Three weeks in central Vietnam allowed us to taste a wide variety of Vietnamese dishes and to return to our favorite dishes (and again), not to mention more than our fair share of Vietnamese coffee. It also allowed us to communicate with locals and to visit the historic demilitarized zone.
First stop, Hue
We stayed at an Airbnb rental right on the Perfume River during our stay in Hue. How much rain did it rain during our stay? it rained a lot, so much so that during a typhoon, it even rained inside the house.
Despite the overabundance of water, we have always loved Hue for his understated elegance dating back to French colonialism, his bustling public market and his style of imperial cuisine. This city offers an in-depth knowledge of Vietnamese culinary culture as well as Vietnamese history. In addition, it is easy to find some of the best restaurants near me here.
Second stop, Hoi An
We loved the well known tourist Mecca, Hoi An, for its Chinese lantern decor and easy lifestyle. The city is a photographer's dream and instagrammable places are not lacking in Hoi An.
hoi An is a great place to slow down and enjoy the unique aspects of Vietnam. In addition to the range of photos and the many fun activities in Hoi An, the city is full of excellent restaurants, including many cafes serving Western and Vietnamese coffee.
Any stroll through this charming town easily becomes a gourmet excursion to Hoi An due to the plethora of street food vendors selling Vietnamese snacks and other tempting treats. In addition, Hoi An has what is perhaps the best banh mi shop in all of Vietnam. Considering that our camera died in Hoi An, it says a lot about the fact that the city still managed to charm us during our week-long visit.
Finally, Da Nang
And then there is Da Nang. We almost jumped Da Nang, but spent three days there because of the lower price of a ticket to Saigon on a Wednesday compared to a Sunday. Did we enjoy this laid-back seaside town with endless seafood and a vibrant expatriate community? Although Vietnam has its quirks, we felt at home in this wonderful but strange part of Vietnam.
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
For many of our generation, the American War with Vietnam evokes images of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), jungle and rice paddies. Vietnam is not a tiny country and it is a long way (we flew from Da Nang to Saigon) from the South to the Center.
What may do not realize is that much of the war took place in the fields and forests around Hue and surrounding areas. Central Vietnam is home to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the thin strip that once separated North Vietnam from the South.
We climbed the hills to see large pill box facilities overlooking the Perfume River, while avoiding the living mines that still dot rural areas. The United States had a large air base at Da Nang and we saw remnants of the old barracks. Americans watched the Vietnam conflict on television, but travelers from the center of the country can see relics such as the Long Hung Church riddled with bullets and the Highway 9 Cemetery memorial.
Although much of the history of the war has been turbid and many sites, such as the Vinh Moc tunnels, have been recreated over the years, visiting these central areas allows visitors to discover some precious of the history of the world
Like much of Vietnam, coffee is readily available in the center of the country, which makes sense, as Vietnam is the second largest coffee producer in the world, just after Brazil. Like locals, we drank cà phê sữa đá (also called ice cold coffee) morning, noon and night. In central Vietnam, coffee tends to be strong, icy and sweet.
Did we mention that our camera died in the middle of our stay in central Vietnam? This shocking development pushed us into a loop, taught us valuable lessons about backup equipment and the importance of authorized resellers while slowing down our burgeoning video calendar. Instead of crying, we ate ice cream.
But what about food beyond ice cream? After eating our way to Hanoi the previous three weeks, we wondered how to compare food from central Vietnam. In short, the cuisine has compared traditional Vietnamese cuisine and unique coffee. Very good indeed. So we missed it as soon as we headed south to Saigon.
The center of Vietnam is a must stop of any gourmet tour in Vietnam. These are our favorite foods with tips on where to eat the best Vietnamese dishes.
Our first bite in Hue was Banh Beo. It is perhaps for this reason that this local specialty occupies a special place in our hearts. Or perhaps because Banh Beo combines the best flavors of Imperial Hue with the dim sum concept we love.
Instead of a large plate of food, a Banh Beo order involves a dozen tiny plates, each with its own rice pancake topped with crispy chopped shrimp, as well as bowls of tasty dip sauce. Beware: A dozen dishes may seem like a lot of food, but it's really not once you start enjoying tasty treats.
Hang Me Me is located at 412-16 Võ Thị Sáu, Huế, Tỉnh Thừa Thiên-Huế, Vietnam.
We often like to find hidden culinary treasures when we travel and share them here with our readers. Banh Mi Phuong is not one of those finds.
Already made famous by artists like Anthony Bourdain and recommended by our new friends from Halong Bay, John and Charmaine, this popular charcuterie serves what is arguably the best sandwich in banh mi in central Vietnam, or even the whole country. We also enjoyed banh mi sandwiches at Banh Mi Queen, another Hanoi nominee for the best restaurants near me in Vietnam.
Banh Mi Phuong is located at 2B Phan Châu Trinh, tp. Hoi An, Quang Nam, Vietnam.
Banh Mi Queen is located at 115 Trần Cao Vân, Son Phong, Tp. Hoi An, Quang Nam, Vietnam.
We like these "sizzling cakes" that we first ate at Hoi An's central market. Crispy, tasty and stuffed with shrimp and other flavors, these pancakes do not look much like Western's favorite Western breakfast. same name. Hush, do not tell anyone, but we like these pancakes better.
The central market of Hoi An is located in Trần Quý Cáp, tp. Hoi An, Quang Nam, Vietnam.
Although Bun Bo Hue is popular throughout central Vietnam, the city of the same name is the best place to eat this tasty Vietnamese soup. More spicy than pho, a good bowl of Bun Bo Hue contains vermicelli (as opposed to pho noodles), braised beef, herbs and green vegetables. A large bowl will have extras like giblets and gelatinous pork blood, though these special additions are optional for the more shy eaters.
Bun Bo Hue Quan Cam is located at 38 Trần Cao Vân, Phú Hội, tp. Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế, Vietnam.