Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Street Life and Markets

Sidewalk vendor in Hanoi
Originally uploaded by yellojkt.
Besides the fitness-minded exercisers, the other people who are out very early are the street vendors. Like this person, they will carry all their wares on baskets to their particular location on a public sidewalk and then set up "shop."

This vendor has one of the small charcoal stoves that is used to heat food pho or other typical sidewalk fare. The food is cooked right on the street and dishes are washed in a small bowl of hot soapy water. We did not eat any street food for health reasons.

Hanoi also has a large open air market where produce, meat, and prepared food can all be bought. The market is in the middle of the street and each vendor has some sort of canopy, but all the food, including whole butchered pigs, is just laying in the road exposed to the heat and the sun with no hand-washing station or other sanitary facilities in sight. Two European tourists were tasting some cha gio right from the vendor which even had our guide concerned.

A British journalist keeps a blog called noodlepie that discusses Vietnamese food, including reviews and commentary on various street vendors. While he rates some of them very highly, it still seems too risky for a tourist to indulge.

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