Dong Ba Market – Hue
Dong Ba is the biggest commercial center of Thua Thien Hue Province and the adjacent regions. Around 100 kilometers north of Truong Tien Bridge, Dong Ba Market is situated near the eastern corner of the Citadel, in the north bank of the romantic Perfume River, near the place where the Dong Ba Canal merges with the Perfume River, on Tran Hung Dao Street of Hue City and stretches from Trang Tien Bridge to Gia Hoi Bridge.
Tourists may be confused when they find several things here named “Dong Ba” in Hue city. Actually, Dong Ba is both the name of the largest market in Hue and of a small canal connecting the market with the busy river port of Bao Vinh, Lo Street and Thanh Ha. Dong Ba is also the name of the first steel bridge across the Dong Ba River and Dong Ba Street. The market was originally located outside the citadel’s Chanh Dong Gate (also commonly called Dong Ba), where today stands a park at the end of Phan Dang Luu Street. The market was burnt down in the summer of 1885. In 1887, King Dong Khanh had it rebuilt and named it Dong Ba. In 1889, King Thanh Thai had it moved to the current location at the crossroads of the Huong (Perfume) River and the west bank of the Dong Ba Canal. Due to the convenient location, the market has always been very popular. In 1987, the market was under its greatest restoration, in which it was enlarged into a total area of 47,614 m2 with 9 ranges of sales houses, car parking place, motorcycles, bicycles shedding station, and so forth.
The market begins at early in the morning. From about 3.00 AM, some sellers, especially of food stalls, have to arrive at the market. Interestingly, the morning market is a special scene, where people buying and selling in the dim light and the silence, freshness of the city. At this time, local residents can purchase freshest food at a lower price. The market opens all day long, till 8.30 PM.
All of the most special cultural gifts and souvenirs of Thua Thien Hue that remain until today can be found in Dong Ba Market. They include “non la bai tho” (conical hats having poems woven into their design) from Phu Cam Village, which is made of latanier leaves; me xung (candies), Truoi berries, Tuan tea, tom chua (Hue Sour Shrimp), lotus seed of Tinh Tam Lake, etc. Traditional food such as mussel rice, beef vermicelli, leaves cakes, etc. can be purchased in the market, too.
It’s said that Dong Ba Market is where people can get most of Hue’s delicious dishes within a place – its food courts, and at a high quality standard. Don’t miss these street vendors on the ground of the market (under the stair). They’re really worth a try. Nowadays, Dong Ba Market still holds an important position in the economy and trade of the city, though many supermarkets have been established. Apart from providing food and other goods for the cities, it’s also a must-stop of visitors to discover typical trading methods as well as buying some specialities of the local people.
If you travel to Hue city, whether going on your own or booking a Hue city tour, do not miss out on exploring Dong Ba Market. There, you can shop for local goods, try many dishes that are specialties of this city as well as Central Vietnam, while getting snapshots of daily activities typical for locals.