There is no place without a history. There is no history without a place. There are places without measure, and histories beyond all time. Elegant moments and secret places. Patches of eternity and jolted thoughts. To verify this, one must know Boi Tran. Is it for her that, in a prophetic karm, Ngo Chan Luu (933-1011) wrote: “Nothing begins, nothing ends, Only emptiness is absolute, The truth to comprehend, Is that all things are of the same nature.”? There is no artist without Grace, no seismology without a volcano.
Boi Tran is a painter and something of a throwback, an anomaly, a creature from another, earlier time in the life of the onetime Imperial City. She lives in an area called Thien An Hill, in a magnificently restored compound. These traditional wooden houses were once part of the regal style, with sloped grooves to handle the rainy Hue weather. But most importantly, she features a garden at the center which follows the eastern philosophy that all things originate from a single source and expand in all directions.
An early evening panel discussion on Incubating Culture in Vietnam and Hue’s Rebirth as Vietnam’s Center of Art and Heritage as well as announcing new cooperation with Fulbright University Vietnam and the Hue Provincial Government.
There was a visit to another dimension of food glory, a ride out to visit Boi Tran Garden to meet Madame Boi Tran herself, a living legend of an artist and chef. The place, the green, manicured, and curated garden and yards with French and local Hue touches plus the food, served like how the Royals once ate. My late buddy Anthony Bourdain visited and featured it before, but I had to take the mickey out of his very staid visit “ Yes, hahahahaha, that’s how he was, you are on point”, said a very warm and endearing Mdm Boi Tran recalling his visit. Bless you, Tony, you paved the way here.
The generator that lights Boi Tran’s garden goes out in the midst of the first course — a frequent occurrence along this remote hillside on the road to forested royal tombs. From the outdoor table, stars can be seen peeking through the trees.
Born in Hue, Vietnam, Boi Tran amongst a few prominent contemporary artists in Hue has participated in several exhibitions and also had her works displayed in private collections locally and internationally, especially in Christie’s and Sotheby’s Auction Houses. Owning an exquisite garden nestled on Thien An Hill where art researchers, scholars, specialists, and experts in Vietnam and other countries oftentimes pass by, Heritage is privileged to meet this talented artist – “A true heroine” of the ancient Hue in her own mansion.
Many of the old culinary traditions live on, and today, Hue cuisine is held to be Vietnam’s most delicious and diverse. A visit to Ancient Hue and for a meal crafted according to the phong thuỷ (feng shui) ideals of balance — five elements, five colors, five tastes — pay a visit to the home restaurant and gallery of an eccentric, elegant artist and chef Boi Tran.