Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam is known for its rich cultural heritage offering its travelers a wide range of souvenirs to purchase from the city. These items are common in the region and are a must-have for all the travelers visiting this city to keep as a memorable momentum. Handicrafts, silk, artwork and pictures, ethnic minority items, souvenirs, rice paper products, colorful bandanas, T-shirts, wooden carvings, and much more; shopping in Hanoi is a veritable treasure trove and a riot of tastes, colors, unfamiliar sights, and smells. Here is a list of the best things to buy in Hanoi.
- Designer Boutiques
There are many designer boutiques in Hanoi. Most of them deal with silk creations catering to the beautiful people of Hanoi. However, tourists also purchase Ao Dai’s (the traditional long dress of Vietnam) to fit them. There are many young local designers who cleverly mix Western and Vietnamese styles which makes the Vietnamese fashion industry more attractive.
- Ethnic Minority Products
Vietnam has a greater number of ethnic minority groups compared to any other Asian country. Most of them belong to mountain villages in the north. Each of them has their own colour and style of clothing, with unique weaving and embroidery patterns. With the increasing tourism, most of their clothes and handicrafts are nowadays sold in many craft stores, mainly in Hanoi.
If there is one thing which is available in plenty in Hanoi it is art galleries and most of them are conveniently located in the old quarter. Young hopeful artists make full utilization of Hanoi’s several private art galleries- most of them situated on Pho Trang Tien, between Hoan Kiem Lake and the Hanoi Opera House.
- Rice Paper
The ethnic greeting cards of Hanoi, folk paintings, and watercolour, bamboo-bound notebooks, and the vogue table lamps are made from the bark of the “Do Tree.” Rice paper cards with different embroidered squares cost about $2, bamboo bound notebooks cost around $ 1.50 and hemp covered notebooks. You can shop along the Hang Bac Street and Hang Gai that sell varieties of rice-paper products.
Silk Street or Hang Gai, is the best place to buy silk in Hanoi. Situated on the edge of the Old Quarter near the Hoan Kiem Lake, Hang Gai contains two or three blocks of small stores that all specialize in embroidery and silk. The merchandise at the different stores are similar, but the selection, services, and prices differ.
- Souvenirs in Hanoi
Bandanas, T-shirts, tribal handicrafts, weavings, and wall hangings- they are all to be had downtown Hanoi old quarter. You will have to be willing to use your bargaining skills in most of these stores and stalls to get the costs down. Air-conditioned Hanoi Moment comes recommended over the sometimes- grimy street markets.
- Wooden Items
There are large numbers of natural woods that this results in a wide range of handicrafts items in Hanoi. There are changed into statuettes, carvings, boxes, and chopsticks. Search for water puppet figurines, handmade artefacts since centuries in the traditional artisan villages. All these are found in varieties of souvenir stores in the Old Quarter.
- Hand-embroidered hankie
Hanoi is popular for its hand embroidery items. You will find embroidered bed sheets, quilts, napkins, bed covers, place mats, pillowcases, and cosmetic bags at a cheap price. These are some of the best things to buy in Hanoi. Some of the iconic designs you will find in these embroidered products include dragons and Lotus flowers. A delicate hand-embroidered handkerchief is the right gift for one’s wife, girlfriend, or mother. You will find this souvenir in many places but make sure you visit Tan My Designs, the oldest embroidery store in Hanoi, which sells high-quality items at a cheap price.
- Lotus Tea
Lotus is the national flower of Vietnam. You can find them in different parts of the country but it’s believed that the one found in Hanoi’s West Lake are some of the best varieties with a persistent secret. Over several years, the tea makers of Hanoi have learned this art of adding flavor to green tea with lotus stamen fragrance. This painstaking and time-consuming procedure takes about 1500 lotus flowers to make about 1 kg of lotus tea. This is the reason why the price of Vietnam’s ancient tea can rise up to hundreds of dollars per kg.
But when one tastes this tea, they will definitely know its worth. A cup of high-grade green tea well combined with the luscious smell of lotus offers a sweet, crisp, and vanilla hinted taste with the smell of lotus flower persistent in the mouth.
- O Mai ( Sweetened fruits)
O Mai is a traditional dry fruit snack found in Vietnam. The dry fruits are mixed well with sugar, chilly, and lime to give a combined flavor of salty, spicy, and sweet. It is one of the popular crunchy snacks, often served to guests by locals on every auspicious occasion or festival. Some of the common dry fruits used to make this dish are peach, apricot, star fruit, tamarind, and plum.
- Tanmy Design
This is a popular item included in the list of best things to buy in Hanoi. Discovered in 1969, Tanmy brand of Hanoi is synonymous with hand embroidery. It was invented during the wartime by Grandma Tanmy, She ran a business of embroidered handkerchiefs with love notes. Wives and girlfriends of men who were on the front line used to buy these hankies with love notes for their loved ones. Still, in its fourth generation, Tanmy manufactures fine silk embroidered bedsheets, garments, tablecloths, and fabrics.
The huge, multi-level store on Hang Gai (Silk Street) situated in the Old Quarter has dozens of other local as well as international brands. Art pieces, homewares, lacquerware, and fashion items are some of the popular items you will find here.
- Ao Dai
It is the national costume of Vietnam. A beautiful tight-fitted attire that is worn with long pants. If you want to buy something special for a fashion enthusiast back home, then the Ao Dai clothing set is the best souvenir to please her. When it comes to colors, quality, and designs, you will have plenty of choices. You can purchase a ready-to-wear Ao Dai for about USD 30 or choose a customized one for USD70 or more. Hang Da Market is one of the best places to buy ready-made Ao Dai.
Making Lacquerware is an art that has been passed through generations. The meticulous procedure goes through 20 different stages and takes over 100 days to complete. Vietnamese Lacquerware earned appreciation across the world through the international expositions in 1930. It is popular for its extraordinary quality when compared to lacquer items made by other Asian countries. Items suitable for bringing home include trays, jewelry boxes, vases, photo albums, and bowls. You must be careful while purchasing a Lacquerware in Hanoi, Vietnam as the market is in disarray with both fine and low-quality lacquer products. For top-quality items, you must buy products from Marena Hanoi. This shop has a wide variety of colors and designs.
Next time when you visit Hanoi, make sure you buy all these above-mentioned items while going back to home. Your loved ones will love these.