Known as the old Imperial land of Vietnam, tourism in Hue City is famous for the taciturn and sophisticated scenery with a lot of ancient mausoleums and majestic palaces combining with the gracefulness and the hospitality of the natives here. Besides that, coming to Hue, visitors will also fall deeply in love with its culinary art. Hue Cuisine is not only delicious, but it also contains the cultural identity of this millennial land. In this article, we will give you a guide to eat well in Hue, Vietnam on every budget as well as providing a list of Hue restaurants to enjoy the entire beauty of Hue Cuisine.
Traditional street food
Of course, mentioning a place’s cuisine culture, we cannot miss the traditional food. People say that the best way to learn about the tradition of a destination is to taste their traditional dishes. Indeed:
There is a fact that Hue is the region of steam cakes. There are a lot of dishes that related to this category, but we will only point out two most famous ones:
Banh Beo (water-fern cake)
A steam rice cake. It is a famous signature dish in Hue. Smooth, elegant and simple are exactly three adjectives to describe Banh Beo. You could find them everywhere in Hue, from the streets to the restaurants.
Banh Beo has the shape of a bloating fern with a smooth white base-which is made of rice flour. On top of it, there is the yellow color of fried sliced onions and cubes of fried pork skin, the orange color of shrimp, and the green color of scallion oil. Souse a little spicy fish sauce on top of the cake and you can taste the quintessence of Hue Cuisine.
- Aunt Thu Beo Cake:
374 Chi Lang Street, Hue City
(about 10,000 VND – 20,000 VND/dish).
- Grandma Cu Beo Cake:
47 Nguyen Hue Street, Hue City
(about 25,000 VND – 50,000 VND/ dish).
- Tay Loc Market:
209 Nguyen Trai Street, Hue City
(about 5,000 VND – 30,000 VND/dish).
Banh Bot Loc
A special steam cake made from tapioca starch. Visitors can easily notice the clear and translucent cover of the cake, which allows everyone to see the filling inside. The filling is a combination of a small shrimp and lightly seasoned ground pork belly. The same as other Hue specialties, they also serve spicy fish sauce with this cake.
Here are some famous addresses to enjoy this delicious snack:
- The 109 Restaurant:
109 Le Huan Street, Hue City
(about 10,000 VND – 15,000 VND/dish).
- Tay Loc Market:
209 Nguyen Trai Street, Hue City
(about 5,000 VND – 30,000 VND/dish).
- Grandma Do Beo-Nam-Loc:
No 8, Nguyen Binh Khiem Street
(about 10,000 VND – 50,000 VND/dish).
This is a special fried cake of the imperial Hue. The cover of the cake is spread thinly in the circle shape. After that, the filling of the cake is added. It includes small shrimps, raw pork paste, a boiled quail egg, and thin slices of boiled pork belly. When the cover is goldenly fried and the filling is cooked, the cake is folded into a half-moon shape.
Combining with the green color of the lettuce and Vietnamese herbs, the white color of bean sprouts, and the yellow color of carambola, Khoai Cake has a rich, buttery and sour taste, especially when it is dipped into the Leo sauce, which is a combination of more than 10 ingredients such as soybean, peanut, sesame, pork liver,….
In Hue City, there are 3 famous places to try this delicacy:
- Hanh Khoai Cake:
No 11, Pho Duc Chinh Street, Hue City
(about 20,000 VND – 50,000 VND/ dish).
- Lac Thien Restaurant:
No 6, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hue City
(about 50,000 VND – 70,000 VND/ dish).
- Hong Mai Khoai Cake:
No 110, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hue City
(about 10,000 VND – 25,000 VND/ dish).
It is a kind of roll in the local menu. Many people believe that Nem Lui is a wonderful experience in their culinary journey. Although the cooking process is easy and rural, the taste of it is wonderful, explosive, and flavorful. Basically, it is a grilled roll made of finely ground pork. Instead of using a bamboo stick to grill the pork, locals use a citronella. That’s the reason why this dish has such a savory smell. In order to enjoy this dish, you’ll need to wrap the grilled pork, the herbs, and strips of carambola into a roll and dip it in a special sauce called Leo sauce.
Try it once and you will fall in love with the taste of it. You can come to these following destinations to experience the Nem Lui:
- Grandma Ty Nem Lui:
No 81, Dao Duy Tu Street, Hue City
(about 6,000 VND – 20,000 VND/dish).
- Tai Phu Nem Lui:
No 2, Dien Bien Phu Street, Hue City
(about 20,000 VND – 60,000 VND/dish).
- Nguyen Truong To Nem Lui:
Opposite No 35, Nguyen Truong To Street, Hue City
(about 8,000 VND – 10,000 VND/dish).
