Hanoi Local Customs

  • Local Customs
    by shavy
  • Local Customs
    by shavy
  • Local Customs
    by Assenczo

Most Recent Local Customs in Hanoi

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    Local transport

    by shavy Written Mar 4, 2014
    Crammed dogs in wire cage
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    The primary method of transportation is the motorbike. They are everywhere and serve both as personal transportation as well as cargo transportation.

    I've seen enough motorbikes everywhere. They carry everything in this kind of transport, unbelievable!
    My first experience of seeing someone using a bike for transportation was here in Vietnam who had carry dogs crammed into a wire cage on the back of their bike (poor dogs)

    It's not usual to see a whole family riding on a single motorbike, but here they do
    Families with small children behind the bikes, it doesn't seem very safe for small kids in the motorbikes

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    Turnaround

    by Assenczo Updated Feb 19, 2014

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    Vietnamese temples are curious places to visit. Visually they are very similar to their Chinese counterparts but contents tend to differ due to the personas worshipped. Usually it is not Buddha and most likely there are going to be two or three of them - generals, kings and so on. So far so good until a bizarre element comes into the picture when the deity or deities in question are pampered and revered with the help of fake money. Vietnamese dong is the currency of the country but this does not mean that this is the currency preferred by the deities. They seem to have a weakness for fake US dollars so they receive tonnes of them. Probably because prosperity, carnal and spiritual, has only one message and it goes: “In God We Trust”!

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    Typical Dishes for Vietnamese Tet

    by Cindyviet Updated Nov 21, 2013

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    Tet is the biggest and most important holiday to Vietnamese. It is the chance for family union and enjoy the traditional dishes. In this aticle, I would like to introduce you some typical Vietnamese Tet dishes. If you visit Vietnam on Tet holiday, don’t miss the chance to enjoy and make it for yourself to wholeheartedly experience the atmosphere of Vietnamese Tet.

    1. Chung cake

    Banh Chung" (Chung cake) is a traditional and irreplaceable cake of Vietnamese people in the Tet Holidays.For the Vietnamese, making "Banh Chung" is the ideal way to express gratitude to their ancestors and homeland. In the ancient conception, the Earth is square, hence Chung cake's shape is square, too, to reflect the Earth shape. Besides, it emphasizes the important role of rice and nature in water rice civilization.. Main ingredients are sticky rice, pork meat, and green beans wrapped in a Dong leaves that will give the rice a green color after boiling. Making Chung cake is time-consuming and requires the contribution of several people. In making bánh chưng, all members of the family gather with different tasks, from washing the dong leaves, mixing the pork with spices, preparing the green beans and most important wrapping all ingredients in square form . Boiling the cakes takes about 6-8 hours. When sitting around the warm fire, all members in the family tell one another the past stories and are ready for a New Year with wishes of best things. It is always the typical memory to each Vietnamese about Tet.

    2. Vietnamese sausage (Gio Cha)

    Gio Cha is a very traditional fine dish of Vietnamese cuisine. Although culinary taste differs from the North, the Middle and the South of Vietnam, people have a common dish on a traditional Tet menu. Gio Cha is a must have item. It is served along with Chung cake in almost dining table of Vietnamese families
    Vietnamese sausage is made from very simple ingredients but in fact it requires lots of experience to select the finest ingredients.


    3. Vietnamese Pickled onions ( Hanh muoi)

    Picked onions is the dish sour, fresh and low-calorie to balance among the various dishes on Tet. And for many Vietnamese generations, pickled onions have been a cannot-be-missed dish during Tet holiday. Vietnamese pickled onions also serve as a natural medicine for better digestion after high protein meals. The typical aromatic, crispy and sour taste of pickled onions going with fat jellied meat and tasty sticky rice cake awakens the Tet atmosphere in every family dinner.

    4. Vietnamese Dried pig skin (canh bong)

    It is a kind of soup in Vietnam which is made from dehydrated fried pork skin soaked in a broth sweetened by dried mushrooms, prawns, and fresh vegetables.

    5. Spring roll (Nem ran)

    Since long time ago, Spring roll has been a familiar dish on the menu at all household during Tet. Its ingredients comprises mince pork, sea crabs, eggs, vermicelli noodles, mushroom, dried onions, pepper, salt, fish sauce. The mixture is then rolled in flat rice cakes and fried in a pan until crispy. Spring rolls are eaten hot with fish sauce is diluted slightly with a splash of lime juice, sugar, chilies and garlic. Papaya and a few fresh scented vegetables are added.

