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Exploring Hanoi Old Quarter

Sat, 27 Sep 2014 . Last updated Thu, 25 Jun 2015 08:51

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Joining in Hanoi tours, you are able to see the things that you might have been seen before if you ever been to this place to the old quarter. You also get a chance to see all the things that are hidden deep within the alley of the Hanoi Old Quarter.

If you are amazing Vietnam’s crazy rush hour traffic think again in the morning. The Old Quarter the heart of Hanoi is the busiest place of the city but also the quietest in the morning. If you can wake up early enough you will get to interesting experience in one of Vietnam most populated areas. If you are Vietnamese, you will be surprised because you think you have been in another place. The Old Quarter is so unique to Hanoi. It’s the place where the first Hanoian settled. It’s also the place where people here are doing what they have been doing for the past few decades. That is reason why the Old Quarter attracts more and more visitors coming here to explore.

Matt Cavanaugh is a resident at Minnesota, the USA. You know the place where it gets pretty cold in the winter, but that’s not stopping him from travelling. Vietnam is among the destinations that he picked for his unique experience. Away from the cold, his trip to Vietnam has lasted for over a year and he has become a temporary resident of Hanoi.

When people think about good food in Hanoi, the old quarter first comes to mind. To Hanoian, Pho is one of the most delicious breakfast foods. The Pho restaurant has been around for over 40 years. It serves the richest broth and the most tender beef in the neighborhood. Looking from the front to the houses, you can see that most old quarter residents use their houses to business. There are shops next to stores, however behind the shops and stores, the old quarter residents live in a community and they share their space with other.

People have been living here for centuries. Within the old quarter houses, there are several generations. All family members often gather here on the special occasions. During the weekends, they also come here to meet and talk with the great grandmother. Any Vietnamese house must have altar. The altar is situated high in the house. To houses in the Old Quarter, their altars can contain several generations.

Lunch is one of important meal of the day. This is when workers may return to their home during their midday meal. The Old Quarter is very different from other parts of Hanoi for collective space. Because the living space is so small, the kitchen is positioned outside in the alley way.  People cook in the alleys and Old Quarter residents grow up with the smell of their mother’s cooking and their neighbors’ food as well. 

After experiencing the daily life of people inside the alleyway, you will have the chance to explore what you don’t know about what on the street outside the alleyway. The Hanoi Old Quarter contains 36 streets. These were the first streets of Hanoi. The name of these streets came about because of the types of goods sold there. Now the names still remain but some of the goods have changed. However, a few streets still retain the old goods trade. For example, Hang Thiec still sells metal iron. The street selling traditional medicine is among few streets where the old trade remains and even thrives. Another thing about the Old Quarter is that the people literally live on the streets and animals do so too.

Another soul of the Old Quarter is its occupation. Of course, Old Quarter people work and enjoy afternoon tea in the same place. But people have been using these streets to sell for centuries. The Old Quarter can be seen as the trading center in the past and at the present. But what you see on the street is not all the goods that are available here. Deep within these alleyways, it is the occupations that only Vietnamese local people know about.

If you talk about the local street food, the Old Quarter in Hanoi is the heaven for most delicious food. Food is not made elsewhere and transported here; it is made within the Old Quarter, a lot of the time inside the alleyways. The people living in the Old Quarter have good taste and they are very fastidious. They often have high requirements about hygiene and quality of the food. The soybean curd seller uses his bike to bring “tao pho” to all corners of Old Quarter. This is the fastest way to get your product to street living old quarter residents. Tao pho curd is put in a bucket to curd.  The curd needs to be scooped up thinly into the bowl. The flower flavored sugar water is then added.

 

Source: VTV4 – VTV.vn

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