“Down the stream along the south bank there are some French-style buildings so the charming appearance of the Perfume River is compared to the Seine, Paris. In addition to the inherent poeticism, on the river side, there are many local markets in Hue: Dong Ba, Tay Loc developed to serve the trading needs of citizens. Moreover, Hue is not inferior to the bustle of any city in Vietnam since it also has special markets such as To Hien Thanh Bulb Market, Nguyen Dinh Chieu Night Market and Xep Market. Finally, these markets promisingly bring a very different cultural perspective and experience of this capital land.”
I - Dong Ba Market - the oldest market in Hue
1 - Overview of Dong Ba
This market is located on the north bank of Perfume River on Tran Hung Dao Street, between Truong Tien Bridge and Gia Hoi Bridge. The market’s forerunners had many different names such as Quy Gia Thi, Dong Hoa and in 1887 the market was officially named Dong Ba. It is not only a bustling wholesale place, but also a symbol of cultural and spiritual values of the people in the ancient capital.
Address: No. 2 Tran Hung Dao, Phu Hoa, Hue.
Opening time: 3:00 a.m - 8 pm everyday
Dong Ba market (Source: Luu Ly)
2 - Scale
With a history of more than 100 years, the market was built in the early twentieth century with an architectural style combining East and West. It is ancient but not small. By contrast, it has a total area of 47,614 m2. The old bell tower was turned into a clock tower during the French period, consisting of 3 floors and became a historical symbol with a typical architecture. In addition, this destination is surrounded by 9 blocks of houses with 4 new areas such as fish area, service area, etc., with an area of 15,597m2.
3 - Ideal time for visiting this Hue market
While most shops here are open from early morning until late afternoon, food shops are crowded in the afternoon and Hue people are known for their sophistication, therefore, “bargaining” is considered a taboo. Therefore, the golden time to visit the markets is at 3pm. But if you would like to enjoy the authentic cuisine in the morning then a good time to visit Dong Ba market is from 8:00 to 11:00. Cool weather, rich cuisine, and gentle people will bring visitors an unforgettable experience in Hue city.
4 - Discovering the market
Shopping Dong Ba market (Source: Johorkaki)
Due to the architecture and distribution of goods, we recommend that when you visit Dong Ba market, you should start from the third floor to the ground floor, then the surrounding area outside. The market brings a feeling of observation one after another and ends with a paradise of culinary that is hard to ignore.
The 1st floor:The rest of the first floor sells dried seafood and different kinds of Hue fish sauce. Since it has a very characteristic smell, for many diners, fish sauce is quite difficult to enjoy, but if you get on with its taste, it will definitely be unforgettable. Unfortunately, this gift from Hue is difficult to bring on the plane, but do not miss the opportunity to visit the place because when you return home, you will not be able to find such a unique image, as well as pocket a special recipe for local dishes in this Hue market.
The 2nd floor: This booth sells exquisite handicrafts from craft villages in Hue such as Phu Cam hat village, Hien Luong wrought village, Ke Mon jewelry village, Phuoc Tich pottery village. Lost in attractive items at first sight, what should you buy?
- Poet hat: born since a long time ago bearing Hue style because the cone line is soft, ivory-white, and the highlight of the poems shows the ingenuity as well as the mind of the artist.
- Pottery: are the well-made items from Phuoc Tich craft village such as cups and bowls in various colors and patterns.
- Other items: there are also bamboo stalls and famous cast products such as bronze bells, crowns, etc.
The 3rd floor: Displaying and selling fabrics and clothes which are diverse in types and sizes. The shopping place is spacious so you can buy a traditional ao dai for yourself. Combining ao dai with conical hats has partly made visitors more immersed in the cultural lifestyle of the local people.
Hue noodle soup (Source: Uncle#)
Outside is the rest area where you can enjoy Hue cuisine. Special dishes such as Nam Pho bread soup, Van Cu noodle soup, pork spring vermicelli, some more dishes such as filter cake, banh beo, spring rolls, etc. It is ideal to have a cup of tea or a glass of My Loi sugarcane juice as dessert to balance the taste after you have enjoyed spicy dishes. Recommended places in Hue markets in Vietnam:
Nam Pho bread soup Mrs Hang:
Address: Range E of Dong Ba Market, 2 Tran Hung Dao, Hue-City.
