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01/08/2017 - 15:25

Lao cuisine in Hue

Several years now, there has been many traditional restaurants from the country of million elephants in the land of “Huong river, Ngu mountain”. Among these ones is Savannakhet restaurant at 227 Phan Boi Chau street (Hue city). Though the restaurant was opened less than a year ago, it has attracted a large number of customers.

Ingredients of the grilled hotpot

Choosing Hue after 8 years in Laos

The owner of the restaurant is Mrs. Dang Thi Phuc about 30 years old, from Lao Bao (Quang Tri province). More than 10 years ago, Phuc was a student at Hue University of Sciences. After graduation, she followed the call of love of a countryman and went to Laos with him.

On the first days, the young couple stayed in Champasack province and did whatever they were hired to do. Then, they were supported by their fellow countrymen to settle in Seno, Savannakhet province. In the new land, the husband worked in a timber workshop. Thanks to his honesty, the workshop’s owner was fond of him and provided him with the stable job.

About the wife, besides the housework, she worked in restaurants in the area when she was free. As time passed by, Phuc knew clearly how to cook from popular to high-end Lao dishes. Later, she and her friend opened a restaurant in the town of Seno. Phuc said that Lao cuisine was a part of Lao culture, very lively and very rich. Therefore, if restaurants want to have a good business, they need not only to have a skillful manner of cooking, but also a good manner of behavior and service. These were Phuc’s living motto and business experience while she worked in Seno, and were loved by many people and customers there.

It has been a difficult process for Phuc to create the brand of Savannakhet restaurant in Hue as it is today. After more than 8 years living in Laos, in early 2016, she discussed with her husband to go back and choose Hue to open the Lao food restaurant. According to Phuc, Hue is the place where she had a lot of memories of her college time and Lao cuisine can integrate and attract tourists. Her decision sometimes caused her to come into conflicts with her husband.

Not very long after she had come back to Hue, she borrowed money from her siblings and friends to rent the place and open the restaurant named Savannakhet on Phan Chu Trinh street. At first, she had been worried how a Lao food restaurant in Hue could compete and attract Vietnamese customers in the center of Hue Imperial, which was so  famous for traditional food. Lao cuisine is characterized by grilled dishes, which are not common in Vietnamese cuisine. With Phuc’s ingenuity and creativity in the processing of Lao cuisine, the Savannakhet restaurant was really busy. In November 2016, the Savannakhet restaurant moved to the new address at 227 Phan Boi Chau street of Hue city, as the old one no longer had enough room for the larger number of customers.

Converging the quintessence of dishes

The current Savannakhet restaurant is spacious, with more than 20 tables always occupied in the afternoon and evening. Coming to the restaurant, customers not only have the chance to explore the decorations typical of Lao culture, but also comfortably enjoy more than 20 Lao dishes, which are both delicious and inexpensive in the melody of Lao national folk music Lamvong.

In the Savannakhet menu, the grilled hotpot is the most unique dish at the price of VND 140,000/hotpot for 4 persons. Besides, there are roasted chicken skewers, laap (made from grilled beef, then chopped and mixed well with lemongrass, onion...), grilled eggs, grilled pork chitterlings, grilled beef, dried beef,... All of them are served with Lao sticky rice. An impressive dish that should not be missed at the Savanakhet restaurant is som tam (mixed salad) with only VND 25,000/plate made from green papaya, mango. Those who eat this dish for the first time will found it bitter, spicy; but they surely want to eat more later...

Most of the ingredients in the Savannakhet restaurant has been taken from Laos by Phuc’s husband, so that they are full of "forest nature". Along with the attitude of hospitality, enthusiasm as the character of the country of Champa flower, the Savannakhet restaurant is the destination for all ages now.

Phuc shared that Hue had a lot of Lao restaurants; this was a joy and happiness when Lao cuisine gained a position in the ancient capital of Hue. Since the opening of the restaurant, customers were not only young people, students of Laos and Vietnam, but also a large number of international tourists. Many visitors came and made the joke that "the Savannakhet restaurant is the convergence of Lao culture," as they could enjoy the traditional food of Laos, as well as exchange and learn Lao culture when they come here...

By Minh Van

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