2017 oversaw local establishments take inspiration from contemporary designers on the world’s stage. This is evident with the new entertainment complex Cask and nightclub Factory 075 in the Pham Ngu Lao area. Business owners know that eye-catching architecture and photogenic products are key to success in the social media age. Millennial Hue want to be competing with their peers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. They have the artistic integrity and the city is giving them the space to produce it. Continue reading “OO Cafe: Contemporary Art Cafe Hue”→
Vegetarians and vegans travelling Vietnam may be surprised that the country has a plethora of restaurants to suit all meat-free diets.Twice a month, the population will go to their local meat-free restaurant to gorge on vegetables and tofu. Restaurants on the ‘pancake trail’ serve some really shitty meat-free dishes, fact. After living in Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, Hue has provided me with the variety I desire and a few surprises too. I’m not sure why there are so many vegetarian restaurants in Hue, maybe something to do with the city’s age-old culture and affluence from both the upper and middle classes. A large percentage of street-side restaurants also turn veg every month on the 1st and 15th of the lunar calendar. Look for signs including ‘chay’ (with absolutely no accents on the word) on these days to get a budget fill.
My friend Mitch came to visit me in Central Vietnam recently. We spent three days between Danang, Hoi An and Hue, which I wrote about here.
On our way to Hue, we stopped at Phu Bai town for a nuoc mia (sugarcane juice) and a cigarette. We chose a nuoc mia cart perched besides a crossroads and watched the Highway 1 traffic roar past. It’s very easy to people-watch on street corners and delve into existential thought. The high-level of traffic can keep you entertained for hours.
The best time to see urban Vietnam is through the break of dawn. A friend and I recently agreed on this and shared hot-tips on where in the Hue Citadel we like to watch the city awaken. We aren’t the only people to think this. Small cafes are often full of customers before most foreigners are even awake. They sit facing the roads, drinking coffee to the crescendo of traffic that roars by. Everything is in transit and dawn provides optimism to the day’s grind. Continue reading “Video: the Awakening of the Hue Citadel”→
Vietnam is the second largest producer of coffee in the world. Unlike many other countries, Vietnam’s relationship with the caffeinated beverage has produced a cafe culture that is poetic in simplicity. Even with the introduction of Starbucks to Vietnam, locals have mostly kept to their favored soft-drink spots over the modernity of multinational conglomerates. Coffee is the People’s drink and you’ll rarely find anyone that doesn’t have a cafe to recommend. Coffee shops come in every variation imaginable. Owners can be artistic in their interior design and particular about the atmospheres they create. One of my favorite cafes of recent times is 054 Cafe Hue. Continue reading “054 Cafe Hue: Community, Urban Art and Creativity”→
Mo Rua Garden is not only a garden and a homestay but a delicate response to the yearnings of peacefulness from the young cosmopolitan city dwellers that frequent here.
Mo Rua means ‘where is’; a unique term to central Vietnam since neither northerners nor southerners use it. Lying on the outskirts of Hue, the homestay frequently receives phone calls asking “where is ‘where is’ Garden?”
Despite it’s hard-to-reach location, Mo Rua Garden offers you a different perspective of Vietnamese culture through an authentic rural setting.
Hue is renowned across the country for the distinct foods that originate from the city. Many of them consist of rice and shrimp in and aren’t of much interest to tourists. Step outside of the tourist area and there are a few places where the atmosphere exceeds the importance of the food.