Both Hanoi street food and Hanoi street culture are famous among travelers. Wandering along streets of Hanoi during the daytime or at night, especially in summer or even during winter, you often see groups of people staying in roadside shops to enjoy cups of lemon tea and chatting with friends.
The Hanoi youngsters suddenly have a very special “hobby” which is “enjoying lemon tea in roadside shops”. The lemon tea seems to create the most suitable environment for an exciting conversation. The most tasteful aspect of the lemon tea is its ordinariness and simplicity, the most suitable aspect of the lemon tea is its suit to “gossip”, the best of the lemon tea is its location – on the roadside, space – society and its small pieces of stories among friends.
As unexpected as “street lemon tea in Hanoi”
Just newly appearing, but the hobby to sit at a plastic chairs on a roadside shop to enjoy a cup of lemon tea and chat with friends among Hanoians, especially the Hanoi youngsters has become so popular that anyone who does not know about it will be called “Alien”.
Every lemon tea shop in Hanoi is very simple. No fancy tables and chairs, or no elegant space, just only plastic chairs, adding another to work as a table in order to put a small plastic trays on. The people enjoying lemon tea only need an open and comfortable space for their chatting. Many youngsters say that they like enjoying lemon tea not only because of its pure taste but also because they can enjoy a “fresh street air” inside the bustling city, a comfortable environment with friends and funny stories. It is such very simple factors that make the uncomfortableness in terms seats, space, etc. untroubled. In addition, the price of a glass of lemon tea is rather cheap, more and more making it become a favorite drink for both students and people with work.
Hanoians are well-known for their simple life. The small roadside drink shops have been taken I several paintings or photos. Like street coffee in Saigon, street lemon tea has gradually become a typical culture of Hanoi. As such, for many people, the hobby of enjoying lemon tea is considered a continuation of “Hanoi culture” of Hanoi youngsters. The space is still the same – small roadside shops and customers who always look for simplicity, only the drinks are different: hot tea – iced tea and now lemon tea. A high school teacher smiled when he heard a saying that “lemon tea is the favorite drink among the youngsters only”. In his opinion: “the seemingly petty drink has suddenly been assigned with a very important role: a connection between the past and the present, among people of all levels and generations. And until now, it has well done its role”.
Glasses of lemon tea added by the scent of jasmine flowers and slices of fresh lemon has suddenly become a popular drink of Hanoians, suddenly become a “new culture” – “new hobby” of the land of over 1,000 years of civilization.
Enjoy lemon tea to – live slowly for a while
Looking at any lemon tea shops, we not only see groups of people, but also see many people enjoying the lemon tea without any partner. A young writer has said that “Not all people sitting in the lemon tea shops looks for a bustling environment or a chatting with friends. Just try staying alone and enjoying the lemon tea, you seem to enjoy a different slow life aspect; you time passes quietly and peacefully”. And many youngsters also says that “sitting in a corner of the street, looking at the bustling life, listening to exciting conversations of others, and enjoying a glass of lemon tea with pure taste. It is so interesting”.
Taste of the lemon tea varies from shop to shop, from season to season
Each lemon tea shop in Dao Duy Tu Street, in front of Hanoi Cathedral or Nha Chung street, etc. has its own taste not only because of skills of the makers but also because of the space. While enjoying lemon tea, the customers can also take a view over the daily life as well as the beauty of streets. As such, this is also an attraction to many foreign visitors to Hanoi. They call it a “street culture” of Hanoians.Whether it is sunny or raining, hot or cold, the lemon tea shops are always crowded.