Hanoi is at its most graceful and poetic in autumn. It is often vividly colorful.
Autumn is a time when the scent of milk flowers lingers in air, chilled by the monsoon, and tinted yellow by mild sunshine and falling leaves.
Autumn, between September and November, brings mild weather. The sizzling summer is bid farewell by autumn’s light breezes, which bring a slight chill to every street and every corner. Autumn is a nostalgic time for anyone who has seen Hanoi. Ho Thi Sau, who lives in Europe, always wants to visit Hanoi whenever she returns to Vietnam.
“I’ve returned to Vietnam and Hanoi several times since 1996 but not always in autumn. Whenever I’m in Hanoi during this season, I enjoy its autumn specialties to the fullest,” said Sau.
The warmth of the autumn sunlight may make your heart skip a beat. The yellow light tints the old buildings, the streets, the trees.
Phan Huyen Thu, a sophomore at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, said, “The weather in Hanoi is pleasant in autumn. It’s great to wander around Hoan Kiem Lake in downtown Hanoi and admire the stunning view. Hanoi is so attractive in autumn that tourists and I love to explore and take lots of photos.”
Hanoi has special foods that are only made in the autumn. One autumn specialty is green sticky rice, called Com, and derivatives like Com sweet soup and Com cakes. Street vendors walk along the streets calling “Who wants Com?”, carrying poles on their shoulders loaded with young rice.
Com is made all over Hanoi, but Vong village in Cau Giay district has the best. Com is a humble yet delicious dish. Young rice is harvested and made into Com, which can be either eaten by itself or used as an ingredient in other dishes.
“I love the fragrance of Com, a specialty of Hanoi only available in the autumn. This is the second time I’ve been to Hanoi in autumn. I’m really excited. Hanoi is really seductive and beautiful in autumn,” said an anonymous Hanoian
Hanoi has a typical autumn fruit, persimmon, though it’s not native to Hanoi. Com and persimmon are often included in gift packages for elderly people or placed on an altar as an offering of respect and gratitude to one’s ancestors. Hanoi also has draconto melons exclusively in the autumn.
Hanoi has several autumn flowers but nothing more typical than the milk flower. One tree of blossoming milk flowers can perfume a large area. Milk flowers are rampant along Nguyen Du, Le Duan, and Quan Thanh street.
Pham Quoc Hung, a native Hanoian, said, “Hanoi is really attractive this time of the year, when the milk flowers blossom. Many streets are immersed in the bold, pungent fragrance of milk flowers, which is distinctively different. Milk flowers are part of everyone’s nostalgia about Hanoi.”
Autumn is a treat for those who live in Hanoi and makes absent Hanoians miss their city desperately and makes visitors long to return.
Vietnamese food has been listed among the 10 healthiest cuisines globally by UK travel website The Culture Trip.