Hue is the city located in the central region of Vietnam ruled by the Nguyen Dynasty Emperors and was Vietnam’s capital from 1800 to about 1945. This city is known for its iconic 19th century citadel surrounded by a moat and thick stone walls which consists of palaces, shrines, tombs and was once referred as the Forbidden City.
Besides its rich dynastic history, Hue is more known for its unique cuisine. Such as Bun bo Hue, Banh beo and Com hen – baby clams with rice which is among the most popular dishes originated in Hue.
Com hen is quite a unique and complex dish to make. It includes lots of boiled baby clams about the size of your fingertips, rice, fried pork fat, crunchy pig skin, roasted peanuts, Vietnamese coriander, lots of chili pepper, banana flower, star fruit, mint herb, assorted herbs and fermented shrimp paste together with a side of hot clam broth.
The unique aspect of com hen is that it is never served hot or cold, but rather at room temperature. However, the clam broth, which always accompanies the bowl of com hen, must be steaming hot.
Com hen was once a popular dish to the common people in the central region just like com tam (broken rice) in the South, because it was inexpensive and somewhat refreshing. A balance of sweetness, saltiness, sourness, bitterness, and extreme spiciness all at once makes this dish very unique.
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