Chuon market is only about 15 minutes by motorbike from Hue. Early in the morning, you can start your journey at around 6:30 a.m., if you want to have enough time for both breakfast and coffee.
From Pham Van Dong Street (Hue City) on the National Highway 49, you can go straight to the traffic light at the intersection and turn into Phu My Commune, where Phu My Thuong Urban Area is located; then keep going for a few hundred meters, there is a detour road, then going straight, and there you come to the market. It might be even easier for you when choosing the Thuy Duong - Thuan An road. Right at the intersection between the asphalt and concrete roads, there is also that Phu My section, keep going straight for more than 5-7 minutes, and you will get to the market.
If you travel by car, there is a very large vacant lot next to the road to the market, where you can park your car without any fees, and it is also safe. The locals here are very gentle and hospitable. They (who are nearby) can look after your car and are very enthusiastic to show the way if you want to “check-in” the dike at the back of the market.
Eating pancakes with kình fish, dìa fish, or shrimp... at Chuon market has its own interesting feeling
My friends took care of their hungry stomachs first, so they had to prioritize eating. The food stall, which we chose, was the first one at the market gate. The seller was very open and cheerful. It seems like she has been serving many visitors, so that the way she makes the pancakes, chats, and makes fish sauce is also very professional.
Recently, people rarely pick the fish at the market for their pancakes, so she buys them in advance. We still choose kình fish. When we get bored with it, we turn to dìa fish, squid, and shrimp. Any type must be tried.
The special thing about the pancakes food stalls at Chuon market is that diners can buy any kind of fish and shrimp, then asking the sellers to make the pancakes for them. A cake, including ingredients such as flour, mung bean sprouts, raw vegetables, and fish sauce, etc., costs only from VND 2,000-3,000. Previously, the sellers only made the pancakes, customers had to buy the fish and shrimp on their own.
My group prefers to be fast and convenient, so we only eat what is available. However, everyone had to have 3 to 4 pancakes. When it was sunny, we had a glass of cold sugar cane juice. When it rained, the hot teapot was a good choice. It was also very interesting when eating and chatting in the bustling and funny sounds of the market.
If we got tired of pancakes, there was a food stall selling cháo lòng (pig's tripe soup), which was also very tasty. The rice is cooked well and soft. Delicious pig's tripe is cut into bite-sized pieces, added some green onions, pepper, and a spoonful of fish sauce with green chili slices. It is also a great choice that you should try if you go to Chuon market.
About two stalls away, on the opposite side, there is a lady selling bún lòng xào nghệ (turmeric rice noodle with pig's tripe), which is also so delicious. Turmeric is pounded moderately by hand, the yellow color of fresh turmeric blends with rice noodle, next to the steaming coal pot; and on the top layer, pig's tripe is well stir fried, served with laksa leaves and red pepper slices, adding flavor to the dish.
This dish should be eaten a bit spicy, a bit hot, and with a few green chili slices, and a lot of fresh turmeric, which will not only stimulate the taste but also relieve colds and coughs. Being there for several times, if I was too full of pancakes and pig's tripe soup, I would have to take away two bowls of turmeric rice noodle for my brunch. Whenever I got there late, the turmeric rice noodle seller waved her hands and shook her head to signal that the food had been sold out, I might consider that I was "unsuccessful" at that time.
After eating, we have some drinks and chatting. If we have enough time, we will go into the market. Either way, we could bring home favorite things from the village.
Once, I brought home dozens of chicken eggs, some fresh dìa fish, a bundle of jumping crawfish, and a gourd that was still freshly green. My friends also carried fish, shrimp, and vegetables; sometimes they were enough for more than a week.
When there was more time and the weather was nice, the whole group walked leisurely towards the dike at the back of the market. This place is nice to pose for photos; moreover, it will be more romantic to sit down relaxing, enjoy the scenery, and breathe in the fresh air.
Therefore, even if it is rainy and windy, sunny, or cloudy, you can still choose to go to Chuon market for your weekend. In this place, you are able to "eat the whole world, and buy the whole universe"...
Story and photos: HONG TAM