    6. Dried Bamboo soup

    It is an indispensable dish during the feast for Tet of people in northern Vietnam. The dish shows the culinary cultural features of Vietnamese people who often make dishes from materials found in the forests and mountainous areas.

    7. Candied fruits- Mut

    Mut Tet (Tet jam) is not a food to serve in a meal during Tet holiday, but more like a snack to welcome guests in this special period. Mut is always kept in beautiful boxes and placed at the table in the living room, and it is the main food for the owners and guests to taste when they’re talking, enjoyed over a cup of tea.

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    Tasting Vietnamese Salad Roll

    by Cindyviet Written Nov 21, 2013

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    Vietnamese Salad Roll - Gỏi Cuốn
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    Goi Cuon is a Vietnamese appetizer that translates to salad roll. These soft, uncooked rolls make a refreshing change to deep-fried spring rolls. Nutritious fillings including shrimp, fresh vegetables and aromatic herbs are wrapped in delicate rice paper sheets and served cold with a traditional Vietnamese dipping sauce. This classic snack is known by many names, Summer Roll, Salad Roll, Fresh Roll, Vietnamese Roll, ... Whatever you want to call it, it's delicious, healthy and one of my favorite things to eat.
    The most common ingredients included in Vietnamese salad rolls are carrots, lettuce, bean sprouts and cucumbers. Each of the vegetables is either chopped into smaller pieces or sliced to make long strips that fill the length of the roll. In addition to the vegetables, very thin rice noodles also are included. The noodles need to be pre-cooked before being placed in the rolls and are sometimes tossed, while still hot, with the vegetables and some sesame oil to warm the ingredients.
    Meats, proteins or seafood are part of most Vietnamese salad rolls. This traditionally includes fried pork and prawns, although just about any meat can be used. Strips of fried firm tofu, shrimp, lobster, chicken and beef can all be found in various recipes. Whatever is used, the protein is cut to size so it will fit inside the roll, but it is not finely diced. Instead, thin strips or bite-size chunks are more common.
    Assembling Vietnamese salad rolls starts with the rice paper wrapper. These are usually sold in flat, dry, cracker-like sheets that must be reconstituted in warm water for a few seconds. After they are moist, some recipes call for a layer of hoisin sauce or hot chili sauce to be spread in the center of the rice paper. The vegetables and rice noodles are placed in the center, followed by the meat and fresh herbs such as cilantro or basil. The rice paper is then folded and rolled until it forms a tight envelope around the ingredients, which will be visible if they are touching the paper.
    Salad rolls are extremely popular with the Vietnamese, especially among students from secondary school through collage. Gỏi Cuốn are meant to be eaten by hand and dipped into the sauce of choice, typically using quite a bit of sauce per bite. Usually sold per piece in Vietnam, the price for each can vary from roughly the equivalent of 10 cents to 40 cents US, although the cost may be much more in high class restaurants. While not overly pricey, like most meals in SE Asia they are never as inexpensive when served in the west.
    Goi Cuon is now a regular part of meals served at most Vietnamese restaurants, and while the ingredients have certainly changed somewhat in order to better suit Western palates the basics are still more or less the same as the original. It’s these fresh ingredients which create the flavor that make Gỏi Cuốn the favorite that it is.

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    Salted or sugared dry fruits –a specialty of Hanoi

    by Cindyviet Written Nov 21, 2013

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    O mai Hanoi
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    Ô mai” (Salted or sugared dry fruits) has always been recognized as a famous Vietnamese snack. It is favored by a lot of Vietnamese people, especially women. It is a perfect combination of the sour taste of apricot, the saltiness of sour, the spicy of ginger and the natural sweetness of liquorices. “Ô mai” is always used during Tết Holiday (aka Lunar New Year) and is a favorite gift for Vietabroaders. “Ô mai” has a lot of flavors to serve your preference.
    Maybe, no where in the world can find the special nosh more delicious than in Capital city of Hanoi, Vietnam with “O mai”. For the past years, “o mai”, salted or sugared dry fruits, was a favorite not particularly with Hanoian. Time is passing through and this speciality is now becoming a popular snack and an expected gift for all Vietnamese people, Vietnamese oversea also.
    The oldest and most famous type of “Ô mai” ever known may be apricots, following dracontomelum, star, tamarind, kumquat, pineaple, canari, lemon, mango. As increasing demand and different taste of customer, o mai makers are now adding more fruits from all regions to adapt from traditional recipe.
    The variation of flavor of O mai from sour, hot, salted, to sweet has enchanted many visitors to Hanoi. Nowadays, coming to Hanoi, after a visit to Hanoi Old Quarter, you should get the Hàng Đường (Hang Duong) or Hang Ngang, Pho Hue where the most delicious and wonderful ô mai are sold. Interestingly, at these shop, you can feel free to tast all kind of o mai before paying for the most favorite. Ô mai is a delicious affordable gift for your friends each time you came to Hanoi.

