Hue has some of the best food in all Vietnam. As Imperial Capital and home to the ruling dynasty for 150 years, quality of food has resonated into the everyday meals of the people here. Unique to the town are the steamed rice cakes – many wrapped in banana leaf parcel which is peeled apart to eat and served with a spicy fish sauce.
Here are some of the few I tasted:
Banh Nam – a steamed rice flour and rice cake, topped with a chopped shrimp meat stew. One of the best, with a light texture and a rich flavour from the shrimp sauce on top.
Banh bot loc – A strange jellied texture from tapioca starch coats a piece of crispy pork belly and an unpeeled shrimp. One of the weirder ones, but still good- once you get used to the sticky jelly and the crunch of the shrimps shell.
Banh Beo – or “water fern cake”. My favourite, steamed rice flour dough in little soy dishes, topped with a kind of shrimp floss and piece of pork crackling. Simply add some spicy fish sauce and loosen with a spoon – then pop the whole thing in your mouth. mmmm.
Banh? – I actually didn’t find the name of this one, but basically its another variation on the theme. A crispy piece of pork crackling is topped with a shrimp, then a really sticky rice noodle dough, and finally some more chopped shrimp. My least favourite,they got stuck in my teeth, but still tasty.
Banh Khoai – these are simple steamed fermented pork cakes. They have a slightly sour favour and are found on tables at almost all the Pho/bun places around the city – They’re common for a reason!