Monday, April 08, 2013

Street of sweets, street of sugar (Hàng Đường)

Street of sweets, street of sugar.
That's a name of one street among 36 streets in Hanoi's old quarter.
In my previous post about Hanoi, I did mention that I like the way Hanoi calls the streets after the name of the commodities selling there. That was likely hundred years ago, nowadays the names remained but the business dramatically changed. Except some! Hàng Đường (i.e street of sugar) is one of those "loyal"streets to what they sale until today - traditional sweets.

               One of dozens of shops in Hàng Đường, sweet and flavorful snacks business.

Hàng Đường is famous for those sweets that we can't buy anywhere in Vietnam. Only in Hanoi. And probably the best from this street. I saw a store that has been in this business since 1898. 115 years. Just wonder those sweets they used to sell before in 19th century are different from what we have today. The taste. The variety. The look. But I believe that our great-great grandparents never used  any preservative or sweeteners in their traditional stuff.

               From one side - sweet snacks in glass jar on display in a shop... 

              and from the other side...the variety can surprises many visitors from the South. 

Whenever we have friends or relatives who travel to Hanoi, these sweets are ones of favorite gifts they always get for us, along with another famous traditional cake called "bánh cốm".
In the South, we have "mứt" - a similar concept, but with different fruits, different recipes, surely different taste and only for Lunar New Year, but in the North, these specialities like year round snacks.

                Look at these big jars on racks, you can imagine how great is their variety. 

                I really can't remember what is this - either "sấu" or "apricot" stirred in sugar. 

               This is really good, "sấu" marinated in sweet, sour, spicy soup with some herbs.  

During my stay in Hanoi, after Tết, I got three or four different "sweet snacks" back to hotel, but among them, I would say "sấu" marinated in a special soup is the best. Nicely crispy, sour, sweet, a bit spicy and flavorful with some secret herbs. I keep eating, one after another. Exactly as we say"once you pop, you just can't stop".

              A very small stand with few sweet snacks right on the pavement of Hanoi old quarter. 

                  An unique display at - probably one of the oldest shops in Hàng Đường...

                 these flower or bird - all made of dried fruits.      

              Grandma in the corner of the old shop, while her child packs for guest behind the counter.

                Look at those plastic boxes - ready for sale, I wonder - how many boxes they sale per day?

                  In Saigon we can find these scales only in the traditional Chinese drugstores in Chinatown. 

These traditional sweets from Hanoi are getting more and more popular in the South, few months ago I saw a nice shop selling these things in Pasteur street but unfortunately it's closed down now, probably the popularity is not big enough to attract customers ? or the lack of "marketing and advertising" ? (sorry these two words sounds quite "cliché" to me these days), but I have to say those sweets could be a nice present for friends, loved ones if you want to share with them Hanoi's flavors!


  1. Ngon nhất vẫn là 21 hàng đường- Hồng Lam bác ạ :)

  2. Cám ơn bác anonymous, hy vọng lần sau sẽ ghé Hồng Lam! Cheers

  3. Ô mai Hà Nội là nghề gia truyền nên 13 Hàng Đường là đúng rồi đó ah, ngoài ra còn có tiệm 15 và 21 Hàng Đường, Ninh Hương....những cửa hàng này có trên 10 năm rồi. Hồng Lam chỉ là những năm gần đây thôi ah, không phải là gia truyền. Họ nổi tiếng vì biết sử dụng các thế mạnh truyền thông và làm thương hiêu. Cũng tốt vì theo thơi đại. :)


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