Hue is famous for fruit jam. Vietnamese famous writer Hoang Phu Ngoc Tuong described Hue cuisine in details in his essays, particularly, Hue cuisine consists of ten kinds of dishes including savory dishes, meat – free dishes, soups, salted vegetables and fishes, meat rolls, savory cakes, sweet cakes, jam, medication and royal cuisine.
Hue’s jam is made of various kinds of fruits and vegetables including ginger, coconut, lemon, mandarin orange, orange, sweet potato, potato, waxy pumpkin, turnip, lotus seeds, tamarind, mangoes, and so forth. Interestingly, Hue families have a tradition of self – making jam before Lunar New Year. In the old days, the families of Hue civil servants of the Nguyen Lord used to make a specific kind of jam and donated the jam to the king and royal families, the head of the family or worshiped the ancestors and the deities. Thus, Hue women are very good at household arts. They learned how to make jam with interest when they were very young. Hue women usually make jam on the occasion of Lunar New Year.
Ginger jam is one of the most favorite jam in Lunar New Year. And the best ginger jam maker belongs to Kim Long Village. Located on the bank of Huong River, Kim Long Village is home to lush green ginger fields. Gingers grown in King Long Village are the best ingredients of ginger jam because of ripen gingers taste gentle sweet and pungent. King Long ginger jam is made of thin pieces of gingers cooked with sugar bearing water over a medium heat. Besides, ginger jam in Phuoc Tich Village near O Lau River is also famous. Phuoc Tich ginger jam is made of thick pieces of dark yellow old gingers and has a strong taste.
Waxy pumpkin jam is also well – worth a try. Pieces of waxy pumpkin are soaked in water and exposed to the sun for several days so that they turn into white waxy pumpkin. Besides, lotuses growing in Tinh Tam Lake are famous in Hue and sugar coated lotus seeds cultivated in Tinh Tam Lake is very delicious.
Hue is also famous for special jam often used Hue royal families. The Nguyen Lord used to offer guests and civil servants jams in special occasions like as, grapefruit jam, apple jam, watermelon jam, peanuts, camellia jam and special jam named beautifully as ‘Eight Weapons’ jam, ‘The Four Supernatural Creatures’ jam and so forth. Palace maids used to offer the king and the queen mother several special delicious jam at dessert.
According cuisine artisan Ho Thi Hoang Anh, who has been researching and restoring the Nguyen Dynasty royal dishes, the art of making Hue royal jam is rich and sophisticated. For example, ‘Eight Weapons’ jam is made of sugar coated lotus seeds, kumquat jam, apple jam, dried longan, red bean jam … together with roasted pork. The dish is only served in special occasions. Jam is beautifully displayed in luxurious porcelain dishes and has fussy arrangements arranged sophistically. Strawberry seeds jam are used instead of dried melon seeds because biting melon seeds was listed as bad table manners so that the jam was prepared. Flower colored jam is made of papaya and pumpkin that are beautifully trimmed. All of them just fit for a king.
Artisan Hoang Anh learned how to make jam when she was very young. When she was a student at Dong Khanh secondary school Hoang Anh learned cooking from her teacher Hoang Thi Kim Cuc, and the traditional wives of the ancient Hue royal families like Mrs. Ung Binh Thuc Gia, Ms. Thanh Quynh in the ancient palace of Thoai Thai Vuong, Mrs. Huan Dan – the wife of Nguyen Hy Don who was formerly tutoring teacher for Prince Bao Long – the son of King Bao Dai. Artisan Hoang Anh successfully brought several Hue royal dishes back to present like ‘Eight Weapons’ jam, orange jam, strawberry seeds jam, lotus seeds, Buddha’s finger citron jam and so forth. Hoang Anh – inspired jam is well liked by locals and guests of all nationalities and on exhibition in Hue, Ho Chi Minh City and other countries.