Hanoi Local Customs

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Best Rated Local Customs in Hanoi

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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.

    Chung cake Vietnamese sausage (Gio Cha) Spring roll (Nem ran) Vietnamese Pickled onions ( Hanh muoi) Vietnamese Dried pig skin (canh bong)
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    Women with Balancing Poles

    by Wild_Orchid Updated Apr 28, 2006

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    A common sight in Vietnam are vendors in the unmistakable Vietnamese conical hat. These women walk from street to street and place to place to hawk their wares, which are usually food or fruits such as mangoes, strawberries and the local star apple.

    I bought some mangoes from one of the vendors. Just carrying the 2 kilos with me to the airport and back home to Malaysia was a real chore. I guess most of us cannot imagine how hard these women work...to make a living.

    vendors on foot street vendor taking a break
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  • kokoryko's Profile Photo

    Prepare to fight for the fatherland!

    by kokoryko Written Jan 19, 2008

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    The Chinese invaded Viet Nam several times, the French colonised Tonkin and Annam, the Americans “napalmed” villages and cities and defoliated thousands of square kilometres of forests, but all learned to know the bitter taste of defeat!
    Military training is apparently a very important custom in Vietnam, and walking in the streets you may often come across groups of young people, school pupils attending military training. The photographs here have been taken in public parks (in the morning), on several occasions south and east of Hoan Kiem lake.
    I personally HATE militarism, military marches, weapons, uniforms, “homogeneous” crowds or herds etc. etc. . . but have respect for freedom, people who defend their faith, ideas, beliefs, their group or person. . . well, no space here to discuss about! Thinking about with historical background and examples is part of real tourism to me. And here, my understanding is that recent history may in some way be responsible for these brainwashing sessions, which are felt necessary by government and people. Sad but I can understand in some way
    Ah, the brainwashing session is not that bad, the young people smile and wink at the foreigner looking at them!(Picture5)

    Listen guys! look, they are not all concentrated. Learning defense (or agression?) No video game, this is real game!! Your turn. . . And here other victims of brainwashing. . .
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    Street Chess

    by Wild_Orchid Updated Apr 13, 2005

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    You will encounter many interesting people in the streets of Hanoi. For example, we came across this group of men who were playing some kind of board game right on the side walk itself.

    As I didn't know what game it was, I figured it to be some kind of street chess.

    I've been experimenting with the pics so it turned out kind of funny. Ooops- sorry about that!

    street chess
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    GIFTS

    by balhannah Written Sep 22, 2009

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    So, you are in Vietnam with your girfriend, and you want to impress her!
    Why not buy her a gift like the Vietnamese do!

    Pictured, is what my Cyclo Driver told me, what Boyfriends buy and give to their Vietnamese girlfriends.

    I actually did see a young man on a Motorbike, with a woman on the back, and she was holding one of these.
    Is it chocolates, I don't know, just a different gift idea.

    Present for the girlfriend

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    STREET VENDORS

    by balhannah Written Sep 23, 2009

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    On your wanders around Hanoi, you will come across many street vendors, selling all kinds of goods.

    Sometimes, the fruit vendor, may let you try a piece of fruit.
    If you decide to buy, remember to bargain, as the price will be higher than norm, because you are a tourist.

    AND.................

    Sometimes, before you know it, you will have a fruit carrying basket plonked on your shoulders, with them wanting to take a photo of you, OF COURSE, FOR MONEY!
    It all happens very quick.

    A street vendor weighing the vegees

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    HAIRCUTS

    by balhannah Updated Sep 23, 2009

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    Plenty of places to get that haircut, for men only? not sure.

    A Barber jokenly asked me if I wanted a hair cut, well, I think it was said as a joke. I never did see a woman getting her hair cut at one of the sidwalk Barbers!

    Barbers will set up their "shop" in lines along the sidewalk each morning.

    A cut from one of these "street salons" is about 10,000 dong

    Street barbers
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    Hanoi Mid-autumn festival

    by hientonkin Updated Sep 25, 2005

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    Mid- Autumn Festival is for the children especially, that's why in Hang Ma street - the joss-paper street of Hanoi , is all in red colour. Traditional toys and modern toys are selling here from the 1st of August lunar month.
    Vietnamese people have moon cake for this festival. So sweet I must say! But it's worth to try. :) Favourite toys of children that day are star - lanterns and masks.

    Uncle Ho! hehe, you want to taste it ? They all look goooooo Father and daughter True colour!!!
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  • kokoryko's Profile Photo

    Biker is a very strenuous job in Hanoi!

    by kokoryko Written Jan 19, 2008

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    During the day, walking in the streets, you may see lots of these guys having a rest on their bike! The pictures here demonstrate following: if these guys are able to sleep on their narrow bike, they must be very dexterous in the traffic! So do not be scared when taking that kind of transportation, guys sleeping on their bikes must be good at driving. But all guys sleeping on their bikes are not taxis, so do not wake them up for a ride, you never know in what mood they wake up. . . . . Ah! The guy on the third picture is a goods transporter, he has no space on his vehicle. . . . and the biker on the fourth picture just woke up

    I could not do that! How nice to sleep. . . . Delivery will wait. . . . I even take off my shoes. . .
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    Les amoureux des bancs publics

    by kokoryko Updated Mar 5, 2008

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    No, it is not voyeurism! In Hanoi, you may be surprised by the number of young couples, walking hand in hand, sitting on benches, kissing as if nobody is around. . . refreshing view to me, optimism, just beauty of life! Nothing more, and it remembers me an old song from Georges Brassens, an anarchist poet and singer, famous in France in the sixty-seventies. . . listen to Les amoureux qui se bécotent sur les bancs publics, which mocks people scandalized by what they see on public benches. . . . I blurred the faces of the protagonists, when it is possible to recognize them, I do not want to trigger possible conjugal problems!
    Is it not refreshing?

