Tay Ho Weekend Market: A Special Kind of Market for Expatriates in Hanoi

What to Buy in Tay Ho Weekend Market

Rachel Tran
Rachel Tran | Published: December 14, 2019

Living away from home is not an easy experience, especially when you’re put in a strange cultural environment with barriers of language and lifestyle in a long time. Knowing that, in Vietnam some people opened a market for expats to meet each other, share difficulties and give out happiness beside exchanging goods and second-hand belongings Tay Ho weekend market in Hanoi gradually becomes a familiar spot for both foreigners and locals.


History of Tay Ho Weekend Market

Once being a fishing village in the center of the capital, Tay Ho District became more and more well-known when a paved trail surrounding Tay Lake was opened to native residents. Then, lots of expats moved to this beautiful area for entertainment purpose and even settling down. The demand for a place for meeting, purchasing fresh food or passing good second-hand belongings got higher until Tay Ho Market was established.

At first, the main sellers and customers are expats but then Tay Ho Weekend Market became more popular among Vietnamese people. It attracts plenty of buyers thanks to its warm vibe as well as the high quality of products supplied. Most of them are safe, organic and yummy as if they’re picked right in the garden and then served immediately. The market is crowded the most from the period of 9:30 am to 11:00 am on Saturday.

Why is Tay Ho Weekend Market so Special?

A bakery shop in Tay Ho market
A seller is dancing around his bakery shop

1. Western people:

Vietnam is famous for its huge number of native markets which hold the fundamental cultural values of Vietnamese people. And one of the things making Tay Ho Market so well-liked is its sellers and buyers. They are mainly foreigners from different countries in the world: Italy, Canada, France, America, Australia,… They live mostly in Tay Ho District and always find a chance to immerse themselves in Vietnamese life.

2. Happiness: Market is not only a place to exchange goods.

No one named the market but whenever mentioning Tay Ho Market, people often think of a comfortable and friendly atmosphere with melodious music and friendly smiles. Like ethnic markets on high mountains, Tay Ho Weekend Market always welcomes visitors with hospitable vibe to meet friends and countrymen after a long time.

The market is a spot not only to sell and buy but also to seek simple happiness and feel closer to their homeland when expats can find something of their mother country through accustomed culture featuring on a strange land: European style books, dishes, drinks or even furniture.

accessories and decorating items in Tay Ho weekend market

Because Tay Ho Market is structured as a traditional Vietnamese market, expats can also explore Vietnamese culture as well as lifestyle to get on well with the pace here. 

Almost all foreigners coming here don’t regard revenue as the first priority but they always  enjoy the vibe as much as possible. The biggest difficulty for expats is the language obstacle. But overcoming all those difficulties, they find ways to communicate with each other by body language, eye contact, and lovely smile. Sometimes, those ways are worth more than thousands of words.

Products in Tay Ho Market

3. Sanitary and Organic:

A very hot problem in society nowadays is food hygiene. It’s hard to find a source of vegetables or meat that can put customers’ minds at ease. Meanwhile, Tay Ho Weekend Market highly values the food hygiene so all the products on sale must be checked carefully to ensure their origin and quality. Moreover, almost all the vegetables here are grown by the buyers with quite small scale so high quality is understandable.

4. List price:

A good point of this market is that customers needn’t bargain when coming here. All the price has been listed clearly and visibly to make sure everyone can purchase at the most reasonable cost. Although the price here is quite high, to some people it’s worth that cost because of high quality and the comfort it brings out.

5. Environmentally Friendly:

One more attractive thing possessed by Tay Ho Market is the environment protection commitment. Owners of the market try to minimize the number of plastic bags and other pollutants. While many supermarkets and markets in Vietnam use plastic bags as an indispensable thing, most of the purchasers bring along their bags or the buyers will supply paper bags.

Editor’s Note: Previously, Tay Ho Market was held every Saturday but over the past few years, due to the hectic lifestyle and different schedules of many sellers, they can’t participate regularly. As a result, Tay Ho Market is now only open once in May.

What to Buy in Tay Ho Weekend Market?

Tay Ho Weekend Market has five chief areas: second-hand area, hand-made area, handicraft areas, food area and an entertainment area for children

In the second-hand area, purchasers can find a variety of different items from clothing, shoes, scarves,… to other furniture such as bookcase, desk,… which are quite new and in good condition. Sellers of those items are mostly people who are going to come back to their homeland so they want to pass their good belongings to people in need.

A clean vegetable shop in Tay Ho market
A clean vegetable shop in Tay Ho market

One of the most well – liked areas is the food one. Buyers are attracted by fresh vegetables, fragrant bread, and yummy fruit,… There are also numerous kinds of fresh mushroom ranging from straw mushroom, Chinese black mushrooms, oyster mushroom,… Expats can also find  a little bit European atmosphere here through the captivating smell of France pastry, pancake, roasted chicken, honey,…

There is a special booth  of the charity group. Some female foreigners set up this stall to raise funds for disabled and orphan children in Hanoi. The main products of this booth are old clothes and other belongings that are donated by accustomed buyers.

This market model has a positive effect on the society and also inspires other districts in the area to open much more markets like this.

Tips on Visiting Tay Ho Weekend Market

  • Compared to other market, the price at Tay Ho Market is a little higher so you need to bear in mind to avoid surprise and confusion when hearing the price. 
  • One more thing is that the location of the market is quite hard for visitors who have no personal means of transportation to approach. Because there are few buses, you had better catch a taxi.
  • Some visitors suggest that when coming to Tay Ho Market for entertainment purpose, you can consider other interesting destinations around West Lake and some delicious eateries like Bánh Tôm Hồ Tây (Tripadvisor) (Crisp Shrimp Pastry). This dish is available nearly all around the country, but it is the best to taste Crisp Shrimp Pastry at West Lake Restaurant (Hồ Tây restaurant) located on the banks of Truc Bạc Lake. It should be eaten as soon as being served on the table. Fried pastry topped onto red shrimps served with spicy veggies and mixed sour and sweet sauce. 

Tay Ho Market is such a special model of market that everybody should try at least once in life. If you’re a local, you’ll find a good chance to communicate with different people in many cultures and languages. If you’re an expat, Tay Ho Market is an ideal place for you to relieve your homesickness and also find a way to immerse yourself in the local life.

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