The Hanoitimes – The best way to explore a city is by wandering through its streets, lanes and alleys.
From French colonial aesthetics to its unique food culture and history, CNN’s ‘Street Life Hanoi’ explores this historic city from a new perspective. Strolling the sidewalks of Vietnam’s stunning capital city, CNN discovers the stories of the streets of Hanoi told by those who know them best, each with their own unique relationship with the city.
Highlights of the 30-minute special include:
The Old Quarter
One of the most unique perspectives to view Hanoi may just be from the seat of a side-car buzzing through the city streets. CNN meets Steve Christensen, an American graphic designer who has lived in Hanoi for over 20 years and gives sidecar tours of the city as his side job. CNN rides along with Steve to get a glimpse of the famous 36 streets and his favorite street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, where dozens of streets are named for specific crafts which were once practiced there.
Ta Hien Street
Beer culture in Hanoi dates to 1890 when the first beer brewing factory was established. CNN meets Tấn, a Hanoi local, and Brett, an Aussie expat in Vietnam, who are known for organizing one of the most popular beer tours in the city teaching locals and visitors about Hanoi’s famous cold brew Bia hoi, a beer for the people with a history dating back to wartime. CNN visits Ta Hien Street with Tấn and Brett to get to the bottom of the beer history.
Cha Ca Street
Vietnam’s incredible food culture is pride worthy. In Hanoi, cha ca is an iconic and delicious fish dish not to be missed – in fact there is an entire street named after it. CNN travels along Cha Ca Street in search for this local specialty with one of the Hanoi’s top chefs and enters the doors of Chả Cá Lã Vọng, the city’s oldest restaurant.
Hoang Hoa Tham (Bonsai Street)
This tree lined street with plenty of shade, named after nationalist hero Hoang Hoa Tham, is said to be one of Hanoi’s prettiest streets. It spans over 3 kilometres and is full of local vendors selling flowers and bonsai trees. CNN visits the street with local resident Vân Anh, who used to cycle through the road every day on her way to secondary school. ‘Street Life Hanoi’ also visits the bird market and the Saturday antique market to see why this street is considered Hanoi’s prettiest.
Trang Tien Street
As one of the most famous streets in Hanoi during the French colonial period, this street was once called the Champs Elysees of Indochina. On this street, the famous Opera House exemplifies the French influence, and it is said that Charlie Chaplin spent his honeymoon in the Metropole Hotel which is right off the street. CNN gets a guided tour of the area with very special tour guides: Hanoi Kids, a free tour group which is run by student volunteers.
‘Street Life Hanoi’ is produced by CNN Vision, the global creative production powerhouse of CNN International, which brings the world’s breath-taking diversity into cinematic focus, telling stories that inspire audiences around the world.