Young Pioneer Tours

Huế: Imperial City of Vietnam

by Andy Khong

Huế is a city in central Vietnam, located on the banks of the Perfume River. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, as well as its beautiful natural scenery [Huế is pronounced “H’Way”, with an almost silent “H”].

Huế served as the imperial capital of Vietnam during the Nguyễn Dynasty from 1802 to 1945, and as a result, the city is home to many historic sites and landmarks [Nguyễn is pronounced “N’Win”, with an almost silent “N”]. One of the most famous of these is the Huế Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the Imperial City, Forbidden Purple City, and various temples and shrines.


Forbidden Purple City.


Nguyễn Dynasty Mausoleums.

In addition to the Citadel, Huế is also home to many other historic sites and landmarks, including the Thiên Mụ Pagoda, a seven-story Buddhist temple that dates back to the 17th century, and the Tombs of the Emperors, a series of mausoleums built for the Nguyễn Dynasty rulers.


Thiên Mụ Pagoda.

Huế is also known for its beautiful natural scenery, including the Perfume River, which runs through the city and is flanked by lush green hills. Visitors can take a boat ride on the river to enjoy the scenery and visit some of the city’s historic sites.

Huế is also famous for its cuisine, which is known for its bold flavors and use of fresh herbs and spices. Some of the most famous dishes include Bún Bò Huế, a spicy beef noodle soup, and Bánh Khoai, a crispy pancake filled with shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts.

What is Bún Bò Huế?

Bún Bò Huế (pronounced “Boon Bo H’Way”, with an almost silent “H”) is a popular noodle soup that originates from the city of Huế and is known for its spicy and flavourful broth, tender beef slices, and chewy rice noodles.

The broth is made by simmering beef bones, lemongrass, shrimp paste, and other spices and herbs for several hours. The result is a rich and complex broth that is both sweet and savory, with a hint of spiciness.

The soup is typically served with thin slices of beef, pork, or chicken, as well as pork sausage, pig’s feet, and blood cubes. It is also commonly garnished with fresh herbs such as cilantro and mint, as well as sliced onions, lime wedges, and chili sauce.

Bún Bò Huế is often considered one of the spicier noodle soups in Vietnamese cuisine, as it is typically served with a generous amount of chili oil or chili paste. It is a delicious and satisfying dish that is beloved by many in Vietnam and around the world. Its unique blend of flavors and textures make it a must-try dish for anyone visiting Huế or exploring Vietnamese cuisine.


Bún Bò Huế.

What is Bánh Khoai?

Bánh Khoai (pronounced “Barn Khwai”) is a traditional dish that originated in the city of Huế. It is a type of crispy pancake made with rice flour, water, turmeric powder, and sometimes coconut milk. The batter is then poured onto a hot skillet or griddle and cooked until crispy.

The pancake is typically filled with a mixture of shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, and scallions, and is folded in half to form a crescent shape. The filling is often seasoned with fish sauce, sugar, and garlic, and is sautéed briefly before being added to the pancake.

Bánh Khoai is often served with a variety of fresh herbs, including lettuce, mint, and basil, as well as a dipping sauce made from fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, and chili peppers. The dish is typically eaten by wrapping the pancake in lettuce leaves and dipping it in the sauce.

Bánh Khoai is a popular street food in Vietnam and can be found in many markets and food stalls throughout the country. It is known for its crispy texture, savory filling, and fresh, herbaceous flavors. The dish is a popular part of Huế cuisine, and many restaurants in Huế offer their own unique take on the dish.

Bánh Khoai.

Overall, Huế is a beautiful and historic city that offers visitors a unique blend of cultural and natural attractions. It is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Vietnamese history, culture, and cuisine.

Read about the Cao Đài religion:

YPT has a tour going to south-east Asia which includes Vietnam:

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