One of the most famous specialties in Hue originated in Con Hen Island. At the first glance, the dish already looks quite complicated: Fried rice with baby mussels, mussel soup, shrimp sauce, slices of cabbage, carambola, Indian taros, fried sliced onion, fried pork skin, grilled girdle-cake, crispy fried noodle, chilies, and roasted peanuts. Besides that, there are also a lot of Vietnamese herbs that you can eat together with the mussels rice such as banana blossoms, cilantro, coriander,…
In contrast with the diverse ingredients, the dish tastes harmoniously sophisticated. A note is that the mussels rice is pretty spicy so please remind the cook to reduce the spiciness if you cannot bear the heat. People always say that if you haven’t tried the mussels rice, then you’ve never come to Hue. So please have it once and we promise you won’t be able to forget the taste of it.
The best destinations to try this dish are:
- Hoa Dong Restaurant:
No 64, Lane 7, Ung Binh Street, Hue City
(about 7,000 VND – 10,000 VND/dish).
- Nho Restaurant:
No 28, Pham Hong Thai Street, Hue City
(about 25,000 VND – 39,000 VND/dish)
- Grandma Cam’s Mussels Rice:
No 2, Truong Dinh Street, Hue City
(about 10,000 VND/dish)
- Nguyen Hue Vermicelli, Porridge, and Rice:
No 98, Nguyen Hue Street, Hue City
(about 10,000 VND – 22,000 VND/dish)
Hue Beef Rice Noodles
This is absolutely a must-try dish when visiting Hue. A bowl of Hue Beef Rice Noodles with full topping will have thin slices of short loin or pork, pork cartilages, pork knuckles, congealed pork blood, Vietnamese crab balls, and scallions on top of the silky noodles in a thick broth.
In addition, this dish is also served with a wide range of Vietnamese herbs such as bean sprouts, mints, cilantro, shallots, lemongrass, and banana blossom. Depending on your taste, you can also add fresh chilies, chili sauce, fermented shrimp paste or lemon juice into your bowl.
Although you can find this at literally everywhere in Hue, our recommendations for you are:
- Mother Keo Hue Beef Rice Noodles:
No 20, Bach Dang Street, Hue City (about 20.000 VND/dish).
This is a must-visit destination if you want to experience a burst of flavors in your mouth. The crab balls here are the stars of the dish. They are flavorful, soft, and tasty. Instead of slicing the pork, visitors are served with a whole piece of pork belly which is tender and delicious.
- Aunt Phuong Beef Rice Noodles:
No 24, Nguyen Khuyen Street, Hue City
(about 30,000 VND – 35,000 VND/dish)
- Aunt Hoa Beef Rice Noodles:
No 162, Mai Thuc Loan Street, Hue City
(about 15,000 VND – 25,000 VND/dish).
Che (a sweet dessert of Vietnam)
Mentioning Hue, certainly we couldn’t skip this signature dessert. There are three famous addresses we would like to suggest:
- The Che Alley: No 1, 29 Alley, Hung Vuong Street (about 7,000 VND – 11,000 VND/dish). Although the location of the Che Alley is hidden from view, this is still packed of customers. There are many kinds of Che here such as Pomelo Che, Rainbow Che, fruits Che, corn Che, mixed Che,…The taste is sweet and the price is surprisingly pleasant, too.
- The Mother Ton Dich Che (located next to the gate of Thuong Bac Park). Especially, the Mother’s Ton Dich’s Che is super savory. If you’d like to try all the topping, they will serve you a tray of full topping in small distinct bowls. We find this method quite interesting and useful when you cannot decide which flavors to eat. They also sell roasted pork as a side dish, too. Somehow the combination of Che and the roasted pork is very mouth-pleasing. (about 8,000 VND – 20,000 VND/dish).
- Aunt Xe Che: No 17, Han Mac Tu Street, Hue City (about 7,000 VND – 25,000 VND/dish).
Read more: Top 5 Hue desserts perfect for summer day.
How to get there:
Restaurants for vegetarians
Coming to Hue, vegetarians will a heaven of vegan dishes. Recognized as a Buddhism center, this is absolutely the best place to find vegan restaurants in Vietnam:
Lien Hoa Restaurant
Located at 31 Le Quy Don Street, Hue City; this is the most well-known vegetarian destination when it comes to the topic of vegan food. The decoration inside the restaurant is polite and elegant with a well-aired atmosphere. The space of the restaurant is also large and the facilities inside are traditionally luxurious with equipped air conditioners. Waiters and waitresses here are also very well-mannered and professional. Coming here, visitors may feel a bit confusing since the English translated names of their dishes are quite common and sometimes very funny. But trust us when we say the experience here is a worth-to-try one.