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    Sandworm omelettee -a specialty of Hanoi in autumn

    by Cindyviet Written Nov 21, 2013

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    - is a scarce specialty of Hanoi and North Vietnam
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    “Cha ruoi” ( Sandworm omelettee )- is a scarce specialty of Hanoi and North Vietnam, because the nereididae sandworm only can be found in a short season. “Cha ruoi” which is crispy outside, soft inside, greasy and the delicious smell pervades all the guests is often sold at O Quan Chuong, in Lo Duc st and Gia Ngu st.

    Cha ruoi is not available all year round. Sandworm is a type of sand worm that can only be found from the end of September to the middle of October. The short season is why Hanoians regard Cha Ruoi as a special but expensive gift from nature.

    The sand worm doesn’t live in Hanoi – it lives in the mangroves and wetlands along the coast. In the capital, cha ruoi is a delicacy this time of year – the delicious smell of it cooking is very pervasive, a temptation to passers-by. The combination of fried Sandworm and egg is irresistible. It is usually served with vermicelli, salad and fish sauce.

    The cool change of autumn is coming, so it’s about time to taste Cha Ruoi and enjoy the sweet gift of nature.

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    Hanoi Traditional Dishes

    by Cindyviet Written Nov 21, 2013

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    Hanoi people are famous for the simple but subtle cuisine. As time goes by, the capital’s food is more and more affirmed its important position in Vietnamese culinary culture. Besides the variety, the cuisine of Hanoi still keeps its traditional feature.
    The following introduce 10 simple and delicious dishes of Hanoi which are existed for a long time.

    1. Pho - Hanoi Noodle

    First thing to remember when talking about Hanoi is “Pho” or noodle soup. “Pho is a special gift ofHanoi, not just only in Hanoi, but because only in Hanoi that it is delicious”, Thach Lam wrote.
    The traditional Pho of Hanoi is famous for the soft noodles, pure and sweet broth, the tender and flavor beef. There are many delicious booths of Pho in Hanoi, such as: Pho Suong - Dinh Liet St, Traditional Pho - Bat Dan St, Pho Thin - Lo Duc, Pho Cuong - Hang Muoi St…

    2. Bun Cha (vermicelli with grilled meat)

    “Bun cha” (vermicelli with grilled meat) is known as a particular gift which Hanoi sent to all over the country. It is the delicious of the well-grilled meats and the sweet-and-sour sauce that grab every guest’s footstep. Bun cha in Dong Xuan market lane, 14 Hang Than st, 81alley Lac Long Quan st or pavement at the intersection of Nguyen Du and Ba Trieu st… is some good address for this dish.

    3. Bun thang (vermicelli in chicken soup)

    With nearly 20 ingredients, “bun thang” (vermicelli in chicken soup) is the dish that the cooking method requires the scrupulousness, care and sophistication of the cook, and also is one of the typical dishes containing innumerable quintessence of Hanoi’s culinary. Vermicelli is put in large bowls, ornamented on the surface with thin omelet, lean meat pie, chipped pork… then poured with hot consommé. Some recommended addresses: Hang Hanh st, Cau Go st, 11 Hang Hom st, 11 Ha Hoi st…

    4. Cha ca La Vong (La Vong fried fish dish)

    “Cha ca La Vong” (La Vong fried fish dish) is the perfect combination of typical Vietnam’s spices such as: saffron, fennel, shrimp paste and fish sauce. All of those mix together into a unique, incredibly delicious and attractive dish. Cha ca La Vong is always in the list of foods that can’t be ignored by foreign visitors once coming to Hanoi. The famous restaurant is located at 14 Cha Ca st.

    5. Banh Cuon Thanh Tri (rice rolls)

    “Banh cuon Thanh Tri” (rice rolls) is a traditional dish which is made of rice-flour. It has the very thin and light roll covered by a yellow fried-onions layers, dipped in the tasty sauce with some roasted cinnamon porks (“cha que”). Nowadays, you can eat “banh cuon” in everywhere, but those made in Hanoi, especially “banh cuon Thanh Tri”, still have their specific characteristics.

