If you wanna get to know a country you gotta go where people live, trade and eat. In the old quarter of the 36 streets you may get an idea how life must have been before Vietnam was opened to the international market. In the 13th century 36 guilds were settled here. This can be read from the street names. For foreigners like me it may be a little confusing since most of them start with a “Hang” (= shop, merchandise). So if you were looking for jewelry, you find them in the “Hang Bac”, bamboo crafts are found in the “Hang Be”, silk clothing are settled in the “Hang Gai”, paper products can be purchased in the “Hang Ma” …and so on.
Today, some streets would probably be renamed because only tourist souvenirs are on display – from Buddha statues to fake brand clothes. But Vietnamese love to compare prices, haggling is part of the daily routine of shopping, so particular products are still often found in many shops in the same street.
I wished i could share the very special smell of these streets with the photo….it was amazing….fruits, herbs, metal, dust, paper,…i bought some delicious dried ginger there. I think i gotta take a piece now.