Hang market is perhaps the only market in the northern port city of Hai Phong that still retains the characteristics of a rural market. It has provided childhood memories to many now far from home and an exciting experience of Vietnamese culture to foreign tourists. Let’s find out more in this report called “Hang market – a community-based cultural characteristic in Hai Phong” by To Tuan.
The market first appeared in the early 20th century. Through the ups and downs of one hundred years, the market and its rural features have remained intact. The market convenes on the 5th, 10th and 15th day of the lunar month and every Sunday. Unlike at markets in other regions, the traders here are not wholesalers. They just go to the market to sell what they have at home and if no one buys their wares, they will come again in the next session. For many market goers the object is sightseeing, not buying. The market is a popular meeting place for locals. Nguyen Thi Nga sells bonsais and ornamental trees: “My family often comes here to sell trees. I find joy in meeting people at the market. While selling trees, I explain to customers and other passers by the new varieties of ornamental trees and their beauty”.
In Hang market, each corner is dedicated to one type of product. The flower corner offers a wide range of domestic and imported flowers. In the ornamental fish corner, customers can find almost any kind of fish. The bird corner is the noisiest spot. The most popular corner in the market is the one that sells pigs, dogs, cats, goats, chickens, ducks, and muscovy ducks.
The exciting and noisy atmosphere in this corner of the market inspires many foreign tourists to snap a photo, while reminding Vietnamese customers of the market in their home village. Nguyen Quan Tien, a tourist from Hanoi, says:“I have bought some trees and birds. I bought these Dong Tao and domestic chickens to raise at home”.
In Hang market, there’s a corner selling accessories, where customers can find all sorts of things from needles to second-hand goods to phones, computers, CD players and pumps, all at reasonable prices. Markets like Hang market are not just a place to buy things, but a place to relax, meet friends, have fun and recall the traditional markets of the past.