A unique market finds a home in Hanoi

Hanoi is host to a most unusual market in Vietnam: open only once a week, on Saturday, and then for only a few hours, 9:00 to 12:30. It's known as much for its discriminating buyers and sellers as it is for its fresh products.

Fresh and unique impression

The Tay Ho Weekend market, located at N0 4, lane 67/12 To Ngoc Van, Quang An, Tay Ho, Ha Noi, has been operating for nearly 2 years.  It was inspired by a weekend market in France.  Patrice Gautier, director of the Asian Veterinary and Livestock Services Company, established the market in homage to markets in his home country.  The market aims not only to introduce fresh products from the farmers to the customers, but also to create a place for people to meet each other and have a great time on the weekend.

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The products here are clearly marked with information about where they are produced and have fixed prices.  The products are organized tidily and foods are put in paper bags.  On a recent Saturday, many customers crowded a booth selling chicken meat with the advertisement, Chicken from Soc Son – Hanoi. 250.000VND/chicken.  “Our products have been selling here for a long time. I am a veterinary doctor and today I am a vendor.  Our chicken meat and eggs have good hygiene, quality and food safety.  The chickens are bred following the process for producing healthy foods,” vendor Nguyen Duc Bac said.

The market has no fee for parking vehicles.  With a limited area of about 300m2, all the pavilions are neatly organized and offer a range of foodstuffs from chicken, roasted duck, vegetables, wine, tea and cakes to books, clothes, and cosmetic products.

The products in this market are not only fresh but also have other endearing features, such as a stall from Donkey Bakery selling German-style breads which are made by disabled children.  “We really want to introduce the products of the children themselves to customers in Vietnam and other countries; let them know more about us, that people can have disabilities but are still really dexterous,” Marc Stenfert Kroese, the director of the bakery, remarked.

The market also has a special booth organized by a charitable group of foreign women who are selling things to benefit a nonprofit organization. The products are secondhand and include used clothes, furniture and other items donated by regular customers. These women contribute the profits from the booth to a charity fund for disabled and orphaned children.

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Cultural influence

The buyers and sellers are both Vietnamese and foreigners.  The foreigners living near West Lake have come from many countries, such as France, Canada, England, Australia, Germany, etc.

“This is the first time I've come here and the thing I like most here is having both Vietnamese and foreign people.  Although I don’t understand their language, it is really great,” Vu Dung, a customer noticed.  This is his first time coming to the market, and he and his wife chose a bottle of wine. “I see today this wine shop has a representative from the company, this makes me feel more confident. After trying it, I decided to buy a bottle of Cordier wine; its taste is quite good!” he added.

The weekend is a time for people to relax, so they come here to chat. “It's not like normal markets opening early in the morning; its opening time of 9 am is really suitable because the people get up late at the weekend.  I come here every Saturday,” Bruno Marcmal, a buyer from Belgium said. 

App Koller-Keller from Germany added, “I have been living in Hanoi for one and a half years and I come here for relaxing and meeting my friends. It feels like being in my country.”

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The consumers can see the difference from other markets.  “I am visiting my son for 3 weeks.  We call this a farmers’ market in England.  We also have markets similar to this, but they are bigger and have different foods.  I love this market, very friendly and happy with fresh food and all kinds of people from different countries, very sociable!” Jenny from London noted.

People come here with their family and friends, or even their cat!  More and more people find time to visit the market each week.  “I know this market from on television, so today I decided to see it. Its great to have so many items from other countries which we don’t have everywhere in Vietnam,” Nguyen Thi Thuong, a Vietnamese customer, observed.

“The owner intends to make it bigger in the near future to serve the rising number of customers and meet the demand for better, high quality products,” said Pham Ngoc Diep, a Program Assistant of the Asian Veterinary and Livestock Services.

                                                                                                                                                                Ha Linh

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