Hanoi Weekend Night Market – Lively Cultural Exchange Spot

The Most Popular Local Market Among Foreigners to Hanoi

Rachel Tran
Rachel Tran | Published: October 18, 2019

While traveling, it is evident that tourists often have three purposes that need to be satisfied. First, understandably, they are eager to learn about the visited place’s culture, history as well as outstanding features. Secondly, for some travelers, spending time in a place that offers them lively energy would be a must-have. Lastly, roughly no one comes back home from a journey without bringing anything as souvenirs, so, the demand for a purchasing place that specializes in selling area-reflected gifts is also under consideration.

Sounding like a harsh challenge, right? How can a place with such complicated conditions be found? Please do not worry as Hanoi Weekend Night Market in the Old Quarter is exactly what you are looking for!.

    Location: Hang Dao Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
    Opening hours: 6 p.m to 0 a.m
    Map to the Hanoi Weekend Night Market:

Highlights of Hanoi Weekend Night Market

Held within Hanoi Old Quarter, from Hang Dao Street to Dong Xuan Market’s gate, Hanoi Old Quarter market has been largely considered a must-see for tourists to Vietnam’s capital for the first time. Taking place from 6 pm until midnight in the last three days of the week, this special “fair” attracts not only locals but also foreigners.

Highlights of Hanoi weekend night market

Many people say that visiting Hanoi Old Quarter Market provides them priceless chances to learn about Vietnamese traditional culture in an interesting way, together with refreshing their minds while meandering. People immerse themselves in this market’s atmosphere, enjoy an energetic face of solemn Hanoi.

Definitely, Hanoi Old Quarter Night Market is not a mere normal trading area but it is, in fact, an integral spot for cultural exchanges. Spending time here, tourists are highly likely to discover a plethora of outstanding features belonging to Hanoi’s 36 traditional streets that have been preserved until today.

Four things often highly expected by visitors here are Delicious Foods, various Souvenirs, outstanding Artistic Performance as well as Relaxing Wandering.

First, let us start with the souvenir!

souvenirs at Hanoi weekend night market

Going to Hanoi, roughly everyone wants to bring home something that can ideally reflect the capital’s spirit. However, how can these things be purchased at such reasonable prices and where to find them? Hanoi Old Quarter Night Market will offer you the most appropriate answer.

Spreading over several main streets in Hanoi Old Quarter, this special market provides tourists with nearly 4000 stalls, selling products ranging variously from clothes, toys, souvenirs to craft and food,…, all of which are offered at such affordable prices, which can satisfy most visitors. 

Wandering around the Night Market, people can freely choose for themselves a number of cultural-reflected stuffs as souvenirs, from handicrafts such as ivory combs, bamboo dragonflies or wooden toys to unique items like 3D Pop-up Cards (which resemble Vietnam Famous Attractions or typical plants and images), inexpensive T-shirts printed Vietnam scenery and so on. Usually, the most popular products sold at the Market would be clothes, shoes as well as up-to-date items that meet the needs of the young locals or visitors, two main kinds of consumers in this market.

In addition, though Hanoi Old Quarter Market is always bustling even in normal days, visitors are suggested to come and enjoy this market in some special occasions such as: Full Moon Festival, Christmas or Lunar New Year,… so that they would be able to fully observe a surprisingly energetic face of Hanoi. During these listed occasions, travelers would be able to immerse themselves in such a colorful and vibrant atmosphere. In the bright light, the items for sale undeniably become more sparkling as well as more attractive, the colorful scenery these decorations create is so fabulous that roughly no one can deny to stop by and make a look.

Trying impressive foods at Hanoi Old Quarter Market

For the first time visiting Hanoi Old Quarter Market, people would definitely be overwhelmed by this “so-called Food Paradise” place. The diversity, together with the abundance of street foods sold here can lead everyone to a remarkable impression. Therefore, it is such an infeasible task to list all of the Old Quarter’s street foods as these dishes update and change from time to time. Even people considering themselves as the most voracious eaters or effective food-hunters will absolutely “raise the white flag” should they have to do this daunting challenge. 

