Hue became famous some time ago for its cuisine. It is based upon the food served to the Emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty that disappeared with the rise of Communism. The recipes did not disappear with them. Bun Bo Hue is perhaps the best known; it is noodle soup with beef and chilli and if you are in Hue during your Vietnam holiday, look for it on the menu. You will find it being cooked by street vendors as well of course and certainly it is something that everyone on a Vietnam tour should try.
There are some fine restaurants in Hue as well. As tourists’ numbers grow so does the number of cafes, bistros and restaurants to satisfy demand. You have the chance to sit down quietly in a number of different places and savour the flavours on offer:
• Tinh Gia Vien is a villa in a quiet side street. It was once a private home of royalty before its conversion to a restaurant that has set menus, each with 11 courses.
• Ancient Hue Royal Cuisine and Gallery is one of the largest restaurants in Hue. There are a number of small house in a large garden and although it is not cheap by Vietnamese standards the food and surroundings merit a visit.
• Le Parfum is in Le Residence Hotel and offers a six-course menu with the highlights including lamb, chicken and tuna courses. It is a mixture of Vietnamese and French and has an impressive wine list.
• Les Jardins de la Carambole is another restaurant in an ancient building, dating back to the early 1800s. There are great views from the first floor over the River and Old City.
• Elegant Restaurant is definitely a place to go for seafood. BBQ Shrimp on sugar cane stands out though there is both Vietnamese and European cuisine and an extensive range of drinks.
• Mandarin Café opened in 1990 and has established a reputation for good food and value for money. The décor includes interesting photographs on the wall and you can go there as early as 0600 each day.
• Hanh Restaurant is known for its regional dish, Nem Lui which is pork wrapped in lemon grass, coming with vegetables and peanut sauce. There are several other local dishes so this is an ideal place to get the most popular of them in a single sitting.
• Nina’s Café is family owned and amongst its most popular dishes are squid with lemon grass and chilli, rice cakes and banana flower salad. Pork is common as well and if you like the food, why not enrol for a cookery lesson?
• Risotto Hueis a restaurant on two storeys with great views of the Perfume River from the first floor. It specialises in Italian food with complimentary drinks with certain orders.
• Tropical Garden Restaurant has live music while you enjoy your meal. You can dine outside if you wish and enjoy dishes such as fried crab, minced pork rolls and steamed rice cakes.