Hanoi’s Old Quarter – Vietnam
A Street for Every Ware
Located between the green oasis of Hoan Kiem Lake and the Red River, the mazelike Old Quarter of Hanoi has been a shopping venue since the 15th century. Nearly forty of its narrow, crowded streets are named after the goods once sold along them: Rice Street, Silk Street, Pots and Pans Street, Gold Street – there’s even a Gravestone Street.
It remains to be seen if names like Pirate Video Street or T-shirt Street will follow. Open dilapidated storefronts give new meaning to “window shopping.” These cubbyholes are sometimes just large enough to hold a wizened old merchant amid goods stacked to the ceiling.
After decades of suppressions, every square inch of the Old Quarter is once again alive with capitalistic fervor. Noodles, flowers, antiques, and handicrafts are yours for the bargaining.