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02/11/2020 - 09:50

Having tea at the railway station

One of the places that my group of friends must go to in Hue every time they come back is Hue Railway Station, not just to have some tea and peanut candy by the light of an antique oil lamp.

I had a group of friends living in the same neighborhood, most of them studied in medical school, I was the only one who majored in literature, and I was the only girl, so I was pampered by all the brothers.

From the easiest to the heaviest jobs such as setting up tables, wardrobes to cooking, they all helped me out. Therefore, I had lots of free time, and all that was for studying and participating in social work. However, medical students were very busy, having to spend not only the morning and evening at the university but also having to do their night shift, leaving them little time to rest. Still, my brothers did not lose the romantic streak of the South Central people.

They were really talented, good at playing guitar and singing also. Being in Hue for a long time, they were gourmets and familiarized with the names of restaurants and familiar addresses that students often visited. And, Hue Railway Station was their place for the gatherings after late night shift.

I knew about the tea stalls at night at Hue Railway Station thanks to these guys. When we got a little closer, they invited us to the station for tea. All Hue girls were quite surprised at the mentioned location.

In our time, our parents set the curfew from 9pm. Wherever you go, whatever you do, you could not go home after that time. However, Hue Railway Station was often crowded from 9pm until dawn, so we never knew what the atmosphere was like.

As our brothers describing another Hue only at the station, we had to beg our parents to go, but with only 30 minutes late.

The first time I went to Hue Railway Station at night, I could not imagine the hustle and bustle there, when most tea stalls were full of people, and most of them were students, in their twenties, and they all talked and laughed merrily.

When the tea and peanut candy were brought out by the shopkeeper, my friends proficiently poured the tea into a small cup, took a sip as if to check the taste and then "chipped" a satisfying loud sound. They also did not forget to tell the shopkeeper to make the teapot lighter so that those who drank tea at night for the first time like us would not be sleepless. However, "the outsider" who had never known coffee or tea like us at that time had a night staying wide awake.

"Even so, it feels so romantic to be sitting under a yellow light, sipping hot tea, eating peanut candy and watching the rain through the train station glass windows," my friend repeated, saying that that was the reason he snuck off to go to the station for a cup of tea.

Tea, peanut candy, oil lamp and now more food for drinks, Hue Railway Station is always bustling at night

Now, even pursuing his career in another city, my friend always chooses the winter to return to Hue, because only Hue can give him the feeling of returning to his youth with a warm cup of tea and old stories.

For me, since that time until later, after graduating, I was freer to stop by the station for tea at night sometimes. It does not mean that I don't like that dreamy space, but because I can't drink strong tea; I'm afraid of losing sleep. Even so, if there were friends visiting, even late at night I would still be willing to have some tea with them at this place.

Recently, on the occasion of the class reunion after 15 years of graduation, Hue Railway Station is also the number one priority in the destinations that former classmates want to visit. Now, in addition to tea, peanut candy, melon seeds, sunflower seeds, kerosene lamp ..., the stall owners here are also very trendy when adding beer, soft drinks and Hue dishes to the menu.

And one of the most beloved by the girls is the beef tendon and onion salad. This dish would go well with a lot of beer, but if you cannot drink beer, it is still very water-consuming because it is very spicy. The owner could get more benefits either ways, so that this dish is always available. Perhaps this is a bonus point making Hue Railway Station always bustling at night, even though there is no shortage of delicious food and beatiful restaurants out there on the street

If you do want to have such beautiful memories, come to Hue and go to the Railway Station for tea. These days, Hue has a "bonus" (accompanied, reward ...) with its specialties: the rain. Hue’s rain feels very nostalgic! I have envisioned someone watching the rain by the yellow light with a pot of warm tea, a sweet candy bar with their loved one! What if you were that "someone"?!

Story and photos: HONG TAM

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