The Vietnamese are in love with this thing called tea. They drink it everywhere and at any time: at formal meetings, after meals, at weddings and funerals.
They place it on altars as an offering to their ancestors…. Tea is sold commonly in quan coc- or street vendors – which can easily be found in front the gate of bus terminals, train stations, schools, offices or even in some corners in quiet alleys.
Street vendors with hot or iced green tea is an interesting piece of Vietnamese street culture, where people, especially workers and students, often come to have some rest in short breaks of utterly exhausted working time, waiting for friends or for picking up children after school.
Street vendors connects people, from strangers they become friends, sharing stories and hearing latest news happening while smoking cigarettes or having some peanut candy.
In recent time, Hanoi youngsters have found out a new trend: gathering around and chill out at new type of called tra chanh, or “tea with fresh lemon”.
A few plastic short-legged stools, a small dish of roasted sunflower seed, and certainly, a glass of Tra chanh for each; those are enough for everybody to have a great time at a very low price. Tra chanh is so popular that it even becomes a slang used widely by youngsters referring to “hang out”.
The most boisterous and exciting place to drink Tra Chanh is at the area around Saint Joseph Cathedral, where one will get a chance to have a close approach to daily life of young Hanoians, listening to their talks about all the hottest events, fashion vague, technology and any gossips that one can think of!