Hue is where you come to see the ancient Citadel, and the Forbidden Purple City, formerly reserved for the exclusive use of the royal family. Or rather, you come to see what is left of the City after heavy bombing and heavy hand-to-hand combat between the Viet Cong and American armies.
Try explaining eunuchs, over a hundred concubines, oh, and a horrendous war to tots ten and under; it wasn't simple.
Fortunately, the whole area is now a UNESCO site, and restoration works have been underway for some time now, as the government has come to realize the significance (both economic and historical) of the heart of old feudal Vietnam.
But between tomb visits, a visit to the charming temple dedicated to the eunuchs and general wandering, a person's got to eat. Preferably well. Let that be written on my tombstone. My discovery (laugh at me if you were already in the know) was deep-fried banh bao. SO good. I already knew (and adored, in a guilty, fast food kind of way) banh bao, light, palm-sized doughy buns, stuffed with any number of different kinds of meat or vegetables, then steamed. They're pictured below--in this instance filled with a well-sauced chicken and costing 50 cents each (20,000 D being currently equivalent to 1 USD).
We made our way from Hue to the Danang area (passing by the beach of China Beach fame), and dropping our bags (for a few days) with a sigh of relief in little Hoi An.
The poppy seed-like bits seen below are silkworm eggs, deposited by an adult silk moth. After fourteen days, these hatch into silkworm larvae.
Then they make a cocoon using their spit glands. The cocoon is made of one single thread.
The cocoons here are from different types of silkworm.
Loud enough to cover the grumbling of my stomach, as I consider how reasonably soon I can get back to the market--and what will be on offer.