Nowadays, plenty of supermarkets, malls, and stores could be found anywhere in Hanoi; however, there are still open markets, where the food baskets are placed by the sellers on the sidewalks and spread all over an area. Visit Vietnam and experience a unique shopping stroll around the traditional old market, where the spirit of our culture are inside every single individual, creating such a graceful atmosphere.
Hanoi Market of the old days and the now
Market nowadays usually appear in big modern building and classified into various types. As a matter of fact, Vietnam traditional market is formed nearly a thousand years ago. Back in the time of the Ly dynasty, there were 4 main markets held in front of 4 doors of Thang Long Imperial Citadel as a place for commodity exchange. Undergoing a process of historical development, Vietnamese market has been evolved and divided into many different forms such as urban market, wholesale market or aggregate market. Currently, a sustainable market is becoming more and more popular. A sustainable market is usually held inside an architectural building such as Ben Thanh, Dong Xuan or Hang Be market.
However, reminiscing my childhood days, I used to visit classic markets with my mother. Every time there, I held the basket and followed her to every single corner of the market, watched her dealing with the sellers. I felt a sincere innocent joy when our shopping basket was filled with fresh products every time we get out of the market. It was such a wonderful memory of my childhood.
Hanoi Market of my childhood
As a Vietnamese child, when everything is new and excited, i really love the market because when referring to market means referring to food and delicious meal. Tet holiday: “Let me go to the market to buy some chicken ok” – mom said. “Mom i want to eat noodle” – “Wait for me, i will buy noodle at the market, ok?”. The love for market was formed inside me since that.
Personally, an urban market called Quynh Mai is the one always bring out a lot of precious memories. Located nearby Quynh Mai street in Hanoi, Quynh Mai market has all the elements that make up an urban market. In this first part of the market series, let me share the experience I had when my mother and I went shopping in this wonderful market. The first time I went to the market with my mother, I was really excited about it. I was carrying the basket for her while she chose the food. Arriving at the market, I immediately sensed a strong smell mixture of fish, chickens, fruits, and vegetables. The market was so bustling and all of the people there were so busy. “Stay close to me, or you will get lost” – my mother warned.
Firstly, we decided to buy some vegetables. In the market, there were plenty of vegetable kiosks but my mom chose the most familiar one, as the seller was very nice, she said to my mom that she had a very lovely son and she gave me a peaches. I was so happy and ate it immediately. After that, we went to the meat and poultry section of the market. My mother had to bargain continuously to pick the most delicious looking chicken and some beef slices. I was standing there and felt very nervous: “What if mommy lose the bargain, what if we can’t have chicken for lunch?”- i asked myself. Luckily, mommy won. Usually, when you are shopping in a market, the seller usually asks for a high price, especially with unfamiliar customers. Thus, you need to make up your mind and try to bargain a little bit before actually paying for anything.
Finally, we went to the fruit kiosks, where many fresh fruits were arranged nicely and colorfully. My mother bought watermelons because it was summer at that time, so we needed juicy fruit to refresh our bodies. Fruit is the product type which you need to bargain the most for its seasonality. The price of each kind of fruit changes every now and then, and sometimes the varieties of price could confuse you.
Besides, there were many other kiosks such as clothes, groceries, as well as convenient stores around the market area. However, that was enough for my mother to prepare a delicious meal for our whole family. On that day, we had chicken for our lunch, watermelon for dessert, and it was fantastic.
Vietnam traditional open market is the beauty of Vietnamese culture. Don’t hesitate to drop by any typical urban market and enjoy a unique shopping experience which you cannot have anywhere else but here in Vietnam.
Author: Ho Hoang