On our first night in Hue (say “whay”), we dismissed the cyclos and instead walked towards Pham Ngu Lao. From the corner of this walking street, we instantly liked the vibe. Maybe touristy, even hipster, but we absolutely liked it here that we just had to head back on our second night. Both nights, FIFA games were playing and the expat and local crowds were in their elements watching from the several sports bars in the area. Every now and then, you hear shouts and applause from the cheering crowd.
It was easy to spot Golden Rice Restaurant along this busy, crowded street. Like most shops and stalls here, the frontage is narrow and the interiors deep. The service staff are friendly, but not pushy. We haven’t gotten over our spring rolls fix so we immediately ordered 2 of that. Minutes later, a 3rd order. 🙄 We likewise tried the Nem Lui - those kebab-like barbecued meats skewered beautifully in lemon grass stalks. Served with rice paper, lettuce, cucumbers, vermicelli and the ubiquitous mint and other herbs, we rolled our Nem Lui as if we do it everyday and dipped them in a tasty blend of shrimp paste, chillies, shallots, ground peanuts, sesame seeds, and fermented beans. Yum!
For our green leafy veggies, we ordered Morning Glory. Like our kangkong. Cooked in garlic, its simplicity was perfect accompaniment to the Nem Lui. The pancakes were also good but we liked our vegetable spring rolls more. So with mango smoothies. Tried ordering the Com Hen (Clam Rice) but there was none. Either that or the waiter couldn’t understand what we’re trying to order. Showed him a photo (a good way to order by showing file photo from your travel research) but he kept saying “no oysters”. We ordered more rolls instead 😂 Out in the streets, we found stalls selling Com Hen but I was too afraid buying street food so we never got to try it.
There are many dining options on Pham Ngu Lao Street, as well as in the street perpendicular to it. No worries, I speak of only 2-3 streets all in a compact area comprising this pedestrian-friendly area. Many bars and cafes too. And despite the blaring music from street bands, and the cheers from sports fans, we all enjoyed our time here.