Though Hanoi Old Quarter is undeniably a culture-rich destination which preserves a number of historical as well as cultural values, the market here not merely consumes Vietnamese traditional cuisine but also iconic dishes from all over the world. Thanks to the diversified foods at such reasonable prices, this market becomes a familiar spot for chitchatting with friends among people from all ages and walks of life.

Now, let’s go through some Vietnamese dishes’ recommendations. 

1. Dried Beef Salad

Dried Beef Salad

To make an unforgettable evening in which you can peacefully relax yourself by Hoan Kiem Lake more memorable, visitors are suggested to try a plate of dried beef salad. This special salad, as it is named, contains handmade dried beef which is made in their own way by the vendors, mixed harmoniously with scraped unripe papaya, beef tendon, roast gizzard as well as dried liver. However, what makes this mixture a memorable dish is the sellers’ unique sweet-sour sauce, of which deliciousness can not be described by any simple words. The crunchy pieces of viscera, tough pieces of dried beef, together with the softly scraped papaya provide visitors a perfect snack for chit-chatting and expanding their friendship. This delicious dish is offered at such a reasonable price, at just a mere of around 35.000 VND (~$1.5), therefore, it can run out quickly, often by about 10 pm. So, if you are eager to try this harmonious dishes, you had better plan to go in the early evening.

Suggest places: 

  • Nom Long Vi Du

Location: 51 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem

Opening hours: 8.30 am – 10.30 pm

Price range: 25.000 VND – 40.000 VND (~$2-$4)

  • Nom Hai Sinh

Location: 57A Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem

Opening hours: 7 am – 10 pm

Price range: 35.000 VND – 50.000 VND (~$1.5-$2.5)

2. Dong Xuan Cartilage and Rib Porridge 

This well-known dishes’ selling spot is crowded all year round, especially from 8 – 9 pm onward; therefore, if visitors truly want to have a try, they often have to come early to get the best seat. Seem tiring, right? It seems like a competition for grabbing food. In fact, this is actually a unique eating habit of the Vietnamese. Thanks to this “tiredness”, visitors can have a priceless chance to have a small talk with people sitting nearby them, being often from every walk of life. In this case, eating “evolves” from an enjoying activity into a cultural exchange activity. You can enjoy the food while freely making friends and immersing yourself in the bustling atmosphere of Hanoi’s nightlife.

Moving deeper into the food, as its name implies, the cartilage and rib porridge satisfies even the hardest culinary enjoyers by its crunchy cartilage hidden in the rice flour porridge. This soft, white, fragrant porridge mixes harmoniously with finger-shaped bagels as well as salted shredded pork, creating such a memorable flavor that roughly no one can forget. The secret behind this remarkable food is its special porridge. In other parts of Vietnam, even the world, rice porridge is often made from the whole rice grain; however, in this famous selling spot, the porridge is made from rice flour, which is created by grinding rice. Thanks to this meticulous action, together with the vendor’s unique secret recipe,  the porridge’s texture becomes as smooth as possible and its flavor rocks. For the first spoonful of porridge, foreign visitors may feel strange; however, from the second spoonful onward, they will certainly feel more familiar and then finally, be bewitched by this outstanding cartilage and rib porridge. A full bowl of porridge costs merely 30.000 VND (~$1.5), quite reasonable for delicious cuisine.

Location: 14 Dong Xuan, Hang Ma, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Opening hours: 6 pm – 2 am

Phone: 098 582 44 93

3. Ly Van Phuc Chicken Feet

Chicken Feet

For travelers whose specialty is to discover strange foods, this dish is absolutely what you are looking for. Eating Chicken Feet? For some people, this may be the first time they have ever heard about this (can be called) weird dishes. However, please do not hesitate to try it when coming to Vietnam as this will be highly likely to be an interesting experience. To try grilled chicken feet, culinary enjoyers are recommended to come to Ngo Gach as it is long famous for providing the most qualified chicken-related foods

