Signature Dishes from Hue
Straight from the former imperialist capital of Vietnam,
a sample of the unique and varied food of Hue
Hue, a city situated on the Perfume River in central Vietnam, is the former imperial capital of the country and infamous site of North-South clashing during the war. During the imperialist era, the kings and queens demanded innovative and unique dishes every single night which were served small plates style to provide the elite with even more diversity to comprise their meal. The food in Hue today is a mix between hearty comfort foods like the ever-popular Bun Bo Hue (beef noodle soup) and tapas-style bites like Banh Beo (rice cakes with crispy shrimp).
I'm sharing two iconic Hue dishes I learned how to make in a cooking class with the I Love Hue company (run by group of ambitious and hospitable young women, would highly recommend).
Savory fried pancake with peanut sauce- Makes 5
- 2 cups rice flour
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 5 quail eggs
- 5 shrimp
- 5 slices of thinly cut pork
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup spring onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
- Canola oil
- 1/4 cup oyster sauce
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- In a small bowl, combine rice flour, water, and turmeric and mix. Batter should be on the thin side but not too runny.
- Heat pan on medium heat, coat thinly with oil.
- Ladle 1/4 cup batter into the pan and tilt the pan to cover the bottom. Spoon in 4 tbsp oil around the edges of the pancake.
- Reduce to low heat.
- All on the same side, crack the egg and place the shrimp, pork, and vegetables.
- When the pancake looks crispy, about 2 minutes, use a spoon to gently fold the pancake in half. Continue to cook on both sides until golden brown and crispy.
- Remove from the pan and onto a strainer to remove excess oil
- In a small sauce pot, cook down oyster sauce, peanut butter and sugar until thick. Remove from heat and serve alongside Banh Khoai.
Trai Va Salad
Local fig salad with rice crackers- Serves 5
- 5 Vietnamese figs, called Va
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 shallots, minced
- Canola oil
- 1/2 cup small shrimp, uncooked
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 3 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
- 10 rice cakes
- Cut skin off figs and steam until soft. Let cool.
- Cut figs into thin slices and wring with cheesecloth over a bowl to remove excess water. Place figs aside.
- In a pan, combine some oil, the garlic, and shallots and saute until aromatic. Add figs and cook for 3 minutes. Add shrimp.
- Add cilantro and oyster sauce. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add half of the sesame seeds and peanuts. Cook for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
- In a pan over medium heat, fry the rice cakes in 2 inches of oil until lightly browned. Remove from heat and drain excess oil, set aside.
- Arrange rice cakes on a plate, spooning the salad in the center. Top with remaining sesame seeds and peanuts. To eat, spoon the salad onto the rice cakes and enjoy.