Like its name, “Cho Tay” or Western Market, located along the West Lake is a weekend market which mostly serves foreign expats (often mentioned as tây) in Hanoi.
The market was founded in 2009 by a French business man working in Hanoi to promote the sale of fresh and organic agricultural products. Thanks to the ideal location on To Ngoc Van Street, Tay Ho district – home to most of the foreigners living and working in the city- the market quickly rose as a familiar trading and socializing place for Tây community.
Being lonely, getting homesick, desiring to talk with some fellow country-men and having difficulty at shopping in local markets due to language barrier or low bargaining skill? Western Market is surely the answer for your problems.
What to buy here at which price?
Despite its small scale with only 20-some stalls, the market offers customers a wide range of products, from those for daily use to special goods such as local souvenir.
One can come here to pick up things for meals from authentic farm products: vegetable, fruits, eggs and honey to some regular drinks such as wine, tea, and fruit juice. All foods and beverages sold in the market are fresh and most are organic. Books, cosmetics, handicrafts, toys and second-hand clothes can also be found here.
Different from other open air markets in Hanoi where buyers should arm themselves with hard bargain skill, all products here are reasonable with fixed price.
What is special about the market?
Many flea markets in cities around the world such as Toronto and Paris become a highlighted attraction to tourists and a social hang-out rendezvous for locals . This Western market is no exception. The market attracts residents and visitors alike every weekend to come, meet and trade. Purchasing goods sometime is just an excuse for many people living far from their motherlands to meet and share. “I love this small market, convenient for shopping and meeting with my fellow country man” said Barbara, an Australian women living in Tay Ho district.
There is also special stalls collecting and selling second-hand clothes and other old items for charity purpose. All profits gained from the business are donated for the disabled and homeless children.
Cho Tay is also one of the rare ones in Vietnam that promote environment protection. While nylon bags are used widely in many shops and supermarkets in Hanoi, all things purchased in this Western Market are put into paper bags.
Traveling to an exotic land, people often go to the local market for an insight into indigenous culture, yet shopping in this kind of “foreign market” to feel warm and closer to your homeland is also interesting and worth trying.