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Barnard College

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Program Name

Vietnam: Culture, Social Change, and Development


The ancient royal city of Hue, located in the center of Vietnam, is known for being the former capital of Vietnam under the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802-1945. Since receiving the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, Hue has become a popular tourist destination in Vietnam. Many foreigners visit the city to experience the remnants of an ancient past still visible in the architecture, music, and cuisine and to see how the people live today. The royal cuisine of Hue, created under the Nguyen Dynasty, is one element of the city’s royal history that is becoming increasingly available for tourists who wish to try food fit for an emperor.

This study explores the culinary traditions of the ancient city of Hue in the modern era, specifically how modern culinary techniques, the influx of tourism, and the availability of foreign ingredients has influenced the commercialization of the royal cuisine in Hue. This study looks at how restaurants offer the royal cuisine to tourists and Vietnamese people. Through participant observations at two Hue restaurants and comprehensive interviews and questionnaires with Vietnamese restaurant chefs, historians, and students, this research examines how globalization and tourism are affecting Hue’s royal cuisine characteristics. This study also investigates the attempts being made by Hue people to actively preserve their cuisine traditions in a city that is becoming increasingly globalized.


Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Growth and Development | Tourism | Tourism and Travel



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