To keep the food at its finest, the chicken feet and wings will only be grilled right after the customer orders, so the customer may have to wait a bit long. However, the marvelous flavor of the feet would definitely compensate for this long waiting time. The chicken feet and wings sold here are so chubby and fragrant. They are marinated in a special recipe, then are grilled with honey, making them crunchy outside but soft and moist inside. Indispensable accompaniment of this dish is pickled spinach as well as split cucumbers, making this food become an unrivaled snack for friend group to chitchat on a rainy evening. The cost for this alluring dishes is quite affordable, taking each person around 40 -50.000 VND ($2-3) to feel full.

Location: 21 Ngo Gach, Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Wanting to try cuisine from other parts of the world? Hanoi Old Quarter Market can satisfy you!

As tourists spend time wandering around the streets, they will certainly notice that, apart from Vietnamese cuisine, other cultures’ cuisines are also offered in Hanoi Weekend Night Market. The foreign foods provided here are also diverse, ranging from taken-away one to one only served in restaurants.

4. Kimbap

This is a famous cuisine of Korean. To simply describe, this dish is actually a rice roll with three layers in total. The innermost layer would be some sticks of vegetables (often carrot and cucumber), pickled radish as well as crab and ham. All of these sticks will then be wrapped by a layer of soft rice (mixed with oil and salt) and a seaweed layer. This convenient dishes; thus, offers eaters an appropriate meal containing both vegetable and protein. Visitors can take away some of these rolls from nearly every food stall in Old Quarter Market and enjoy them while taking a small walk around the market. A convenient food but have the nutrition of traditional food is absolutely not a bad idea for people not willing to stop for eating but still wanting to have nutritious dinner. 

5. Sushi – Another Cuisine from an Eastern Country

Having its origin from Japan, this is another dish made from rice. Instead of a rice roll like kimbap, Sushi is a rice block, on which lay various foods, ranging from a piece of fish to shrimp, seaweed or eel,… Unlike kimbap, which can be made and taken away easily, Sushi requires a high-qualified making skill from an experienced chef and therefore, is only served in specialty restaurants. 

6. Tobokki – Familiar Korean Snack

Tobokki

This dish contains some small sticks made from rice flour, cooked with Korean chili sauce. Tobokki has become so popular in Vietnam that it has been one of the most favorite snacks of Vietnamese youngsters. The unique hot and spicy flavor of this dish would undeniably warm you up in the cool evening of Hanoi.

Cultural acknowledgment through various artistic performances at Hanoi Old Quarter

As written above, Hanoi Old Quarter Night Market is not a mere night market but it is also a cultural exchange spot. While meandering around the market, tourists would have a high chance of coming up with some unique artistic performances, ranging from modern to traditional. 

1. Live Street Art

Many people say that, no matter how many times they come to Hanoi Old Quarter Market, they are never bored as each time, they find a new aspect of Hanoi and have a new list of things to do at this lovely area, the fresh feeling is always maintained. And, one thing that contributes largely to maintaining that “fresh feeling” is evidently the free-style music performances that take place every night during the market’s opening days.

Hanoi Old Quarter is the paradise for amateur artists who want to live with their passion in their own way, without having to cope with any judgement. At this special market, the only thing you need to be a performer is confidence. If you are confident enough, you can set a booth at wherever you want and live with your dream in whatever way you are interested in. Many famous artists have started their careers by just a night freely doing art at Hanoi Old Quarter Market like that.

The most popular types of artistic performances that are seen in this market are singing as well as dancing performances. Here, everyone can turn on the music and sing or dance with their beloved song in their own way, no matter their nationality, gender or appearance. This is where even the audience can be artists. Just hold the microphone and sing your song or dance with your music in the most comfortable way, you will be the star tonight!