    6. Cha Ruoi

    “Cha ruoi” is a scarce speciality of Hanoi, because the nereididae sandworm only can be found in a short season. “Cha ruoi” which is crispy outside, soft inside, greasy and the delicious smell pervades all the guests is often sold at O Quan Chuong, in Lo Duc st and Gia Ngu st.
    7. Banh Ran- (fried cake)
    “Banh ran” (fried cake) is a popular cake in Hanoi, but “banh ran luc lac” or shaken fried cake is a traditional dish of Hanoi’s people. Its outer shell is made from glutinous rice flour, covered with roasted sesame. Especially, the filling made from sweetened mung bean paste is separated from the shell so that when you shake the ball cake, you can feel the rattled of it inside the shell. You can buy “banh ran luc lac” at 21 Le Dai Hanh st or 16A Ly Nam De st.

    8. Bun Oc (Cold snail noodle)

    Cold snail noodle (Cold snail noodle) is particular dish of Hanoi. It’s not easy to find the place where served this dish and not so many people can cook it well. Its consommé is a little sweet, fresh, sour and salty enough with the fragrant of ginger, the pungent of chili. You can find it at 202F Doi Can st or at O Quan Chuong.

    9. Cha Nhai (frog omelette)

    With Hanoi’s gourmets, “cha nhai” is a special food of Hanoi alone. The frog is chopped both meat and bones, crushed well, mixed with spices, chili, citronella, lime leaves… and deep fried in boiling oil pan. Then, we have a fragrant food that is a favorite dish of many people. The most delicious “cha nhai” is sold at Khuong Thuong st.

    10. Com ( grilled green rice)

    When the autumn wind comes is also the time that “Com” (grilled green rice) is appeared in many streets in Hanoi. “Com” is made from green sticky rice that is harvested in blossom period, roasted in many times, crashed and sieved. When eating com, you must eat slowly and chew very deliberately in order to appreciate all the scents, tastes, and plasticity of the young rice. Com is used in many specialities ofVietnam, including com xao (browned com), banh com (com cakes), che com (sweetened com soups), etc. You can find “com” everywhere in Hanoi, but the most delicious “com” is processed in Vong Village, where com making has been a professional skill for many generations.
    There are many tasty dishes you should enjoy when visiting Hanoi. Come here, and feel the soul of Hanoi’ cuisine!

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    Salted or sugared dry fruits - A Hanoi specialty

    by Elizviet Written Nov 19, 2013

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    Salted or sugared dry fruits - A Hanoi specialty
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    Ô mai” has always been recognized as a famous Vietnamese snack. It is favored by a lot of Vietnamese people, especially women. It is a perfect combination of the sour taste of apricot, the saltiness of sour, the spicy of ginger and the natural sweetness of liquorices. “Ô mai” is always used during Tết Holiday (aka Lunar New Year) and is a favorite gift for Vietabroaders. “Ô mai” has a lot of flavors to serve your preference. My favorite is strawberry and dracontomelon. Actually, I have just received a package from my mom which included 2 boxes of “Ô mai”. That really made my day!!

    Maybe, no where in the world can find the special nosh more delicious than in Capital city of Hanoi, Vietnam with “O mai”. For the past years, “o mai”, salted or sugared dry fruits, was a favorite not particularly with Hanoian. Time is passing through and this speciality is now becoming a popular snack and an expected gift for all Vietnamese people, Vietnamese oversea also.

    The oldest and most famous type of “Ô mai” ever known may be apricots, following dracontomelum, star, tamarind, kumquat, pineaple, canari, lemon, mango. As increasing demand and different taste of customer, o mai makers are now adding more fruits from all regions to adapt from traditional recipe.

    The variation of flavor of O mai from sour, hot, salted, to sweet has enchanted many visitors to Hanoi. Nowadays, coming to Hanoi, after a visit to Hanoi Old Quarter, you should get the Hàng Đường (Hang Duong) or Hang Ngang, Pho Hue where the most delicious and wonderful ô mai are sold. Interestingly, at these shop, you can feel free to tast all kind of o mai before paying for the most favorite. Ô mai is a delicious affordable gift for your friends each time you came to Hanoi.

