For Joseph Duemer, a US poet cum professor from Clarkson University, he found Hanoi’s Old Quarter unique because it is the place one could find the essence and spirit of Hanoi, if they are looking for them.
|Hanoi's Old Quarter at night |
According to this poet, the specialty of Hanoi’s Old Quarter can be seen in its food. In Western countries, Vietnamese food is famous for its light and spicy taste, thanks to talented chefs migrating from Vietnam. However, Vietnamese food served in Hanoi’s Old Quarter is quite different from that in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Montreal or London. That is the reason he frequently enjoys “bánh gối” (fried pillow-shaped cake with noodles, minced pork and boiled eggs inside) at 29 Luong Van Can Street.
Hang Ma, Hang Quat and Hang Thiec are the streets he loves the most in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, because they are among the few streets retaining their traditional trades. As this US poet said, these streets might have a longer history than other streets, including Hang Duong selling mass-produced clothes.
Joseph Duemer also finds Café Quynh to be the quietest place in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Thus, he advises someone on Bat Dan Street at 8am to drop in this café to enjoy a cup of beer or lemonade, while watching children playing or contemplating the crowd at the small phở restaurant just opposite. Moreover, they could just take a seat in the most ancient area in Hanoi, think over which wind brings them there and thank their muse in their own way.
“Streets are peaceful. Today is special and wonderful for me to explore Hanoi”, Wade Clark, a native in San Francisco, the USA, said on the first day of the lunar New Year in Vietnam. For this tourist, that first day in Vietnam was really quiet and different from in the USA.
Sharing the same feeling, John Pear, a Canadian, confided that he loved the first days of the lunar New Year because of the quiet and pure atmosphere. Experiencing three Tet holidays in Vietnam, John admitted that the first day was the nicest and quietest day of the year in Hanoi.
Meanwhile, Sara, a tourist from Texas, experienced several things which came as a surprise to her. Sara wrote on her own social network’s page that she loved cycling around Hanoi after 2am when she could explore various interesting things, such as safety at night, in contrast to that in US cities. She was also surprised at seeing bikes carry bags of gold fish on the streets.
Like other people in the world, Vietnamese people are keen on football. However, they celebrate the victory of the national football squad differently. Whenever the Vietnamese squad wins an important match, downtown streets are turned into seas of people in red riding motorbikes and shouting “Vietnam, the Champion”.
Notably, in his book, US professor Mark Rapoport, after nine years living in Vietnam, shared that he has 101 reasons to love living in Hanoi – the city of industrious workers and young love. Typical reasons include the people – the most hospitable, truthful, warmest, the hardest-working, least-complaining, most optimistic folks anywhere; Vietnamese tolerance; a true Asian city where it is easy to go walking on clean and animated streets, a city which is an extremely safe place where teenagers can go walking and explore every corner without their parental chaperones.
Translated by Mai Huong