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Tue 04 February 2020
There’s more to Vietnam than the traditional image of rice paddies and conical hats. Here you’ll find a country bursting with energy and forward motion. You’ll feel it in the hum and activity on the streets. You’ll see it in the way Vietnamese welcome you to their homes, invite you to taste their food and proudly show you their rich culture.
Travel around Vietnam and you'll find that tastes and dishes vary from North to South. In the capital, locals may lunch on bun cha with slices of pork belly, while the Saigonese wolf down banh xeo (crispy pancakes) rolled with greens and dipped in sweet-and-sour fish sauce. In the former Imperial City, meaty bun bo Hue is a breakfast favorite, while in Hoi An, you can’t beat a bowl of toothsome cao lau noodles for a quick snack. From simple home cooking to addictive street eats to modern Vietnamese, the delicious diversity of this country’s culinary scene is attracting foodies from all over the world. At the World Travel Awards 2019 Vietnam received its first trophy for 'Asia's Leading Culinary Destination' due to its diverse, flavorful and vibrant cuisine.
The best way to experience Hue’s tremendous food culture is to take to the streets. Vietnam’s former imperial capital fostered an elegant array of dishes that continue to be the pride of its people. As Hue people say, you can get Hue cuisine elsewhere in Vietnam, but it never tastes quite the same as it does here. There’s something about the weather, the greenery and the history all around that makes eating in Hue a pleasure. Light and lovely steamed bites are even more exquisite when enjoyed in Hue's poetic gardens and countryside.
Northern Vietnamese recipes date back hundreds of years. The food here is heavily influenced by age-old traditions and practices. Banh chung, a specialty steamed rice cake prepared on Lunar New Year, comes with its own legend. Inspired by what his land had to offer, a prince created a dish of mung bean and rice wrapped in dong leaves. This dish was so representative of the land that the king rewarded his son with the throne. Vietnamese families still gather every Tet (Lunar New Year) to make banh chưng as a reminder of their roots.