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    Coffee in Hanoi

    by Elizviet Written Oct 30, 2013

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    coffee in Hanoi
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    Coffee is not strange in any city in the world. However Hanoi coffee is unique, it becomes the culture of Hanoian or any people who like to try coffee in Hanoi.Coffee was introduced into Vietnam by French colonists in the late 19th century. Vietnam quickly became a strong exporter of coffee with many plantations in the central highlands. The beverage was adopted with regional variations. Because of limitations on the availability of fresh milk, the French and Vietnamese began to use sweetened condensed milk with a dark roast coffee. Today, Hanoians like to drink coffee in the morning time. In fact, sitting on small chair in pavement with a glass of coffee become the popular image of Hanoian.Besides a cup of coffee with sweet milk or a spoonful of sugar, Hanoians creates new ways to enjoy coffee in Hanoi that are egg coffee and yogurt coffee. The egg coffee is made with normal black Vietnamese coffee and egg yolk with milk and sugar. It states a bit like tiramisu on the top, very creamy and rich.

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    Tall narrow houses

    by ValbyDK Updated Mar 2, 2013

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    Houses in Hanoi

    Many houses in Hanoi are built very tall, but also very narrow. It used to be that taxes were paid by the width of the frontage of the house, and this led to the long and thin “tube” houses of Hanoi.

    Today, the land in Hanoi is so expensive that new houses are still built tall and narrow. Amazing to see some of the constructions – many houses rises 7 or 8 floors.

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    Wedding photos

    by ValbyDK Updated Mar 2, 2013

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    Wedding couple

    In Hanoi (and Vietnam in general) it is a tradition to have wedding photos taken at various famous places around town. Therefore, it is very common to see a wedding couple outside temples, museums and so on.

    You always get a big smile and a thank you in return when you congrat them.

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    Cultural Dos & Don'ts in Vietnam

    by thuyduongvn Written Feb 10, 2013

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    Do:
    -When you visit someone's house, say "hello" to the oldest person first and then the second oldest and on... Do the same when you leave.
    -Dress modestly when you visit pagodas or temples.
    -Left your shoes outside someone's house before entering .
    -When you give something to people who is older than you, give it with both hands.
    -Ask for permission when you want to take someone's photo. If they don't want you to, they will become angry.
    -Take your shoes off at the entrance of the places of worship. We Vietnamese believe that if you go into pagodas with your shoes on, you will have bad luck in your next life after you pass away.
    -Dress well with colorful clothes when in the wedding or in Tet holiday.

    **************
    Don't:
    -Sit with your feet (or your back) pointing towards a family altar.
    -Make noise at noon (from 12pm to 3pm) because Vietnamese usually take a nap at that time.
    -Show your feelings in front of people (who is not closed to you) when you're sad or in pain or something like that because that's the sign of weekness and impoliteness, sometimes. You should keep your face normal.
    -Touch people's head.
    -Dress clothes with bright colors when in the funerals.

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    WEAR A PARTICLE MASK AS LOCALS DO!!

    by DennyP Written Feb 6, 2012

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    BUY AND WEAR A PARTICLE MASK WHILE TRAVELLING HERE
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    HANOI
    When in Hanoi..Do as the locals do!! Wear a face mask to avoid the bad pollution from traffic fumes..Now when Im ever anywhere in a really bad polluted city as they are here in vietnam I always carry with me and wear a particle face mask...The risks are worse for people with pulmonary problems as asthma and bronchitis as the pollution can cause a bad Asthma attack that can have disasterous consequences.
    These masks can be purchased from supermarkets, street vendors and market places..Due to the fact that there are literally millions and millions of motorcycles in Vietnam the traffic pollution is horrendous.Take care and wear a mask...When in Rome.!!!

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    US Dollars vs VND

    by earthflyer Written Oct 29, 2011

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    Having both US Dollars and local currency, The Dong will not be a problem.

    I used Us Dollars to pay for things like hotels, resturants, travel etc... and kept the local currency for small things. Never had any problems.

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    Yes, No, Yes, No

    by hientonkin Updated Aug 11, 2010

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    Rule No 1: When a Vietnamese say Yes. Dont take it as YES.
    Dont put out a question like " You dont have it for sales,do you?"
    Most of people will say YES - which actually mean You are right, i dont have it for sales!
    Or they will say NO - which means NO, you are not right, WE HAVE IT FOR SALES!!

    Ok, it can be very confusing..... So be patient and repeat your question. It sounds silly, but you better be sure, do not give up.

    Again, when someone say Yes to everything you said. It does not mean Yes, he/she may not understand but still saying yes. It's dangerous and you may end up having arguments if you are buying something from them.

    Rule No 2: When you say something, people keep smiling and nodding. it may means THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND.
    Vietnamese will not usually say " I dont understand". So make sure to say something in between of the conversation like " do you know what I mean?"

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Hanoi Local Customs

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