The smelly streets in Hanoi

VietNamNet Bridge – The pavement markets, where Hanoians like going to on the way from work to home instead of traditional markets or supermarkets, have created the special streets with specific smells.

Vietnam, rivers, pollution, protection, budget

Dong Tac Street in Dong Da district, two kilometers in length, has become the place for a seafood pavement market. The street, which has been expanded, now looks more spacious. However, the spacious street is really unattractive to many Hanoians because of its fishy smell.

Hai, the owner of a seafood kiosk on the street who has been selling here for the last few years, affirmed that this is the best-known seafood retail market in Hanoi. People would only find some kinds of seafood at other markets in Hanoi, but they would find everything they want there, from shrimp to crab. Meanwhile, the sale prices are always lower than that at supermarkets.

And she said that the fishy smell is a “part of the fame,” because it is “inevitable.” The sellers mostly preserve seafood products with simple methods, which would give a smell.

Lam, a local resident, complains that he has been living in the fishy smell over the last many years. Fresh seafood products are sold in daytime, while processed products are sold in the evening. As a result, the fishy smell can be tasted all year round.

The fishy smell only benefits seafood sellers and makes the seafood market more famous in Hanoi. However, it has brought misfortune to other merchants. Nguyen Minh Hieu, who was once the owner of a clothes shop on Dong Tac Street, said he had to close the shop, because the specific smell of the street kept people away.

“No one came to the smelly street and visited my shop unless they needed to buy seafood products,” he explained.

Yen, the owner of a laundry, also complained that she can receive several clients a day. Yen considers closing the shop, because she cannot bear the fishing smell every day.

Gia Ngu – Hang Be streets in Hoan Kiem district have been well known to housewives as the suppliers of traditional shrimp paste products. The small streets with cramped pavement can be easily found, because the specific smell of shrimp paste products reaches to many neighboring streets.

There are tens of shrimp paste shops there on the streets. Since they are located on cramped quarters, shrimp paste is made right on the pavement, in the open air. Shrimp paste is put into buckets. Sometimes, shrimp paste is seen in buckets, which were once used for containing paints. Therefore, a mixture of smells can be “tasted” there – the smell of fresh materials and the smell of finished products.

However, the owners of the shrimp paste shops, who have been living there for the last tens of years, said they have got used to the smell. Phan, one of the sellers, said the smell is the symbol of the street.

The Long Bien fruit wholesale market in Phuc Xa ward of Ba Dinh district has also been well known to Hanoians. Hundreds of tons of fruits, vegetables, meat and fishes have been brought there every day and then carried away from there to other retail markets in the city.

The path linking to the local residential quarter is smelly on sunny days and muddy on rainy days. All the waste water and garbage have been discharged to a canal, which is black and smelly.

Duy Anh

Vietnam, rivers, pollution, protection, budget