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“The Asia you see in the TV” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Old Quarter

Old Quarter
Hanoi, Vietnam
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Visit Old Quarter like an insider
Private Tour
$50*
and up
Private Tour: Hanoi City Full-Day Tour including...
Ranked #1 of 185 things to do in Hanoi
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Activities: Shopping, City walk sightseeing
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Hanoi’s lively Old Quarter comprises nearly 40 streets packed with shops selling all kinds of goods, each street named for its primary good or service.
Beijing, China
Top Contributor
164 reviews 164 reviews
81 attraction reviews
Reviews in 60 cities Reviews in 60 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
“The Asia you see in the TV”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2013

If you are looking for the very busy small streets, full of bargains and people around... this is the place to go.
we got to Old Quarter by "bike" that by the way is another unique experience. i would say if you are in Ha Noi, this is a must see.

Visited September 2013
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Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Terrific traffic but lots to explore on food & lifestyle”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2013

Did not like to cross the roads due to fear in the beginning., but
getting used to it after a day. Enjoyed sitting on the low chair within the compound of Bir Hoi to enjoy economical local beer at usd0.30 per glass, watching people, bikes and cars passing by.
When there was a polis car coming, all the people sitting on the low chair 'on the street' ie outside the Bir Hoi had to stand up for the chair to be moved in...4 times within an hour at around 8 pm, interesting scene.

Visited September 2013
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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Awesome!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2013

We had several really brilliant days here, just wandering around. There is just so much you can get here.

Visited September 2013
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Luzon, Philippines
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Hot Bargains and Affordable food.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2013

Souvenirs, shirts, sandals and Vietnamese goods is very affordable. Don't miss the night market (Friday-Sunday) which offers better deal.

Visited September 2013
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Auckland Region, New Zealand
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140 reviews 140 reviews
82 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
144 helpful votes 144 helpful votes
“Fabulous street food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2013

Personally, I really enjoyed Hanoi. It felt more genuinely like Vietnam to me than Saigon and I loved the street food. The Old Quarter does have a lot of tourists but (in the Low Season when I went) it has tons of locals as well. This is all about genuine street food (rather than pizza and Heineken). Go out in the evening after 6.30pm and find a Bia Hoi for fresh, foamy beer; then find a good street kitchen (with bustling fires, long tables, and the requisite low plastic stools) and order some fabulous food. Any place with a queue is also good!

At one street cafe, I eat Banh Goi (fried pillow cake) and Nem Cua Be (sea crab Nem) as snacks. They are served with a bed of fragrant herbs (with some mung beans and lettuce mixed in). In addition there is a light sauce with slices of something (green mango?) and the custom appears to mix a wonderfully biting chilli sauce into it.

At a little shop on Hang Quat St I sat on a tiny plastic stool and chatted with father & son as they hand carved wooden stamps. I wanted to buy handfuls of them but I hardly ever make cards now. I settled in the end for an intricately carved miniature diorama. It shows the modern cyclos and those walking down the street with the conical hats, beam of wood over their shoulders, and panniers hanging below. There's such a contrast of old and new here with the ever present cry of motor horns.

Go to Ta Hien St for dinner. I head to a little place that specialises in Chim Quay (BBQ pigeon). For tourist price of 50k they will cook 4 little pigeon for me.
Turns out pigeon is served with a plate of fresh crispy (root vegetable?) to neutralise the palate. Each little pigeon is cut in half. You can then squeeze fresh lime, add spiced salt, or add fresh chilli as you wish. Pigeon is delicious.

Next up is 20 Hang Guy, very big and popular plastic stool street kitchen. Turns out they do pigeon 4 ways though they are twice the price of where I ate my pigeon. I'm still looking for unique items though so I decide to go with frog (6 options). The waiter speaks some English and suggests Frog with citronella and chilli (85k).
The frogs in Vietnam (see them live at the markets) are big meaty grey ones and they will have been alive up to a few hours prior to them being cooked. My cut up frog pieces have more meat than the wee pigeons. Frog is delicious all the way down to its crunchy little toes. A delicate white meat; it doesn't actually taste like chicken but I think that is the closest comparison. My frog is accompanied by fresh warm French baguette, and stirfired onions (with spring onion and lemongrass to flavour the thick dark soy sauce).
Awesomeness.

Visited September 2013
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