"Market....." Nice word. What comes to mind, when you hear the word "market"....or "Asian Market"? If you live in San Diego, it might be this:
But if you happened upon Hang Be Market located on Pho Gia Nhu starting on the corner of Hang Be in Hanoi, instead of fluorescent lights, and tiled isles, you'd see this.
Though it's more likely you'd get run over by a motorbike than get your shins rapped by a Little ol' Lady pushing a shopping cart at Hang Be! I thought I'd do a little comparison of sorts, there are a few similarities, and maybe a few differences.......
I know 99 Ranch Market is pretty well known for the variety of veggies and fruits.
Actually, I think the fruits at 99 Ranch Market are not a strong point...many of the offerings are often over-ripe, bruised, or of low quality. Still, there's always a nice variety. When it comes to "greens" 99 Ranch Market always has a nice selection.
At Hang Be Market, you won't find the huge stacks of oranges perilously stacked, but you will find a good variety of different items.
You gotta love the Dragon Fruit in Southeast Asia, it is leaps and bounds better than what I've had in the States; it is much sweeter, and the Missus ate the stuff by the kilo. And lest you think this is all locally grown; the oranges are from China(quite good), Dragon Fruit and Durian from Thailand.
A note about prices:
You'll notice quickly that most places won't post prices, so you'll have to bargain. The Missus had a very original way of bargaining.....She was especially frustrating for one lady. She would bargain hard.....the lady always wanted something like 25,000VND per kilo, the Missus would start at 15,000 VND....and so forth. Finally they'd settle on 18,000 VND. By then, the Missus was so tired, She would just hand the wad of money to the lady who'd just pull out what she wanted! Why bother bargaining? I guess the "bargaining fatigue" was just too much. Regardless, the Missus bought 2-4 kilos of Dragon Fruit almost everyday.
It was fun seeing uncommon(for us here in the US) items for sale, like Betel nuts.
Buddha's Hand anyone?
99 Ranch Market has a pretty large meat department.
And though the signs are sometimes unintentionally humorous; looks like the "prok for stew" has been selling pretty well today. There is a nice variety of items from the butcher counter and prepacked trays of meat.
No white coats and hats, or the "singing of the saws" at Hang Be.
Just fresh meat on metal tables, meat is ground to order.
And some items screaming "I dare you to eat me"!
It is all fresh....
Ah yes, the Seafood Department at 99 Ranch Market.
At Hang Be Market, the variety might not be quite as large, but as with the beef, everything is fresh.
And most of it is caught locally.
And if it's not still alive.....
It's still "breathing". These were bought up in an instant.
Someone requested a photo of Rice Paddy Crabs.
Here's one of my favorite photos from Hang Be Market.
Even more stuff. Teas and spices from 99 Ranch Market.
Teas and spices from Hang Be Market:
And of course there is that staple; rice. We found the rice in Vietnam to be of very low quality....full of grit, lots of "brown bits", and unpolished.
But why have rice when you can have........Bun!
One of our Guides told us how Bun was made; rice is first fermented, then ground and sifted. Water is then added to form a dough that is kneaded. The dough is then pressed through an aluminum sieve with tiny holes into boiling water. The Missus's verdict? "Too much trouble, why don't you just eat rice?"
And then there are those things that catch your eye:
So what's going on here? This gentleman is burning the hair off a pig's feet.
And those items that would be pretty hard to find in the states.
We visited Hang Be Market 3 times, once during each period of the day, during the morning, afternoon, and evening. Each visit offered something different. And on one of the visits, I started comparing the market set-up of Hang Be Market with 99 Ranch Market. Strange, I know......
Miss Oishii Eats visit to Hang Be Market can be found here.
Someone tell the
Ham Missus not to quit Her day job....