Exploring the street markets of Old Hanoi….

Lanterns glow along the winding streets of Old Hanoi

Wandering the streets of Old Hanoi – stepping back in time one bowl of Pho at a time.

The rule of thumb when hoping to cross the unruly street traffic in Hanoi is ” Just keep walking”.  Ha! Easier said than done. You take your life in your hands when you step from the curb into the oncoming traffic of masses of scooters, rickety bicycles balancing huge loads, cars honking and street hawkers carrying heavy baskets of goods on a bamboo poles balanced across shoulders, each mysteriously calm as they navigate the roads without the aide of any traffic lane order.

Basket Merchant in Old Hanoi                                                                                                                                                     But, miraculously somehow it all works.  The traffic moves at a reasonable rate of speed so if you “just keep walking” the traffic snakes it’s way around you anticipating you’ll keep moving and adjusting their routes accordingly. The first time trying this though sends your hearts racing into your throat and a trickle of sweat down your spine.


The vibrancy of this city is palpable, colorful and exciting. The wandering narrow streets of the Old Quarter have retained the ancient organization of commerce.

Beautiful handcrafted instruments

Lanterns glow along the winding streets of Old Hanoi


Fresh produce sold on one street, musical instruments on another, meats and fish on yet another and ladies delicate undies on yet another, all patronized by locals and tourists alike. Turn a corner and as far as you can see tiny kindergarten size tables and chairs are packed into any available space and enterprising merchants are setting up pop up kitchens no more than a square meter and serving up BBQ’d meats, fried spring rolls and a vast array of street delicacies with no shortage of customers day or night. Friendly smiles abound and sign language seems effective in getting questions answered and purchases made.

Delectable hot food stall


An egg of a different color!

The art of display!

Freshness and color abound

Pickled eggs, preserved eggs, quail eggs, thousand year old duck eggs encased in ash, you’ll find it all.

Beautiful displays of fruits and veggies in a myriad of colors and textures. Truly a sensualist’s delight.


March 3, 2017



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