Hanoi authorities plan to pedestrianise six more streets in the Old Quarter by the end of this year.
The proposed streets are Hang Buom, Hang Giay, Luong Ngoc Quyen, Ma May, Dao Duy Tu and Ta Hien. They will be closed to motorised transport on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 7pm to 12pm. At the moment just Hang Dao and Dong Xuan are pedestrianised on those days from 7pm to 12pm.
Do Xuan Thuy, director of the Dong Xuan Joint Stock Company and head of the project, said the scheme would benefit local businesses by bringing more tourists to the area.
"As on Hang Dao and Dong Xuan streets, there will be vendors and small restaurants selling food and drink to pedestrians. The Old Quarter has great potential as a tourist attraction. It will serve to promote Vietnamese cuisine."
A survey by the company found that about 50 of the 160 households on the six streets currently sold food and drink, in addition to some 50 food vendors.
However, Thuy added that city authorities would ensure that restaurants and street vendors must meet hygiene standards and properly dispose of their waste.
Thuy said that on Luong Ngoc Quyen and Ta Hien streets, which are popular with foreigners, the company would set up booths selling traditional food.
He also said his company would ensure there was enough street parking for vehicles outside the pedestrianised area.
"It's a good idea to build a centre of culinary art in Hanoi as my friends and I can experience more and more traditional dishes in this country at night without the annoyance of cars and motorbikes," Australian tourist John Clark said.
John, who has been living in Vietnam for three years, said he loved the food here but sometimes worried about hygiene.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Hoai Nam, who lives in Dao Duy Tu street, welcomed the pedestrianisation plan. "To have a few hours without the noise and pollution caused by cars and motorbikes would be wonderful."