As many of you know, one of my favourite narrators is Anthony Bourdain and boy, does he wax poetic about Hue! We put Hue on our itinerary on the way from Hanoi to Hoi An so we didn’t sleep there but it was well worth the stop. I probably had the best shrimp pancake in all of Vietname there.
Other remarkable items we saw on that quick visit were the imperial city and the market. Hue used to be the capital of Vietnam up until World War II and while under imperial rule, cooks had to keep the royal family happy so Hue is famous for its many diverse snack-type dishes and for that reason alone, don’t hold back; try new things at this market’s many food stalls!
Hue Market tips (I think the official name is Dong Ba Market):
- Very big and easy to get lost in but also very vibrant and colourful.
- The bun bo hue stall that Anthony Bourdain visited is very disappointing as it had lots of already-made food that didn’t look very fresh. There are better places to eat, for sure.
- This market is probably THE place to try local fruits – so much variety and great prices compared to Hanoi and Hoi An.
- There is an element of culture shock; you’ll see freshly cut meats on display so close to the ground where we saw rats running around – definitely not something we’re used to! Fruits are safe to eat though 🙂
- Vendors will try to rip you off because you’re a tourist – that’s just a reality everywhere we went in Vietnam. One common phrase they use is “same same Vietnam!” which means their prices are the same for Vietnamese but if you observe long enough, locals are paying at least half of what you’re paying. That being said, things are still cheaper than home. However, it isn’t uncommon to be charged prices that work out to what you’d pay at home… so my advice is always bargain!
Imperial City Highlights:
- From 1800-1945 Vietnam was ruled by the Nyguen dynasty in Hue; they were the last ruling imperial family in Vietnam.
- The Imperial City is a walled enclosure where the emperor and important people of Vietnam would’ve lived and conducted business back in that time.
- What is left of it is just a shadow of its former glory. The first time its temples, pavilions, and gates were damaged was by the French then what was left from then on was destroyed by the American-Vietnam War.
So this was all built in the early 1800s and has since suffered everything from wars, colonialism, neglect, fire, and natural disasters. Yet it stands there and if you look closely, you can imagine the impressive city it once was.
Until next time!