Theme Week Vietnam – Hue

Tuesday, 24 March 2020 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  10 minutes

Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Imperial City © Arabsalam/cc-by-3.0

Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Imperial City © Arabsalam/cc-by-3.0

Huế is a city in central Vietnam that was the capital of Đàng Trong Kingdom from 1738 to 1775 and of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945. A major attraction is its vast, 19th-century citadel, surrounded by a moat and thick stone walls. It encompasses the Imperial City, with palaces and shrines; the Forbidden Purple City, once the emperor’s home; and a replica of the Royal Theater. The city was also the battleground for the Battle of Hue, which was one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.

The city is located in central Vietnam on the banks of the Perfume River, just a few miles inland from the East Sea. It is about 700 km (430 mi) south of Hanoi and about 1,100 km (680 mi) north of Ho Chi Minh City. The North and West side borders Huong Tra town; the South borders Huong Thuy town, and the East side borders Phu Vang district and Huong Thuy town. Located on the two banks of the Perfume River or Perfume River downstream, north of Hai Van Pass, 105 km from Danang, 14 km from Thuan An Seaport, 14 km from Phu Bai International Airport and 50 km from Chan May Port. The natural area is 71.68 km², the population in 2012 is estimated at 344,581 people. As of 2018, the city population is 455,230 people (including those who are not registered residents). Located near Truong Son mountain range, Hue city is a plain area in the lower reaches of the Perfume and Bo rivers, with an average altitude of 3–4 m above sea level and often flooded when the river’s headwaters Huong has medium and large rainfall. This plain area is relatively flat, although there are alternating hills and low mountains such as as Ngu Binh mountain and Vong Canh Hill.

The design of the modern-day ao dai, a Vietnamese national costume, evolved from an outfit worn at the court of the Nguyen Lords at Hue in the 18th century. A court historian of the time described the rules of dress as follows:

“Outside court, men and women wear gowns with straight collars and short sleeves. The sleeves are large or small depending on the weather. There are seams on both sides running down from the sleeve, so the gown is not open anywhere. Men may wear a round collar and a short sleeve for more convenience.”
Đại Nam thực lục

This outfit evolved into the áo ngũ thân, a five-paneled aristocratic gown worn in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Inspired by Paris fashions, Nguyen Cat Tuong and other artists associated with Hanoi University redesigned the ngũ thân as a modern dress in the 1920s and 1930s. While the ao dai and non la are generally seen as a symbol of Vietnam as a whole, the combination is seen by Vietnamese as being particularly evocative of Hue. Violet-coloured ao dai are especially common in Hue, the color having a special connection to the city’s heritage as a former capital.

Citadel of Hue - Lone Pagoda © flickr.com - Trevor Mills/cc-by-2.0 Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Imperial City © Arabsalam/cc-by-3.0 Hue skyline with citadel from Perfume River © CEphoto, Uwe Aranas/cc-by-sa-3.0 Bun Bo Hue, a typical noodle dish © flickr.com - SauceSupreme/cc-by-2.0 Minh Mạng tomb © flickr.com - Tim Hill/cc-by-sa-2.0 Thien Mu Temple and Pagoda © CEphoto, Uwe Aranas/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Hue skyline with citadel from Perfume River © CEphoto, Uwe Aranas/cc-by-sa-3.0
The cuisine of Hue forms the heart of Central Vietnamese cuisine, but one of the most striking differences is the prominence of vegetarianism in the city. Several all-vegetarian restaurants are scattered in various corners of the city to serve the locals who have a strong tradition of eating a vegetarian meal twice a month, as part of their Buddhist beliefs. Another feature of Hue dishes that sets them apart from other regional cuisines in Vietnam is the relatively small serving size with refined presentation, a vestige of its royal cuisine. Hue cuisine is notable for often being very spicy. Hue cuisine has both luxurious and popular rustic dishes. With such a rich history, Hue’s royal cuisine combines both taste and aesthetics. It consists of several distinctive dishes from small and delicate creations, originally made to please the appetites of Nguyen feudal lords, emperors, and their hundreds of concubines and wives. Besides Bun Bo Hue, other famous dishes includes:

  • Bánh bèo is a Vietnamese dish that originally comes from Hue City, Central Vietnam. It is made from a combination of rice flour and tapioca flour. The ingredients include rice cakes, marinated-dried shrimps and crispy pork skin, scallion oil and dipping source. It can be considered as street food, and can eat as lunch or dinner.
  • Cơm hến (Baby basket clams rice) is a Vietnamese dish originating in Huế. It is made with baby mussels or basket clams and rice; it is normally served at room temperature.
  • Bánh ướt thịt nướng (Steamed rice pancake with grilled pork) is the most well-known dish of people of Kim Long- Huế. The ingredients include steamed rice pancake, vegetables – Vietnamese mint herb, basil leaves, lettuce, cucumber and cinnamon leaves, pork and is served with dipping sauce.
  • Bánh khoái (Hue shrimp and vegetable pancake)is the modified form of Bánh xèo. It is deep fried and served with Hue peanut dipping sauce containing pork liver. Its ingredients include egg, liver, prawns and pork belly or pork sausage, and carrot. It is served with lettuce, fresh mint, Vietnamese mint, star fruit, and perilla leaves.
  • Bánh bột lọc (Vietnamese clear shrimp and pork dumplings) can be wrapped with or without banana leaf. It is believed to originate from Hue, Vietnam during Nguyen Dynasty. Main ingredients include tapioca flour, shrimps and pork belly; it is often served with sweet chili fish sauce.
  • Banh it ram (fried sticky rice dumpling) is a specialty in Central Vietnam. It is the combination of fried sticky rice dumplings which is sticky, soft and chewy, and crispy stick rice cake at the bottom.

Additionally, Hue is also famous for it delicious sweet desserts such as Lotus seeds sweet soups, Lotus seed wrapped in logan sweet soup, Areca flower sweet soup, Grilled pork wrapped in cassava flour sweet soup, and Green sticky rice sweet soup.

Hue is well known for its historic monuments, which have earned it a place in UNESCO‘s World Heritage Sites. The seat of the Nguyen emperors was the Imperial City, which occupies a large, walled area on the north side of the Perfume River. Inside the citadel was a forbidden city where only the emperors, concubines, and those close enough to them were granted access; the punishment for trespassing was death. Today, little of the forbidden city remains, though reconstruction efforts are in progress to maintain it as a historic tourist attraction. Roughly along the Perfume River from Hue lie myriad other monuments, including the tombs of several emperors, including Minh Mang, Khai Dinh, and Tu Duc. Also notable is the Thien Mu Pagoda, the largest pagoda in Hue and the official symbol of the city. A number of French-style buildings lie along the south bank of the Perfume River. Among them are Hue High School for the Gifted, the oldest high school in Vietnam, and Hai Ba Trung High School. The Huế Museum of Royal Fine Arts on 3 Le Truc Street also maintains a collection of various artifacts from the city. In addition to the various touristic attractions in Hue itself, the city also offers day-trips to the Demilitarized Zone lying approximately 70 km (43 mi) north, showing various war settings like The Rockpile, Khe Sanh Combat Base or the Vinh Moc tunnels. Most of the hotels, bars, and restaurants for tourists in Hue are located in Pham Ngu Lao, Chu Van An and Vo Thi Sau street, which together form the backpacker district.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on vietnam.travel – Hue, LonelyPlanet.com – Hue, Wikitravel Hue, Wikivoyage Hue and Wikipedia Hue. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.








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