Going to the market is a way of life of almost every Vietnamese, especially Vietnamese women. In Hue, there are hundreds of big and small markets scattered around the town. Almost anything can be found at the market: fresh seafood, fresh pork, fresh beef, vegetables, tofu, different kinds of sauce, souvenirs, tea, etc. In such a small town as Hue, market becomes an important and indispensable part of every family’s life. To have an experience of local people, visitors cannot miss a trip to the markets when they are in Hue. There are five well-known markets in Hue that we recommend visitors to visit: Dong Ba, Ben Ngu, An Cuu, Tay Loc and Phu Hau market.
1. Dong Ba market
Dong Ba market is the most famous market in Hue city and one of the most well-known markets in Vietnam. The market was established hundreds of years ago under the rule of King Gia Long. In 1899, King Thanh Thai moved Dong Ba market to the location where it still is until today. Dong Ba is a big market, having an area of almost 47.614 square meters. Located beside the Perfume river and Tran Hung Dao Street, one of the busiest roads in Hue, the market attracts thousands of customers coming in and out everyday. Dong Ba market is symbol of Hue city.
This is the place where tourists go whenever they visit Hue. There are many shops selling traditional Hue’s food and souvenirs: sesame candy (me xung), Hue royal tea, palm-leaf conical hat (non la), etc. In addition, you can find multiple types of delicious food at the market, for example: Hue’s dumplings (water fern cake: banh beo, tapioca dumpling: banh loc, flat rice dumpling: banh nam, steamed rice sheet: banh uot, sticky rice dumpling on the fried sticky rice pancake: banh ram it), mussel rice (com hen), beef rice vermicelli (bun bo), etc. The authentically delicious taste of these food cannot be found anywhere outside Hue.
Haggling skill is needed when you make any purchase. Some vendors unreasonably boost up the price when they know you are not a local. It is recommended that a local go with you to the market or you check the correct price before paying the money. Of course, this problem occurs everywhere in the world, not only in Hue or Vietnam. Being cautious will guarantee that you a more rewarding experience in Hue.
Location: 2 Tran Hung Dao Street, Phu Hoa, Hue city
2. Ben Ngu market
Located beside the An Cuu river, Ben Ngu market is one of the most popular markets in Hue. Even though not many tourists pay a visit to the market, it is nonetheless a place worth taking a look at to have a better understanding of how local people’s way of life goes.
There are many things that can be found there, ranging from fresh food, flowers, clothes, fruits and even living animals (ducks, chicken,etc), etc. This is where many people who live, study or work in the vicinity make a trip daily to buy food. In case you want to find the freshest food to cook or fruit to eat, Ben Ngu market is arguably the best place. If you can’t stand the smell of fresh meat, bring along with you a mask. Most people from Hue, no matter how well-off or penurious, have no problem with that smell. This is an interesting thing about Hue’s people that makes many tourists stand in awe.
Location: Phan Boi Chau Street, Vinh Ninh, Hue city
3. An Cuu market
The An Cuu market was first established beside An Cuu river, in the village of An Cuu, Huong Tra town during the period of King Minh Mang. Later, many Chinese came here and did business. An Cuu market has always been one of the busiest commercial areas of southern Hue due to its historical development and location. However, because the market was close to the French barracks, the French ordered the market to be moved to the current location. The previous location of the market is now Hue Central Cultural House.
You can find many things here ranging from fresh food to clothes. The market is also close to Big C supermarket and hundreds of different stores and restaurants.
Location: 89 Hung Vuong Street, Hue city
4. Tay Loc market
Tay Loc is a busy market located in the district of Tay Loc, which is on the northern side of Hue. The market appeals to many customers because of its cheap price. There are products put on sale all year round that have a reasonable price. It is one of the most popular flea markets of Hue. The market is usually packed with people at the end of every year. Visitors are recommended to visit Tay Loc market to get a good deal of cheap souvenirs and food.
Location: 209 Nguyen Trai Street, Tay Loc district, Hue city
5. Phu Hau market
Phu Hau market is a wholesale market, where you can find very cheap products to buy. The market was located close to Trang Tien bridge and later moved to Phu Hau district. The market usually starts its day from very early in the morning to distribute goods to different big and small markets in Hue and even the neighbouring province of Quang Tri. Many market vendors come here very early to pick up goods and start their delivery. You can find many things here like seafood, fruits, household appliances and accessories, etc with undoubtedly a fair price.
Location: 45A Nguyen Gia Thieu Street, Phu Hau district, Hue city
These are the best five markets that we recommend you to visit when you are in Hue. There are of course hundreds of other small-scale markets that you might drop by if time permits: Phuong Duc market, Thuan Loc market, etc. Besides, you might also find vendors selling fruits, veggies or even seafood on the street, which isn’t surprising at all to many Hue’s people and Vietnamese. Markets are a significant part of Hue’s people which shapes the city, its culture and its way of life. Next time you visit Hue, don’t forget to drop by at least one of these five markets.