Speaking of Hanoi, one of many spots that the locals would love to introduce to foreigners is the famous Ta Hien or “international crossroad”, which is a small street located in the famous Old Quarter of Hanoi, near Hoan Kiem Lake. Despite its 200-meter length, this is the most lively night street in Hanoi in general as well as the Old Quarter in specific and has become one of the most favorite places to hang out for both locals and foreigners thanks to its cheap beer and plenty of vibrant bars and clubs.
However, Ta Hien street in Hanoi with its nightlife attracts visitors not only because lively bars and clubs but also due to restaurants and stalls with a wide range of irresistible traditional Vietnamese food and drinks. That’s why we’re going to show you some fun places to visit and things to eat at Ta Hien street Hanoi in 2020.
1. The Typical Features of Ta Hien Beer Street
Ta Hien Street is crowded in the nighttime, especially in the summer when Hanoi is quite hot and dam, so cool beer is a preferable drink. People usually sit on a small-size plastic chair and hold their bee mugs and enjoy some snack foods together.
The street becomes crowded after 5 pm and this is also the time when the sun gradually comes down and the street gets cooler. Beer restaurants in Ta Hien are quite simple and in street style. Customers can order a mug of beer and sit until the time they want without being interrupted. The comfortable and friendly atmosphere, as well as great beers and foods, are the main reasons for the attraction of Ta Hien Street.
2. Beer Street Hanoi
There is no proper pub here, not even a proper table. Customers will sit on small stools around a little taller plastic or wooden stools on which food and beer bottles are placed. It may be uncomfortable for some foreigners, but it creates a unique atmosphere for customers to experience ancient local lifestyles in Hanoi. Besides, one of the best parts of drinking beer here is that the beer is usually served along with delicious food such as roasted squid, fried fermented pork rolls, roasted bird meat, or simply a plate of sunflower’s seeds.
Like any other pub street, the atmosphere here becomes more lively when the night falls down with the influx of both locals and foreigners. The quietness of the street in the daytime is suddenly replaced with the noisiness. The whole street is crowded with groups of people drinking beer and chatting with each other. Echoed throughout the street is the sound of “một hai ba…dzô!” (one two three… cheers!) from both local and foreign customers.
The common thing among beer restaurant in Ta Hien is its simple and street style. Everything is on street sides with plastic chairs used for both seat and table. The customers can order a mug of beer and sit for hours without being interrupted. The comfortable and friendly atmosphere, as well as great beers and foods, are the main reasons for the attraction of Ta Hien Street.
The most unique things you can get from Ta Hien street is Bia co. This beer is not the first-class one, neither have a special taste. But the memorable experience we get is a distinctive flavor of Hanoi pavement culture, inharmonious with the bittersweet taste of Bia co.
3. Ta Hien Street food
Aside from beers and pubs, personally, I think Tạ Hiện street is like a narrow or a mini version of food heaven with lots of super small alleyways and twisted intersections, which I presume very fit for a curious explorer who wants to enjoy a little bit taste of rusticity. On the small and crowded street of Ta Hien, you can find a variety of best Hanoi street foods such as Nem chua, Vietnamese bread, noodles, sweet porridges…
The snack foods to serve with the beer are also diverse, from traditional ones such as nem Phung, fried nem, nem, boiled peanut to Western ones such as fried chips, cheese stick,… Moreover, prices are generally cheap
4. Ta Hien Street Hanoi – What’s more?
As I mentioned before, Hanoians prefer the name Beer Street Hanoi. We usually call it Foreigner Street (Pho Tay) too, as it’s an “international crossroad” drawing many foreign visitors as well as Hanoians. 266 meters in length, Ta Hien street extends from Hang Buom to Hang Bac street, crossing Luong Ngoc Quyen street.
Ta Hien Street takes its name after Ta Quang Hien, Admiral of Tonkin Military Forces (under Nguyen Dynasty, Emperor Ham Nghi), leader of the Can Vuong movement in Thai Binh province.
During the French colonization time, the street was named Géraud. Ta Quang Hien, as a leader of an anti-France colonization campaign, resigned from his position as Lord Lieutenant and led liberal fighters against the French army. At the end of that year, after recruiting about 4000-5000 liberal fighters, his army regained Thai Binh Province and prevailed in other battles afterward. But in a battle in February 1887, he was captured and killed.
Another interesting fact about the name Ta Hien is that it was sometimes misread into Tạ Hiền (originally ‘Tạ Hiện’,) so it creates a huge confusion for tourists because the words of ‘Tạ Hiền’ and ‘Tạ Hiện’ are both displayed on signboards in the same street. Ta Hien still kept most of its old texture and time-worn structure.
All the pubs at the crossroads of Ta Hien – Luong Ngoc Quyen have been operated for over a decade. The beer here is known to be cheap and tourist-magnetic. Pub operators from time to time speak Vietnamese and some English to communicate with their customers who come from different countries. Eventually, it appeared the informal name of the crossroads – ‘The International Crossroads’ (Ngã tư Quốc tế).