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A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

By Kelvin Long, Huynh Phuong   September 11, 2022 | 02:00 am PT
Known as Hue’s largest and oldest market, Dong Ba attracts globetrotting foodies with its night market, home to signature delicacies sold at extremely cheap prices.
A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

Dong Ba Market on Tran Hung Dao Street in Phu Hoa Ward, along the northern bank of the Huong (Perfume) River, around 100 meters from Truong Tien Bridge, is more than 120 years old and has long been a tourist icon of Hue.

From downtown hotels, you can hire a cyclo for VND150,000 ($6.38) to explore many of Hue’s tourist attractions including Dong Ba night market, open from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m., and offering the busiest nightlife in town.

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

In addition to selling handicrafts, souvenirs, fruit and other specialties, the night market has a private space for street food with dozens of stalls and restaurants serving signature dishes like che (sweet soup), bun bo Hue (Hue-style beef noodle soup), banh beo (steamed rice cake) and com hen (rice dish featuring rural ingredients like baby mussels and fresh herbs).

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

A group of visitors stroll around the food hub at Dong Ba night market.

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

Sweet soup used to be an indispensable dessert for kings and royal families during the reign of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1954) and is now a popular street food in Hue.

Sweet soup stalls mainly serve che hat sen (lotus seed), che nhan boc hat sen (longan stuffed with lotus seed), che khoai mon (taro sweet soup), and che bot loc heo quay made with small pieces of roasted pork with crispy skin wrapped in a layer of filter powder served with sugar water and ginger.

A bowl of sweet soup here costs only VND10,000 ($0.42)

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

Bun bo Hue at Ms. Vui’s stall costs from VND20,000-30,000 a bowl.

Bun bo Hue is a specialty of Hue, where it was invented. The broth requires both pig and beef bones to be boiled with a generous dose of lemongrass, sugar, annatto, and shrimp paste. Vendors then add various ingredients like sliced brisket, crab balls and pork pie.

Adventurous eaters can also add cubed pig's blood pudding for even more flavor. When served, the dish is garnished with a tangle of vegetables like lime, scallions, cilantro, banana blossoms, mint, basil, and Vietnamese coriander.

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

Only a portion of beef noodle soup at Ms.Vui's stall, one of the most popular addresses to try this dish in Hue, is left.

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

Street grilled skewers are also part of Hue street food at Dong Ba night market.

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

Snail dishes sauteed with lemongrass and chili are also worth a try with prices ranging from VND10,000-20,000 per serving.

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

Nem lui (Hue grilled pork skewer on bamboo sticks) is a signature dish in Hue.

The dish is made of ground pork grilled on a lemongrass skewer or bamboo stick. Other ingredients often include black pepper, pork skin, garlic, shallots, and fish sauce. The meat combination is rolled into a sausage shape around a bamboo stick, then brushed with oil and grilled on a coal stove until slightly charred.

Nem lui is always served with rice paper, vegetables and fresh herbs accompanied by a sweet and sour peanut-sesame sauce.

A night food tour of Hue’s largest market

A stall serves gilled skewers.

"If you are a first-time visitor to enjoy Hue cuisine here, you should tell the seller to make it less spicy because most Hue people are used to eating spicy food," said Long, a tourist.

 
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