| A night porridge spot at Ben Ngu market
Tuan, an old classmate from Nha Trang, had a business trip to Hue this time and had the opportunity to visit me. The train arrived at Hue station just after 11 p.m. When he got off the train, he complained, "My stomach is rumbling. It would be great to have a bowl of hot porridge to eat at this hour". Following the suggestion, I drove my friend through Tran Thuc Nhan Street to Ben Ngu market, where there were delicious night eateries.
We pulled up chairs and ordered two bowls of chicken porridge. After more than three minutes, two hot bowls of shredded chicken porridge were brought out to us by the shop owner. The aroma of porridge mixed with delicious chewy chicken meat made us eat the entire dish without even realizing it.
It was difficult to resist the deliciousness of a hot bowl of shredded chicken porridge, and to satisfy his stomach, my friend quickly called the shop owner for another bowl... and asked the shop owner where she had bought the chicken meat that was so delicious, chewy and savory! The shop owner smiled gently and replied: the chickens were raised by her husband at home according to the natural method, fed with rice grain and left-over rice, not with industrial flour, so the meat is chewy and delicious.
It's not just the cleaning ladies or the drivers who need something to eat in the middle of the night. Looking around, we see not only us Vietnamese but also a number of foreign tourists sitting around plastic tables, with bowls of steaming porridge, blowing and eating with glee.
Ben Ngu night chicken porridge has its own distinct flavor, which is not only excellent due to the sweetness of the chicken, but also fragrant and appealing due to the accompanying spices. There are also sticky rice with chicken and vermicelli; all meals are exquisite, with the subtle aroma of green onions and laksa leaves, as well as the hot taste of sim chilies and black pepper...
People eat out at night as a habit, but it can also be to meet friends, unwind after a long day at work, or to join family and relatives. Everyone has their own motives, which is why the night spots are usually busy and everyone is chatting. My friend commented, "Hue is so different now. Don't Hue folks have a habit of going to bed early?” I simply laugh. That was, as you said, the Hue of the past, the old Hue. Hue now stays up very late, not as noisy as the hustle and bustle of daily life, but gentle, profound, vibrant in a unique way that cannot be found anywhere else.
For young people, eating porridge at night is always the top choice for the menu after evenings gathering with friends. Not only is it a nutritious, easy-to-digest dish, it also has the effect of relieving colds; as we could not know when the eating porridge at night has become a hobby of many people.
When visiting Hue, in addition to the old cultural grandeur of the mausoleum and palace relic complex, the sidewalk cuisine and street food at night have contributed to introducing a different taste; warm, and appealing to travelers.
A bowl of chicken porridge with a delicious, spicy, and warm taste made my friend exclaim: “go and enjoy many late-night dishes all over the country, but when enjoying the delicious chicken porridge prepared by the refined hands of Hue people, the flavor is so distinct that it makes me reluctant to leave this beautiful land, the land that knows how to satisfy diners' stomachs”.
I believe that, once you come to Hue, like my friend, you will also be fascinated by these night porridge dishes and remember them forever, and hope to have the opportunity to return to Hue to enjoy them.