Ba Trung walking street in Hue is not solely a spot to savor delightful cuisine, but also a vibrant cultural experience. Here, travelers can combine the joy of sampling local specialties, exploring unique shopping opportunities, and taking part in entertaining activities. These experiences will undoubtedly leave lasting memories during their visit to the city of Hue.