Cheap and good food found at century-old stalls on small Hanoi alley
VietNamNet Bridge - The prices of food sold at the small road on the side of the Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi so inexpensive that the maximum price is VND35,000 ($1.7). It has become a favourite destination of Hanoians and foreign backpackers.
The small alley of a few hundred meters long attracts thousands of Vietnamese and foreigners each day. They come here to enjoy Hanoi’s famous snacks with affordable prices from VND10,000 to VND35,000 ($0.5-1.7). Many restaurants here are nearly 100 years old.
Bun oc (noodles and snails), bun cha (noodles and grilled chopped meat) are the most popular cuisines. Mr. Marion, an American tourist, said he came here two years ago and ate all the dishes sold along this alley. This time, back in Vietnam with his girlfriend, he returned to the alley to enjoy a bowl of noodles with snails, which was both tasty and cheap.
The shop selling bun oc of Mrs. Thuy is one of the oldest restaurants in Hanoi. She said the restaurant has existed for more than 70 years. A bowl of bun oc is only VND30,000-35,000. Thuy said she sells hundreds of bowls of bun oc each day, earning a profit of VND10,000/bowl.
Besides bun oc, bun cha is another favourite cuisine here. The prices are VND25,000-VND30,000 per bowl, cheaper than other restaurants in Hanoi.
Although the alley is small, most restaurants prepare food on-site. This is also a way for the sellers to prove that their food is made from the freshest, hygienic ingredients.
Besides food for lunch, restaurants here also offer many delicious snacks. The owner of this banh tom “crisp shrimp pastry” said: "I do not know whether the famous Ho Tay (West Lake) banh tom opened before mine or not, but many customers of mine came here when they were little kids and now they are parents."
A plate of tasty banh tom for one person is VND25,000-VND30,000.
A basket of banh gio and banh duc (traditional rice cakes) sells out within an afternoon, bringing about VND6-7 million ($300-350) per month for a farmer in Hanoi’s suburbs.
A beef salad is priced VND20,000 dong ($1). The owner said: "To stay here is not easy. I have to choose delicious and fresh meat, safe vegetables and the price must be reasonable. It is wrong if you think that the cheap food here is not good. Restaurants here have been existing for decades!"
This salty donut shop opens in the afternoon only, selling 250-300 units per day.
Every noon and afternoon, sweetened porridge shops are always packed with customers. The price for each bowl ranges from VND10,000 to VND15,000.
There are also rice shops for poor workers.
Many foreign visitors come here to not only enjoy traditional dishes at cheap prices but also for the cheerful attitude of sellers.