What to buy and where to buy it in Hanoi
I travel a lot and I am tempted by so many stunning Asian goods and textiles. It is a wonderful reminder of the trip to bring something home. However, having been in Asia for a while now I believe something must be very special in order to add kilos to my luggage and make it home into my personal collection.
No doubt you will find the usual collection of Asian silks, fans, statues, fake designer goods, etc. I don’t need to tell you where to find these, vendors for these items are abundantly littered throughout Hanoi.
This high gloss style of tableware is synonymous with Vietnam. It was introduced to the world in Paris in the 1930’s by a Vietnamese artist visiting an international trade fair. Since then, the world has fallen in love with the elegance and style of lacquerware.
To be fair there are many stores for lacquerware in Hanoi. I tend to prefer the simple, traditional styles without a lot of flourish. No painted butterflies or infinity symbols for me….I prefer a wide of expanse of uninterrupted glossy color. And while there are several stores in the Hoan Kiem District, I like MARENA Hanoi, The Art of Lacquerware and Ceramic, located at 28 Nha Chung Street.
There are so many pieces of art, culture and communication left over from the war. And unlike many other countries who might jettison these materials with a blind future focus, Vietnam has held onto and reproduced many of the stunning examples of art and culture from this period. Again like with the lacquerware there are many stores in Hanoi, but we like The Hanoi Gallery, they have several locations, and we prefer the 17 Nha Chung location.
Cotton and Linen Hand-embroidery
Sure Vietnam is famous for its silks, but did you know they also have wonderful hand embroidered cotton and linen? In Vietnam this exquisite art of supremely detailed hand embroidery is top quality and surprisingly affordable. From elaborately detailed and baroque designs to simple, modern tone-on-tone linens, you can find it all here. One of my favorite stores for this is May at 7 Nha Tho Street.