    Tortoise Tower Hoan Kiem Lake In a park On the shore of a lake Ho Tay Lake
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    Lowlights of Vietnam

    by hientonkin Written Aug 11, 2006

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    This is the conclusion of a Swiss expat living in Hanoi, which was on the Pathfinder 2005. Enjoy!

    HONEY'S HORROR

    5. "HELLO MOTO"
    The prennial hoohoo-ing of xe om drivers is as much a part of Vietnamese life as Pho. Is there anything more annouing that the strange mating call of the sadly unendangered species that greets you every morning as you walk down the same road? Admittedly now I find the noise a pretty accurate modd swing barometer.

    4. Why did the chicken cross the road...
    Because he had a death wish. Timidly stepping forwards like young chicks, edging slowly across, between the never-ending stream of motorbikes, to the safe-haven of the adjacent pavement, only to find it cluttered with food stalls. Mind you sitting at a good advantage point cafe watching fresh travellers trying to negociate their way through the motorbikes is a valid of top 5 experience.

    3. Whingeing Poms
    Whingeing certainly ismt confined to the sceptred isle. What is worse than hearing a fellow expat slagging of the the Vietnamese, from the comforts of a western cafe or air conditioned house overlooking the West Lake. And if I never hear another " he called me fat " conversation well it still will to be many. If you dont like it why stay.

    2. Pennies from heaven
    This really should be number one, but I've only heard of it through the grapevine. Sitting on a motorbike and having a bag of vomit, chucked from a passing bus, land on your lap, or worse still smack into your motorbike helmet. Yuck!

    1. Xe om smells
    " I love the smell of a xe om drivers shirt in the morning". Not really, but still, as bad as their mating call is, it's that ditinctive, higly toxic smell that gets my number one award. It's almost enough to make you wear a motorbike helmet.

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    Not a surprise the imperialists have been expelled

    by kokoryko Updated Jan 18, 2008

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    The inhabitants of Hanoi have an incredible sense of discipline! Do you see the difference on pictures 1 and 2? One has been taken before December 14th 2007 and the second one after December 14th 2007! Yes! From one day to the other the motor bikers changed from driving without helmet to drive with helmet; the law making helmets compulsory was applicable from that date and it was a surprise to see suddenly all these helmets on the streets, as there were very few, one day before; may be government and police are very strict, whatever, all these people followed the rule, and it may have a link with long historical sense of discipline. . . .
    The two next pictures are also from before and after 14th of december and the last picture is from December 13th evening. . . . some shops were very busy!

    Before Dec. 14th After Dec. 14th Before Dec. 14th After Dec. 14th Dec. 13th night : busy shop
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    SNAKE & SCORPION WINE

    by balhannah Written Sep 23, 2009

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    In Vietnam, you will see a lot of Snake Or Scorpion wine for sale at Tourist shops. These can be bought in all size bottles, and are very attractive to buy for a 'DIFFERENT SOUVENIR'
    The small bottles only cost $1 - $2.

    Just be aware of what you can bring back into your home country.
    You may not be allowed to take it home, and end up losing it at customs!

    At least it is cheap, so declare, and see what happens, it makes a good talking point!

    What you can buy!

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    Tasting Vietnamese Salad Roll

    by Cindyviet Written Nov 21, 2013

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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.

    Vietnamese Salad Roll - Gỏi Cuốn Vietnamese Salad Roll - Gỏi Cuốn Vietnamese Salad Roll - Gỏi Cuốn Vietnamese Salad Roll - Gỏi Cuốn Vietnamese Salad Roll - Gỏi Cuốn
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    Bargaining

    by skydivefred Written Jun 7, 2004

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    Vietnamese people are very tough at bargaining, a lot more than chinese people for instance.
    If you happen to buy souvenirs and stuff, here are a couple of advice:
    1/ learn a bit of vietnamese, not much but a little and especially the figures, greeting expressions.
    They will smile and the atmosphere will be lighter.
    2/ Always use humour, don' t get annoyed.
    3/ Go late in the evening, they will have had a good day already, they'll be tired and if you insist a little the prices will go down as far as 50-60%
    Be wide awake yourself. take a nap in the afternoon!!!! a little trired and you yield easily, they know it !!
    3/ Pretend (if it is not true) that you've been there several times and yes you know this is way too much.
    4/ If you are not desparate for buying an item and you see you can't lower the price significantly, then, drop it, and go away. they may run after you.
    In a nut shell,: always look as if you have all your wits under control, always try to appear that you dominate the situation.
    But don't forget, Vietnamese people are tough but fun to bargain with if you know how to keep your temper.
    Never forget this is a game.

    Let's go Bargain !!
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Hanoi Local Customs

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