Life Life

10/08/2018 - 20:27

Family-meal restaurants in Hue

In the rapid pace of modern life, many families choose to go to cozy family-meal restaurants to enjoy meals prepared in Hue style and save time from cooking.

A meal served on a bamboo tray of VND 35,000 – 40,000

Enjoying a meal and Trinh’s music

Diners can find several restaurants around Hue. Yet, not many of them can find a restaurant serving family-style meals. This is what Vo Hoang Hoai Anh said when she first dined at the family-meal restaurant at 1 Tran Thuc Nhan, Hue.

As an office employee, Thanh as well as her co-workers often goes to restaurants to enjoy meals served in family style. In her opinion, meals of this style have dishes with familiar tastes which create a feeling of being at home. “The price for each tray of meal is reasonable and the dishes are tasty. What I like most is that each meal has different dishes. In some restaurants, diners can also order coffee after meal to savor, refresh and relax with friends to get ready for the afternoon work,” Hoai Thanh commented.

Realizing that the serve of a “set menu” meal in Dalat is attractive to many diners, Tran Thai Hai decided to start a business in family-meal after returning to Hue. “Hem Living” (‘Alley’ Living) has been in operation for 8 months since then. He expanded his narrow rice serving inn in an alley into a three-story well-designed restaurant. The familiar ornaments on the wall, including photos of ancient Hue, vintage kitchen utensils evoking a traditional meal, have created an intimate atmosphere and a feeling of “a prepared-by-Mom meal at home.”

“The most interesting thing about Hem Living is that diners can listen to songs by the late musician Trinh Cong Son while having their meals. “This is the first time I am here, and I think this is a delicacy that the owner creates to attract diners,” said Thuy Duong, who is from Quang Tri. Most diners at the restaurant are university students living away from home and office employees. “We always try to make diners feel at home when they come for their meals rather than a come-and-go rice serving inn, said Tran Xuan Hai.

Trays of meals of “prepared-by-Mom quality” always attract diners

A search for Hue taste

Located in a small corner on Mai Thuc Loan street, ‘Nia’ restaurant serves meals displayed on eye-catching bamboo trays. Photos of meal preparation stages are hung on the wall, making an impression that diners are lost in an “exhibition” of Hue food.

To have eye-catching delicious dishes, the owner of the house has to go to the market very early in the morning to have a better chance to choose the fresh food of best quality. Interestingly, whether diners have meals in this restaurant with friends or sit alone among strangers, they still have a feeling of eating a cozy meal at home. What makes the restaurant different is that diners can share the dishes and thus food will not be wasted.

Truong Cong Phuoc and his wife went to the restaurant on a Saturday and ordered a tray of meal for two. After five minutes, a meal of four dishes: soup, fried food, stewed food, and rice, was presented. “Delicious food, good services and reasonable prices are the qualities of the restaurant. We choose this restaurant for a family-like atmosphere once we cannot have enough time go home for lunch, or have a meal delivered,” Phuoc said.

The owner of Nia Restaurant, Tran Van Bao Hoang, reveals that there have not been many family-meal restaurants like this in Hue. We have tried to make changes to both the atmosphere and the way of food preparation so that diners will have a feeling of having ‘prepared-by-Mom’ meals.

Hem Living restaurant on Tran Thuc Nhan street is a familiar lunch place for office employees

Missing ‘prepared-by-Mom’ meals when living away from Hue

“My family meal typically has a large bowl of vegetable soup and a dish of stewed fish; or alternatively, a bowl of fish soup and a dish of stewed meat or steamed meat eaten with fresh vegetables, green banana and mam ro (a kind of fermented fish), tom chua (a kind of fermented shrimps), mam so (a kind of fermented clamps) and fermented bean sprouts,” an away-from-Hue person shared on Facebook as he recalled his “prepared-by-Mom” meals.


Story, photos: DAC DUC