2. Traditional Cultural Show

Ca tru singing - Vietnam traditional cultural show
Ca tru singing – Vietnam traditional cultural show (source: exotic voyages)

Since Hanoi Old Quarter is not only a tourist attraction but also a culture-rich spot, it is the ideal area for cultural shows to be celebrated. These shows, which often showcase Vietnamese traditional performances such as Cheo, Chau Van, Hat Xam and so on, are to aim at preserving and advertising these arts to foreign friends. The shows will be performed by experienced artists and sure will make the audience be more aware of Vietnamese traditional arts.

Cultural space in Hanoi Old Quarter Market has become a rendezvous for traditional music lovers when they come to the Capital. Before each show begins, the atmosphere here is really bustling as many people would gather to enjoy the show together. Interestingly, many young people while hanging out in the Market would be attracted by these traditional shows and stop by to watch. In this way, Vietnamese traditional performances effectively get access to the young generation, nurturing their love for the nation’s traditional arts.

These cultural shows are performed not only by the experienced artists but sometimes also by the kids. Though these performances may not be as professional and outstanding as those of the experienced ones, the innocence and joy of young artists as well as the enthusiastic spirit of the performances have led many viewers to great excitement.

Meaningfully, the core purpose of these shows performed by kids is to maintain the Vietnamese folklore, while at the same time, give the children appropriate opportunities to express their talents. When performing here, the kid artists will have a priceless chance to interact with the audience, which efficiently enhances their confidence in the future. 

Somebody says the most interesting part of Hanoi Old Quarter Night Market is these performances that are held frequently on the street. In these shows, the gap between the artists and audiences are likely to be erased. The Market becomes a cultural exchange spot for people, both from different countries and different generations. 

Boozing Nearby the Market

Boozing at Bia Hoi Junction

Visiting the market, visitors should also spend time to wander around its surrounding areas as they will surely discover a lot of interesting things here. 

First, travelers would be able to learn about the old life of Hanoians. Hanoi traditionally consisted of 36 streets, which nowadays, are called the Old Quarter. Therefore, going to Hanoi Old Quarter, tourists would definitely get a memorable opportunity to have the “truest” look at Hanoi’s old urban organizational structure. These 36 streets are also 36 trade wards as the streets’ names would indicate what used to be sold largely on this street. For example: Hang Bong street means selling cotton, Hang Bac street means selling silver accessories, Hang Dao Street means selling silk and so on.

Secondly, you can move your walk to Ta Hien Street, which can be called a ”street for foreigners” in Hanoi. In this bustling area, visitors would have the chance to live in an energetic Hanoi while immersing themselves in the up-to-date music played overnight. You can enjoy your entertaining night by just stopping by a bar or having a mug of beer, this place would boost your energy and bring you the life of the youth.

How to Get to Hanoi Old Quarter Night Market

  • By Grab/Be/GoViet/Taxi: This suggestion would be highly recommended as this is the easiest, most convenient as well as the most comfortable option, especially for first-time travelers to Hanoi.
  • By motorbike or car: Use Google map to ensure that you would not get lost. For foreign travelers, you can hire a motorbike at your hotel if you want to try this one of the most exciting experiences in Vietnam. However, as Hanoi Old Quarter Market will be blocked off to traffic, visitors would have to find somewhere to park your motorbike. Usually, people choose to park their vehicles along Bao Khanh pavement (near Hang Trong Street) with a cost of 10.000 VND (~$0.5) per night.
  • By bus: Buses number 09, 14 or 36 can bring you to the nearby areas of Hanoi Old Quarter Market, then you will have to walk to your destination. However, this choice would be quite inconvenient if you plan to stay in the market till late at night.

Things to Note:

Though Hanoi Old Quarter Market is a famous tourist attraction, travelers would not be ripped off here, so you should not worry and would not need to bargain. However, keep an eye on your belongings as there will be some pickpockets taking advantage of the crowded atmosphere here to take your wallet.

It must be said that Hanoi at night is not as quiet as people often imagine. The fresh atmosphere, exciting laughter, vibrant performances as well as shimmering colorful lights from street vendors seem to integrate so harmoniously with the night in the Old Quarter. Hanoi Old Quarter in the Weekend Night Market never seems to be boring!

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