When you read travel guides for Hanoi, Vietnam, you would likely find people mentioning about street-side vendors as part of the sights and sounds they experience especially when visiting areas near the Old Quarter part of the city. While this might be pretty common sight to see in many countries in Asia, it’s still an interesting experience to walk through streets and alleys lined up with the vendors as you can observe the daily life going on around you and giving you the feeling of being immersed in the local culture.
When we arrived at our hotel in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, it was already pretty late at night, and on the next morning, we left quite early in the morning, so we had not had any chance checking out the area yet. After visiting the Temple of Literature, we decided to follow our map to go to a restaurant called Quan An Ngon that’s highly recommended for its variety of authentic Vietnamese food. The restaurant location didn’t seem to be too far from the Temple of Literature, so we decided to walk there.
As we walked a couple of blocks away from the busy city street in front of the Temple of Literature complex, we found ourselves walking through a street that’s probably more like an alley since it’s pretty narrow and is hardly passable by cars. There were motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians passing by, and here we saw our first street-side shopping scene in Hanoi. We could see stores lining up both sides of the street, and in front of those stores, there were other vendors selling a variety of goods, including food, fresh fruits, vegetables, and even medicines. And we also saw some of the Vietnamese ladies wearing conical hats and carrying double baskets with a carrier on their shoulders — the scenes you often see in photos and are associated with Vietnam. We also saw many street-side vendors selling cooked foods, and since it was around lunch time, there were folks stopping by, parked their motorcycles, and ate at the makeshift ‘restaurants’ on the side of the road with little stools that pretty much required them to squat instead of sitting while eating their lunch.
The photo below was taken on that street while we were walking through the area. There were quite a lot of interesting sights that would make an interesting photo series, but I felt a little self-conscious with my camera at hand, so I only took a few photos there.