Hang Ma, paper street, is still dominated by stationers selling decorations for weddings, religious offerings and other events. We were lucky enough to be there in the lead up to Lunar New Year and the street was a riot of red lanterns and paper goats (the Year of the Goat was about to kick off).
Bia Hoi, however, is much more than just a cheap night out. It is quintessential Hanoi. Sure, all across South East Asia there is a wealth of delicious street food, but, for me, there is something extra special about eating on the street in Hanoi. The range of flavours that can be served up from the buckets dangling from the yokes of street food vendors in Hanoi is a constant delight. Entire restaurants operate in the spaces between motorbikes, throwing down their tiny plastic stools that leave gangly Westerners with their inflexible knees around their ears. Bia Hoi is enjoyed in this exact same way. Sitting knee to elbow with the rowdy group next to us we tucked into the Bia Hoi while Hanoi’s street life whirled around us.