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Top 5 dishes in Hue

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					Top 5 dishes in Hue
Com hen Song Huong
                                             “Com Hen Song Huong” is a dish served at room
                                             temperature, made with mussels and leftover rice. It is
                                             a complicated recipe that includes sweet, buttery,
                                             salty, sour, bitter and spicy flavors.


                                             Com Hen Song Huong (or Com hen in short) is the
                                             very simple and low-priced specialty of Hue, the
                                             ancient citadel of Vietnam. Accordingly, the way of
serving this special kind of food is of great ancience, simplicity and deliciousness.


Com Hen has a sweet-smelling flavor of rice, onion, and grease, as well as strange tastes of
sweet, buttery, salty, sour, bitter, and peppery-hot. You have to arrive to Hen river-islet in the
Perfume River to have the original Com hen. However, you can find out the dish on some streets
in Hue City. It requires 15 different raw materials to prepare for the dish, including mussel, fried
grease, watery grease, peanuts, white sesames, dry pancake, salted shredded meat, chili sauce,
banana flower, banana trunk, sour parabola, spice vegetables, peppermint, salad, etc.


Com hen is always attractive to many customers since it is tasty and, at the same time,
economical to anybody.


What makes this simple kind of food popular is revealed in the great endeavor to adopt and
process its main ingredient – mussel. Mussels are sea species, which must be dipped in water for
a long while before being processed. Accordingly, people often say that com hen somehow
expresses the strenuous work of the maker.


Where to find it? Very easy as it is popular everywhere in Hue and these days, elsewhere in Hue
restaurants in Vietnam. More favorably, it is a low-priced specially, thus you could eat it in
luxurious restaurants in Hue or even in venturing mobile shops on the streets.
“Visiting Hue could not miss Com hen, or else you have not come to Hue ever!” is the most
common remark of visitors elsewhere to Hue. So, please come and enjoy it yourself!


Bun Bo Hue
If you're familiar with phở, bún bò Huế is another beef rice noodle soup. The beef soup dish
originated in the city of Huế, the old imperial capital of Vietnam. Like traditional phở bò, the
broth of bún bò Huế is simmered with beef bones and Asian spices such as ginger, but the
similarities pretty much end there. The real difference is that the broth is finished with
lemongrass and red chilies.


I made a very basic soup with thinly sliced beef shanks, but some people are more adventurous
and add pig knuckles, congealed pig blood called huyết (which I do not like), and serve shrimp
paste on the side as a condiment. I garnished the soup
with the commonly used bean sprouts, lime wedges,
cilantro and raw sliced white onions, thinly sliced
purple cabbage and shredded iceberg lettuce. Purple
cabbage makes sense because it most closely
resembles the texture of banana flowers, which are
traditionally included in bún bò Huế. The taste is
obviously different though.


Once the dish is prepared, everyone should roll up their sleeves and commence slurping down
the bowl of beef broth in front of them. This is not a subtle dish; your taste buds will be
bombarded with sweet, savory and spicy flavors. My mouth waters just thinking about it!


Banh Beo
Banh beo, oh how we love to slurp up your delicate rice cakes topped with minced shrimp and
crispy pork rind bathed in a spicy nuoc mam cham…We smile with satisfaction as we pile empty
banh beo bowls upon bowls, one on top of another, ten high on the table. One of our absolute
favorite appetizers, banh beo originates from the central regions of Vietnam and Hue and can be
served in variety of ways including in a “chen,” a small condiment size bowl or loose, stacked on
a “dia,” or plate. There is even a variation where it’s served in a larger rice bowl, yielding a
                                           much larger rice cake with a big dimple in the center
                                           for the toppings. Also, in the mien bac (Northern
                                           Vietnam), mung bean paste is also swiped onto the
                                           cake before the other toppings.


                                           For convenience, we just use the pre-packaged banh
                                           beo rice flour. But if you were to make it without any
alterations you’ll find that it doesn’t have the right texture–rice flour by itself is rather soft and
can be mushy. You need to add some tapioca flour/starch to this mix in order to get the right soft,
yet slightly chewy consistency.


To make a large quantity, there are modes such as these that you can buy in the Vietnamese
markets for about $2. However these are fairly large so make sure you have a big enough
steamer and several of these trays so you can steam multiple trays at once. We have a 4
chambered steamer so we use multiple modes at once. If you’re making less just halve the
quantites below and pour them in the small condiment bowls–but you’ll need a lot so buy them
at the Asian restaurant supply store if you can.
If you’re using the small condiment bowls, the same concepts apply except that you don’t need
to grease these since it’s a onetime use. We prefer a thin banh beo so we typically go light on the
batter, but use as much batter as you like according to your taste.


When ready to serve, top each banh beo with minced shrimp, scallion oil, and small pieces of
pork rinds. Serve with some spicy nuoc mam cham. The banh beo (with out the toppings) can
stay soft overnight un-refrigerated so you can make this in advance. Any longer than that then
we recommend refrigerating it and then warming in microwave.
banh beo


Banh Khoai
Banh khoai (delicious pancake) is so much like Banh xeo (sizzling pancake) since they both are
made from rice flour, water, turmeric powder, added slivers of fatty pork, shrimp, bean sprouts
and then pan fried. Banh khoai and Banh xeo also are
wrapped in mustard leaf, lettuce leaves or rice paper,
and stuffed with variety of herb, like mint leaves, basil
and served with a sweet and sour mixed sauce. In Hue,
Banh khoai is placed open-face instead of being folded
in half like Banh xeo. Moreover, Banh khoai always
goes with a fermented soy bean sauce, and people
consider it a winter food owing to its greasiness and
spicy taste of the sauce. Therefore, most Hue citizens only make them when winter coming.


Mam tom chua
The central of Vietnam is reputable for its Mam tom chua (sour shrimp sauce) and Hue is the
                                           best place for this unique sauce. Unlike normal shrimp
                                           sauce (has brown color and smooth surface), Sour
                                           shrimp sauce has orange color while shrimps still keep
                                           its original shape. It is quite simple to make this sauce.
                                           First, shrimps are clean by salt water (do not use
                                           normal water to avoid bad smells) and "cook" by strong
                                           rice wine. The shrimps will turn red. After that,
                                           carefully mix the shrimps with sticky rice, sliced lesser
galangal, garlic and chili. Slowly put all the mixture into a jar covered by guava leaves. Just need
to wait for 5-7 days and we have the mouthwatering sour shrimp sauce of our own making. This
is the best sauce for boiled pork with vermicelli.


This article written by Lanh Nguyen from Vietnam Heritage Travel
For original article, please visit:
http://vietnamheritagetravel.com/news/1365-top-5-dishes-in-hue.html
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