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10 December 2018

Tasty day

Banh mi stand

Banh mi stand

7 December 2018

Today we genuinely took it easy. For breakfast we spurned our hotel and walked out to a street vendor for banh mi stuffed with pork and pate and egg and veggies, and her neighbouring vendor for iced Vietnamese coffee. The hotel staff were a little put out (and perhaps confused) that we would miss out on a delicious and free hotel breakfast for a quick baguette bought on the street, so we indulged in a second coffee and some fruit.

Hue has a famous market, the Dong Ba market. Reading about it in blogs and on TripAdvisor is fun. Phrases like “filthy”, “horrible smell”, “endless hassle”, “beware”, “rats” (literal and figurative) and “hard sell” keep appearing. I can’t tell whether it truly is an awful market, or whether these are just tourists with no familiarity with the chaotic rawness of oriental food markets.

Banh canh cua lady

Banh canh cua lady

Anyway, one blog mentioned another market called Ben Ngu that’s on the other side of town and, while smaller, also undiscovered by mass tourism (Dong Ba market has coach parking!) so we walked there instead. On the way we stopped off for Banh Canh Cua, a local crab soup made with thick noodles that was a bowl of absolute heaven. Maybe my favourite thing in Vietnam so far?

The market was as colourful and full of bizarre fruits and strange offal and seafood as you could want. Generally the stallholders ignore us entirely, except for the fruit sellers who point at their bananas and hail us hopefully. Apparently tourists visiting markets occasionally buy some token bananas! : )

Hue pizza - banh trang trung

Hue pizza – banh trang trung

Shortly after this it rained on us, so we hid in the hotel and only went out again in the afternoon to visit the Phu Cat district where the Chinese community used to live. There are a couple of evocative assembly halls here (part temple, part community centre, part accommodation) and they’re not really on the tourist trail either. One was a bit of a building site, but the chap heating up bits of bamboo with a blowtorch waved us in for a look around.

We also stopped on Nguyen Du street here for a bit of more modern street food, a thing called Banh Trang Trung that’s basically a crispy rice paper pizza topped with bits and pieces and drizzled with chilli sauce and mayo. It’s filthy delicious, I could have eaten ten.

Generally a very tasty day.

Banh canh cua - crab noodle soup

Banh canh cua – crab noodle soup


One Response to “Tasty day”

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