Travel Travel

18/02/2019 - 07:38

Exploiting Hue vegetarian cuisine potential

Hue Ancient Capital is the "cradle" of Buddhism. Vegetarian cuisine is the strength in tourism development.

Visiting Thien Mu Pagoda in combination with vegetarianism is a tour exploited by many businesses over the past time. Photo: Duc Quang

Hue’s specialties

Hue people often have a habit of fasting early or late in the lunar month. Vegetarian cuisine is diversified from easy-to-cook popular dishes to delicacies to serve the upper section and tourists.

Senior Buddhist nun Thich Nu Minh Tu (Head of Duc Son Pagoda) said, “Hue people’s vegetarian tradition has existed for long, especially prevalent from the Ly - Tran Dynasty until Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu (1691- 1725), and so far, it has become a cultural feature.”

Currently, in Hue the vegetarian shops are mushrooming to serve the needs of people and tourists. Among them, some famous vegetarian restaurants are "jam-packed" with diners on Lunar New Year holidays or full moon days in Le Quy Don, Truong Chinh, Phan Boi Chau Streets and so on. The difference in the vegetarian cuisine feature of Hue is the finicality and eye-catching decoration of dishes. People eat a dish with the eyes, and smell the fragrance before tasting it.

The finicality does not lie in the hard-to-find materials but in the way of processing with a wide variety of spices. Besides, the naming of vegetarian dishes in accordance with meat ones is also very popular in restaurants to attract tourists.

On the full or new moon days, the shops will change the menu from meat dishes to vegetarian ones. Even on ordinary days, vegetarian restaurants are also overcrowded with diners. According to Ms. Tran Thi Hong Mai, Manager of Hue's famous Lien Hoa Vegetarian Restaurant, customers come here to enjoy mostly dishes such as lẩu chay (vegetarian hotpots), bánh lọc (a small, clear-looking, chewy tapioca dumpling), ram cuốn (fried rolls), vả trộn (mixed fig), nộm (sweet and sour salad) and so on. Domestic tourists, pilgrimage groups and foreign tourists all love the vegetarian dishes of Hue.

Ms. Ho Tieu Chau, 35, a tourist from Da Nang, said, “Just taking a glimpse at Hue's vegetarian dishes, I felt delicious like ambrosia. Vegetarianism in Hue differs from other places I've ever been to; just in one day, I can't eat all the dishes on the menu. When back to Hue, I will continue to enjoy the dishes that have not yet been tried today. ”

Tourism products

Hue is a destination for tourists not only to visit temples and royal tombs, but also to relax according to the type of ecotourism and spiritual tourism. According to the Travel Management Division, the Department of Tourism, vegetarian cuisine will be an important part of spiritual tours. If invested more in service, vegetarian cuisine will surely produce more attraction for spiritual tours.

According to the Department of Tourism, vegetarian cuisine has a lot of strengths and potential given great attention for exploitation. This is also a development direction of the tourism sectors in the coming time. The Department is perfecting the file for submission to UNESCO on petitioning this organization to soon recognize Hue cuisine as humanity’s intangible cultural heritage, of which Hue vegetarian dishes play an important part.

Besides, the extra formation and design of tours associated with the introduction and promotion of Hue vegetarian cuisine to numerous domestic and foreign tourists, especially in festivals, Hue Festivals and Hue Traditional Craft Festivals.

Ms. Tran Thi Hong Mai, Manager of Lien Hoa Vegetarian Restaurant, said, “Restaurants often post ads on social networking sites and websites like Foody Hue. Besides, the restaurant also strives to improve the service quality to meet the customers’ needs; good service quality will certainly get tourists to return. If possible, the restaurant desperately needs the promotion support from the State for the vegetarian cuisine to be known by more and more tourists.”

Mr. Tran Viet Luc, Head of Tourism Development Research Division, the Department of Tourism said that for the diversification of vegetarian cuisine to be effectively brought into play, there should also be policies to link with airlines , railway, waterway, road companies and so on to form a vegetarian menu to serve the dining needs of tourists.

Simultaneously, it is also necessary to develop and maintain reasonable advertisement policies; the staff should introduce tourists to the characteristics and benefits of vegetarian dishes. In addition, it should be noted that the diversification of cuisine products must go hand in hand with the assurance of food hygiene and safety, ecological environment protection, and product quality assurance.

Story and photo: Tran Hien – Bao Lam