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16/03/2018 - 08:14

Golden opportunity for Hue cuisine

I have had the opportunity to visit many places and enjoy a variety of cuisine. What I appreciate is the richness and the unique variety of the Hue cuisine.

Different types of Hue dishes. Photo: Minh Hien

Since 2014, each Hue Festival has been accompanied by an international gastronomy festival. On these occasions, many people were very impressed when they got first-hand experience at trying the dishes that they had only heard about or seen on screen. There was also a sense of pride when Hue had the chance to showcase its flavors among dishes from other areas in the country as well as from abroad. I was a frequent visitor. I enjoyed the tranquil space along the Huong River in the afternoon rays…

In one particular festival, the Organizing Committee held a contest and the third prize went to a dish called “Sen hóa Rồng” (Lotus into Dragon) of Tinh Gia Vien Restaurant. It was considered a true Hue dish. Though other dishes received higher prizes, they did not contain as much Hue richness and flavors.  The “Lotus into Dragon” dish of culinary artist Ton Nu Ha attracted guests not only by its delicious taste, but also by the extremely beautiful and creative garnishing which radiated an air of royalty. It was not only for eating but also for admiring, in true Hue style.

I have had the opportunity to visit many places and enjoy a variety of cuisine. What I appreciate is the richness and the unique variety of the Hue cuisine. Vietnam has about 1,700 dishes, among which, Hue boasts up to 1,300 dishes. In the middle of the 20th century, Professor Hoang Thi Kim Cuc introduced 600 Hue dishes. Especially, there were 60 complete menus for four seasons in Hue: spring – summer – autumn – winter. At the 2005 Hue Spring Fair, a workshop on Hue cuisine was organized. The workshop showed that Hue delicacies were a harmonious combination of ancient Cham, ancient Vietnamese, and ancient Muong delicacies, as well as with traditional delicacies of Hue and many delicious dishes all over the country, all of which were brought to Phu Xuan - Hue as offerings to the King.

Vietnam has ten Vietnamese dishes which have been recognized and celebrated by prestigious press agencies such as CNN, National Geographic, etc. Among them is Bun bo Hue (Hue beef noodles). Anthony Bourdain, a famous American chef, exclaimed: "Bun bo Hue is the best soup in the world" when he had the chance to taste beef noodles in Dong Ba market. This is an honor for Hue cuisine. However, Hue also has many other delicious dishes which have not been properly recognized. They include tré, nem lụi, different kinds of cakes, etc. Hue Tré (spicy fermented shredded meat) is delicious, and nem lụi (lemongrass pork skewers) has long been considered a specialty of this ancient capital that captures and delights tourists from far and near.

After winning the Runner-Up Prize of Miss Ocean Global Beauty Pageant, Le Thi Ha Thu, a Hue local, moved to Saigon for her career. Along with the continued resonance of her success on the catwalk, Ha Thu has opened Hue Plus restaurant with a variety of dishes ranging from snacks to full course meals, with dishes such as Hue beef noodles, mussel rice, mussel congee, nem chả (fermented/steamed sausage), etc. Ha Thu’s wish is to promote the special characteristics of Hue cuisine to the people of Saigon. I really appreciate what Ha Thu is doing, and I know that many other Hue people have been promoting Hue cuisine like Ha Thu.

Coming back to Hue Festival, there will be an international gastronomy festival with the theme "The Essence of Hue Cuisine" at the end of April. Continuing the success of the two previous festivals, this third gastronomy festival honors and showcases the unique and elite culinary culture typical of the regions of Vietnam, especially of Hue, to domestic and international visitors. Hue cuisine is in dire need of promotion, and this is considered a golden opportunity

By Dan Duy

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