Tinh Thuc Restaurant
110 Ngu Binh Street, Hue City
Different from Lien Hoa Restaurant, the dishes in Tinh Thuc brings back a familiar feeling as if they’re homemade. Combining with a popular price, it’s definitely the destination you should try once in a lifetime. Having dishes here, visitors will also experience the anti-illiteracy serving method, which means first come first serve and self-sufficient. So certainly, this is not for those who like to dine in a luxurious destination. But if you want to savor the traditional vegan dishes. The most delicious dish here is the Vegan Vermicelli: the broth is pure, flavorus and beautiful.
Tinh Lam Nhi Restaurant
Sitting at 112A Truong Chinh Street, Hue City, this restaurant offers visitors an ancient but delicate atmosphere. Serving food in the traditional flat baskets, foreign people find this destination an interesting place to explore the culinary art of Hue as well as share weal and woe with the customs around here. Tinh Lam Nhi Restaurant usually holds a lot of buffets for vegetarians with high-quality dishes. At an average price, this is really a good choice for vegan lovers.
Bo De Restaurant
Possessing a Buddhist name, Bo De Restaurant is also a favorite suggestion for vegetarians. Having the view that overlooks Huong River, it is considered as one of the restaurants that own the most favorable position in Hue. The menu is 100% made from tofu and plants with no “fake-vegan” food, which is also a huge plus for this restaurant. What can be better than having great vegan dishes while observing the peaceful and picturesque Huong River? If you are searching for a place to have dinner at a reasonable price and a nice view, please pay a visit to 11 Le Loi Street, Hue City.
Other signature dishes
Yes, Hue Cuisine possesses so many delicious delicacies, but that’s only the tip of an iceberg. There are way more things to experience in Hue as locals:
Fermented Anchovy Dipping Sauce Noodles (Bun Mam Nem)
This was a signature dish of Hue, which is now an oblivion. A bowl of Fermented Anchovy Dipping Sauce Hue Noodles contains thin slices of boiled pork belly and pork ears, fishcakes, roasted ground peanuts, slices of cucumbers, and herbs on top of the noodles. Then, we will souse the Fermented Anchovy Dipping Sauce (or also called Mam Nem) into the bowl, mix all ingredients together and enjoy the delicious treat.
To try this dish, you can visit Mother Thao’s Fermented Anchovy Dipping Sauce Hue Noodles in 64 Ba Trieu Street, Hue. Other famous destinations are Aunt Be Fermented Anchovy Dipping Sauce Hue Noodles at the beginning of Phan Dang Luu Street or Aunt O’s Fermented Anchovy Dipping Sauce Hue Noodles in Cao Ba Quat corner and some street vendors in Dong Ba Market.
Giam Nuoc Noodles
Nuoc is an animal that looks like jellyfish but much smaller and more delicious. Normally, Nuoc is only available in May, so in order to eat Giam Nuoc Noodles, visitors have to choose the right time. There are two types of Nuoc: Nuoc tai (softly crispy) and Nuoc chan (very crispy).
This dish is very complicated to cook but the result is quite pleased to see. The crispy translucent Nuoc combining with golden braised shrimps, crab soup, baby tomatoes, roasted ground peanuts, slices of grilled girdle-cake and the broth-which is made from pork livers and sailfin gobies. Herbs such as banana blossom, coriander, hyssop, and bean sprouts are also required in this dish. If you find this dish interesting, then you can give it a try at the beginning of Chi Lang Slope.
To try this dish, there is an alternative option to join a walk of street culinary operated by Bee Bee Travel. They do a fun food tour and operate the best walking tour in Hue, Vietnam.
Saffron Noodles (or also called Nghe Noodles)
A little noodles, a few pieces of pig’s tripes, a tablespoon of ground saffron, coriander, fresh chilies, some thin slices of onions, and a little fermented anchovy dipping sauce – all together, they create a dish that could blow visitors’ mind away from the first time. So simple but delicious. The best place to enjoy this dish is Ben Ngu Market. Believe us when we say this is the perfect treat in the afternoon.
In rainy days in Hue, it is best to slurp a hot bowl of beef porridge. A bowl of beef porridge often has all of these following topping: beef, beef intestine, beef tripes, congealed blood, and scallions. Sprinkle some ground pepper and visitors can enjoy the flavorful and tasty beef porridge. Our recommendations for you are Aunt Tue Beef Porridge (near Chi Lang Slope on the left); Aunt Thanh’s Beef Porridge (Van Xuan Street), and Aunt Mai’s Beef Porridge (at the beginning of Kim Long Street).
It’s time to make a decision
Above is a guide to eat well in Hue on every budget. We all have to admit that Hue culinary art is an amazing adventure with hundreds of famous Hue restaurants to try. Coming to Hue, you cannot miss out this cultural beauty. It indirectly reflects the characteristics of the locals, the thickness of Hue’s history, and the beauty of this imperial land. Experience Hue Cuisine once and we promise you’ll long for a return.