These are steamed rice cakes, about the size of a silver dollar, that come five to eight pieces to an order, topped with dried shrimp, pork cracklings, shallots and herbs and served with a dipping sauce, steamed and served in small ceramic saucers.
Yet another delicious steamed rice savory cake, this time flat, with a mixture of fried ground shrimp, pork and scallions pressed into the surface before it’s wrapped in banana leaves then steamed. I guess this dish is kind of similar to the other dish I order.
Hue is located in central Vietnam on the banks of Perfume River. Some cultural areas of interest are in close walking or taxi distance but I decided to make the most of my time by booking a day tour of the highlights. Day tours are nice because it saves you transportation hassle and it gets me out of my solitary lag. It is nice to spend the day with others every once in a while.
My Hue Vacations tour with tour guide Dany starts with a hotel pickup around 8:00 AM.
Thien Mu Pagoda
Our morning begins with a visit to Thien Mu Pagoda (see photo above). This iconic Buddhist temple is a highlight of the city.
After our visit to the pagoda there is a 30 minute boat trip along the perfume river. It is relaxing but not memorable. The boat operator tries to sell us souvenirs during our ride. I don’t buy anything but a can of soda.
Dong Ba Market
After our boat ride we have a little time to explore Dong Ba Market. I get to feed my love for food markets all over the world. A couple of my tour-mates aren’t happy with this stop but the market is right up my alley.
Next we visit the Imperial city and Citadel. Our guide points out lots of damage from the war. Some of the buildings that are still in place are impressive.
According to our itinerary our lunch is supposed to be at a local home but it is really a restaurant that built for handling lunch service to the various tour groups that come through daily. Lunch is pretty quick and not memorable enough for me to take note of.
Minh Mang King’s Tomb
After lunch we visit Minh Mang’s tomb. It is the final resting place of a famous Confucian ruler during the Nguyen Dynasty. The property has a long stretch of walkways that lead you from monument to monument before you finally reach the tomb which is only open on special occasions.
I enjoy walking around the quiet grounds. There is one influencer doing a photo shoot with her instagram poses but it doesn’t bother me today because the site is not crowded and they also did not block access from others while they were doing their thing – they were willing to put their photo shoot aside while others are around. I give them props for that. So much of my travels were “sullied” by instagram models rudely blocking access to famous sights.
Mausoleum of Emperor Khai Dinh
The last monument stop is the mausoleum of Emperor Khai Dinh. He was a very unpopular ruler due to his extravagant spending and closeness to the French occupiers. His extravagant taste can be seen in the tomb he built for himself.
Look at all the designs!
incense stick village
Final stop is at an incense stick village shop. We get a demonstration on how the incense is made. I thought about buying some to ship home but it was hard to pick out scents that wouldn’t cause me to get a migraine. The incense village is an interesting stop to end the tour on.
The tour guide takes us back to our hotels and I take it easy the rest of the evening.
I can’t pronounce the town correctly but I sure can enjoy the food. Full disclosure I have been prouncing the name of this city incorrectly before I arrived to Vietnam. I always thought it sounds like view when it really sounds like way. Lesson learned. I am in Hue Vietnam after a short morning flight from Hanoi.
They have their own particular flair on many dishes. There are many fried and unhealthy things but when in Huế…..
First stop is to try some local dishes at Hanh Restaurant. It is around the corner from my hotel and a great place to try out many different Hue style dishes.
Banh Khoai – Savory fried pancake (pork, shrimp, green onion) served with peanut sauce
After lunch I do some wandering around town. Hue is nice and quiet during the day. Like many cities it gets lively at night with the walking streets. I tend not to stay out late but I do my best to try a little bit of nightlife while I am here.
During my walk I find a great park with interesting modern sculptures (Park February 3).
After dark it is time for walking streets. The streets are blocked from cars. Pedestrians, vendors, and diners are out. For some reason there are a bunch of street fires. It is not cold so not 100% sure the purpose of these.
It is almost Halloween and some restaurants celebrate with spooky decor.
I stop in a cafe to get a beer, morning glory, and a bowl of Bun bo Hue. The soup isn’t the best version that I will try in Vietnam but it is good enough for dinner. I am happy for the huge plate of morning glory. I rarely get to eat greens like this when I am traveling.
The crowd gets thicker at all the cafes as time goes on. I shop a little bit then head back to my hotel. I have a tour of Hue booked for the next day.