Opening hours: 08:00 - 17:00
Price: 10,000 - 20,000 VND ≈ 0.43 - 0.86 USD
Beef noodles Mrs Vui:
Address: Dong Ba market gate
Opening hours: details not available - evening local time
Price: 30,000 - 50,000 VND ≈ 1.29 - 2.16 VND
Kim Chau beef noodles: inside the market and the menu includes a full list of authentic dishes. The price ranges from 15,000 -20,000 VND ≈ 0.65 - 0.86 USD.
With a long history and being located in a favorable area, Dong Ba is a famous tourist attraction, but visitors can still opt for many other markets in this city. Each has its own beauty that cannot be ignored.
II - To Hien Thanh Bulb Market
About 700m from Dong Ba market, passing Gia Hoi bridge, To Hien Thanh Bulb market opens once a week like a fair.
To Hien Thanh Bulb Market (Source: Peter Gonzalez)
Address: 26 To Hien Thanh, Hue City
Opening hours: 4pm -10pm
Called a buld market, but this is just a small gathering place selling cheap or second-hand clothes. The space in this Hue market is decorated with electric bulbs and swings in a young and romantic style. If you need to shop for more items, this is an ideal place with an affordable price range of only 10,000 - 250,000VND ≈ 0.43 - 10.78USD
III - Xep Market
Down Truong Tien bridge to Dong Ba market, turn to Ngo Duc Ke street and go right to Xep market to get some nice things at surprisingly cheap prices.
Xep market (Source: Internet)
Address: Nhat Le, Thuan Thanh, Hue City
Opening hours: Not specified
Shops open from early morning and peak hours welcome guests to shop from 8:00 - 11:00. There are fashionable items of all kinds such as clothes, shoes, hats. At Xep market, a shirt, a hat or a dress just costs less than 100,000 VND (≈ 4.32 USD). In addition, you can enjoy yummy dishes such as fruits, sweet soup, spicy fried snails.
IV - Nguyen Dinh Chieu Hue Night Market
When the sun sets, next to the Perfume River and the romantic Trang Tien Bridge is Nguyen Dinh Chieu pedestrian street on the lights, there is a place that can both bring a romantic space and many exciting activities, which is a night market.
Nguyen Dinh Chieu Hue Night Market (Source: Duli)
Address: Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Phu Hoi, Hue City
Opening hours: 4pm -10pm
Food discovery is an indispensable thing when you come to the market where various dishes are displayed such as mussel rice, skewered meat, vermicelli, banh beo, boiled, banh nam, etc. You should try the hot and crunchy Truong Tien bread with a rich flavor. Coming to Hue is coming to paradise of sweet soup with eye-catching colors of various types such as lotus sweet soup, taro sweet soup, red bean soup, etc. Ancient capital cuisine is a famous brand in Vietnam. If you have come to Hue, do not miss these authentic Hue food.
After dining in this Hue street food market, you can walk around the street, stop by the beautiful scenery to take souvenir photos or you can enjoy Hue singing on the Perfume River for an enjoyable evening.
V - Tay Loc Market
There are many tourists coming to Vietnam due to the cheap travel expense and Hue is a testament to that, especially the busy food court - Tay Loc market. It is located in the northwestern part of Hue imperial city, close to Tay Loc church. It mainly caters to the local people, providing the second largest food supplier after Dong Ba market.
Tay Loc Market (Source: TRT Tube)
Address: 209 Nguyen Trai, Hue city.
Opening hours: 6am - 7pm
The market is bustling every day, similar to other traditional markets in Vietnam. The items for sale are quite diverse such as: food, fabrics, clothes, furniture, etc. Sweet offers from sellers with a unique accent will make visitors feel more curious about the stalls at Tay Loc market.
At the entrance to the main entrance, there is a long-standing stall where you can get a delicious plate of banh bot loc (rice flour dumplings) with an eye-catching cilantro decoration. Going into the market, the stalls of noodles, fish sauce, grilled meat, vermicelli, et., are flooded. Finally, stop at the end of the market to enjoy delicious tofu and sweet soup. Enjoying the full range of flavors at Tay Loc market costs visitors only about 50,000 VND (≈ 2.16 USD) per person. In addition, the parking space here has security cameras so it is very reassuring. Thien Huong sesame is famous specilaty here.
Visiting local markets in Hue Vietnam not only gives visitors the chance to enjoy the culinary or take some things home, but also to experience a unique culture of Hue.