Markets in Hanoi

Many people I know here avoid local markets like the plague. They claim chaos, rudeness and ruthless bargaining and go instead to the larger superstores and western groceries scattered throughout the capital. But for me, nothing quite compares, and it’s one of my favorite things to do, both for shopping and taking photographs.

It helps to have a fondness for food and cooking. You soon learn what markets are best for what animals and produce. How pigs are slaughtered twice a day, and if you go in the early morning or late afternoon the cuts of pork you buy are still warm and steaming in the bag. How most vendors will kill, clean and cut the fish you buy right out of the tank. How some chickens come with unlaid yolks still inside. How duck eggs have a bluer hue. How lemons are a goddamn mystery but how limes are dozens to the dollar. And, maybe most importantly, how inexpensive everything can be even without bargaining.

The photographs above are from Dong Xuan Market in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. The inner bowels of the market are something to be reckoned with and the outer streets twist into different alleys that all specialize in a variety of different things. There’s the street where you buy onions, shallots and garlic. The street where you buy dried beans and legumes. The street where you buy knock-off “Grucci” jeans and jackets. The street where you eat between buying other things from other streets and more. It can be a bit overwhelming at times. But why have it any other way?

4 thoughts on “Markets in Hanoi

  1. i love the markets in hanoi. ermm i actually never realised there were big supermarkets there 😛

  2. The markets (the couple that I visited) were one of my very favorite things when I visited Hanoi! The colors! The smells! All of the unfamiliar and exotic produce! It was amazing!! Absolutely fascinating. I could have spent entire days roaming the markets.

  3. The larger superstores tend to be on the outer edges of town. We also have smaller western groceries where you can find imported meats, cheeses and other deli items and produce.

    I’ve actually spent very little time at markets in Kuala Lumpur or Malaysia in general. I bet they’re really fun as well.

  4. You made me want to go to Hanoi even more. 🙂 I will add this site to my blogroll.. btw nice photos 🙂

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