Finding a memento to remember your Hanoi holiday by shouldn’t be hard in a city that is known for its quality souvenirs. From delicious edibles to delicate ceramics, there’s a perfect souvenir to add to your collection or give as a gift to a loved one.
Traveloka’s Hanoi travel combos are a convenient way to get into the Little Paris of the East, allowing you to save money on both flights and accommodations. However, before finalizing your travel plans, make sure you know exactly what to bring home! Here are some of our recommendations.
Bring the taste of Hanoi back with you by stocking up on these delicious bite-sized snacks. Ô Mai are a popular local delicacy made with dried fruit. They can be sugared or salted, but also come in hot and sour flavors. What’s available changes depending on the season; it could be peaches or apricots in April or plums in June. Ô mai made with cranberries are a hot commodity around the Tet season. Lemon, mandarin orange, tamarind, and jackfruit ô mai, on the other hand, are available year-round. They are often enjoyed with tea, which smooths and balances out the treat’s intense taste.
Certain kinds of ô mai are believed to possess medicinal properties and are often used as home remedies for common ailments. Apricot ô mai is taken to suppress coughs and soothe sore throats, like a lozenge. Citrus ô mai can be taken with honey and ginger to aid with symptoms associated with the common cold. For the widest seasonal selection, head to Hàng Đường Street in Hanoi, where you can find piles of these treats being sold out of numerous storefronts. They are easy to store and will keep for a long time, making them the perfect souvenir to bring home to your friends and family.
Silk in Vietnam is still loomed by hand, guaranteeing a higher-quality product than those sold in other Southeast Asian countries. Silk scarves, handkerchiefs, and bed linens are available off the shelf in many souvenir shops and are an easy suitcase-filling choice. Head to Silk Street or Hang Gai Street in the Old Quarter for a wide selection of items to choose from. A good number of shops in the area also specialize in Vietnamese hand embroidery if you’d like your purchases to have a distinct personal touch. Certain tailors in Hanoi can also outfit you or the man in your life with a bespoke silk suit, given a lead time of at least 15 hours.
Keep an eye out for establishments where you can save by buying the fabric wholesale. Silk is usually sold by the meter, and you can then bring it to a dressmaker or tailor who can turn it into a custom shirt or áo dài for you. The Vietnamese national garment is also an attractive souvenir that any young lady would love to receive as a gift.
Hanoi is Vietnam’s coffee capital, and it would be a shame to miss out on taking home bags of their famous robusta coffee and the implements that can enable you to replicate the memorable cups you’ve had during your holiday. You can buy expertly roasted and ground robusta or arabica beans from many cafés in the Old Quarter. It would do well to remember where you had your favorite cups and simply head back to those outlets, or go to reputable purveyors of fine coffees such as Oriberry, Highlands, or Huong Mai Café, the oldest roasting coffee shop in Hanoi. Don’t forget to purchase a phin or Vietnamese coffee drip filter for that perfect cà phê đá!Teas are also a popular souvenir item. In particular, lotus tea is a well-known Hanoian specialty. The lotus is Vietnam’s national flower, and its stamen is used to imbue high-quality green tea with an enticing lotus fragrance. You can buy it in bags or packed into beautiful gift boxes for your loved ones also at Oriberry or Huong Mai Café, or at specialty souvenir shops like Vui Studio near Hanoi’s Train Street.
Glossy lacquerware is one of Hanoi’s most well-known handicrafts, and artisans in the city have elevated its manufacturing into a fine art. Popular lacquerware items to take back home to adorn your home or to purchase as gifts include bowls, vases, decorative plates, frames, jewelry boxes, elaborate wall hangings and more.
Be sure to purchase lacquerware only from reputable vendors for the best quality. Poorly made mass-produced lacquer items can be found all over the city and can be bought for temptingly low prices. To make sure you don’t get a bead deal, head to Marena Hanoi, Tanmy Design, or Hanoia where high-end products are sold. Other handicrafts you may wish to look into include dó paper products and ceramics.
Reproductions of war-time posters used for propaganda purposes are a curiously popular take-home item in Hanoi, and you can find them being sold all over the city. Check out The Hanoi Gallery for framed reproductions painted onto rice paper, or Old Propaganda Posters and Thang Long Gallery for original posters dating all the way back to the French colonial era and the Vietnam War.
Vintage curios are common, too. The weekend-only Antique Market in the Ba Dinh District can yield old coins, trinkets, and other items that allegedly survived the war such as bullets, compasses, water canteens, and weaponry. Best steer clear of the land mines and grenades, but you may be able to pick up a vintage watch or spent lighter here that can be a good conversation piece back home.
When buying souvenirs, use your common sense and steer clear of items that are gimmicky and impractical. Conical hats are hawked all over Hanoi as a souvenir item, but do you really see yourself wearing them? Practice discernment and make things easy on yourself by stuffing your suitcase with items that are both meaningful and easy to pack instead.