A Royal Dinner

Last night in Hue we were given the honor of visiting the home of Phan Thuan An, a historian of the first order, and related to the emperors of Vietnam. His grandfather was Emperor Khai Dinh’s senior Mandarin, a post he also held under Emperor Bao Dai.


Mr. An has a fascinating collection of artifacts and mementos from the days of Empire. A valuable collection of ceramics, including a Ming Dynasty bowl, medals, photos and personal items once owned by his ancestors is a window to the past.  His home itself has been featured in Vietnam Heritage Magazine and recognized by UNESCO as one of the premiere examples of feng- shui

There is a beautiful screen, behind which is a large garden complete with a large pond.


Once inside, his home is a museum in itself, his alter filled with pictures of Mandarins and royalty of a bygone era leading up to the abdication of Bao Di. Mr. An is the curator of the museum at Hue and the premiere historian of the art and architecture of Hue and has published over 15 books on the history, culture and architecture of Hue.

Then we sit down to a traditional meal served by his wonderful wife and daughter.  Not only is food in Hue flavorful, special attention goes into the presentation because in Hue they believe that food should excite all of the senses.


Above our course of shrimp, sprouts, carrots, onion, mushroom, and mint.

After dinner, I noticed a document hanging on the wall.  It was a photocopy of a letter sent by Bao Di, the Emperor at the time- 1939, recognizing the efforts of the Vietnamese soldiers stationed in the Hoang Sa, and Vietnam’s sovereignty over this area also known as the Paracel islands, which today China is attempting to lay claim, and these documents are the what Vietnam is arguing are the official decrees that make the islands part of Vietnamese territory


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