The market is a typical feature of Vietnamese culture. If you want to learn about the culture of a certain area quickly, perhaps going to the market will give you an overview of the lifestyle and behavior through the commercial style of that place. And Hoi An is also an exception.
Therefore, the Hoi An markets also have a lot of unique beauty. Hoi An Central Market is the gateway to the old town with a variety of products, and Thanh Ha Fish Market specializes in supplying wholesale seafood to Hoi An and Da Nang. Besides that, two markets are Ong Cop Market and Ba Le Market that serve the locals.
We will go to study each market in Hoi An to know when and what to do there!
1. Hoi An Central Market
The Central Market, also known as Hoi An Market, is always at the top of the list of markets in Hoi An because it locates in the old town. The market sells the fullest range of everyday consumer goods, such as green vegetables, shrimp, crabs, fish, pork, and beef. In addition, fabrics, clothing, and souvenirs can also be found here.
Central Market is also the largest one in Hoi An, stretching from Hoang Dieu street at the beginning of Cam Nam bridge to Tran Quy Cap street at the center of Hoi An ancient town.
The market includes many areas:
- Along the riverbank is an area for selling seafood.
- The court on Hoang Dieu street has many kiosks selling dry products.
- The building adjacent to Tran Quy Cap Street is Hoi An Food Market, and the area selling pork and beef.
- Hoi An fabric market locates between the food court and dry goods.
Hoi An Market has its own food court, so this is a great area for you to enjoy local food and street food in Hoi An. You will find a variety of dishes with attractive colors and flavors, such as spring rolls, pancakes, Quang noodles, duck porridge, and sweet soups.
Since the market is in the old town of Hoi An, so if you use a private car or taxi, you park in the parking lot near the corner of Hoang Dieu and Phan Chu Trinh streets. The best way is to walk to explore Hoi An Central Market.
The opening time of Hoi An market is from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, every day of the week. The most crowded time at the market is from 7:30 am to 9:30 am.
2. Thanh Ha Fish Market
Thanh Ha Fish Market locates on the bank of Thu Bon River in Thanh Ha village, about 3 km from the center of the old town. Thanh Ha Fish Market plays an important role in supplying seafood products to hotels and restaurants as well as small markets in Hoi An, and Da Nang market.
The day started at Thanh Ha Fish Market at 3:00 am. When the night still covers, groups of people pour into the fishing port. Under the yellow light emanating from seafood shops, a sleepy look can be seen on many people’s faces. However, as soon as the ship arrives, they are unusually awake. On the river wharf, boats and ships come to the dock, carrying fishes, crabs, and shrimps.
Around 5:00 am – 5:30 am, the fish market is much busier. The fishing boats are more crowded. Tons of fresh fishes are picked up from the shipping compartment one by one. Seafood is available all year round in this harbor, but most in September – October each year.
If heavy work, such as carrying fish, rowing boat, and porter, requires men’s health, the others need meticulousness, such as sorting shrimp, crab, and fish often for women. Dozens of women always are covered in masks, boots, and gloves. Occasionally, they will cheer up with some funny stories about family life.
When you come to Thanh Ha Fish Market, perhaps you will not be able to ignore the beautiful image of the people working here, along with the products from the sea. Everything like a living picture is waiting for you. So, it is better to prepare well-equipped cameras to capture the images of labor in the fish market.
When exploring or taking pictures, choose the right corner. Please do not bother the job of the local people, because they are all in a hurry to get ready for the morning markets.
The best time to visit Thanh Ha Fish Market is from 5:00 am to 5:45 am when the most crowded and bustling time is. Also, the best means of transportation is probably a car or a taxi from your hotel.
3. Ong Cop Market (Tiger Market)
If Thanh Ha Fish Market specializes in supplying fishes to Hoi An and Da Nang, Hoi An Central Market serves people living in the old town and tourists, Ong Cop Market (also known as Tan An Market) serves the local people.
Ong Cop Market situates in group 3, block Xuan My, Tan An ward, Hoi An city, Quang Nam province. The market offers daily consumer goods, which also includes seafood, meat, and green vegetables.
Typically, the green vegetables here have excellent quality because they come from Tra Que vegetable village, 2.5 km away. Tra Que Vegetable Village specializes in the cultivation of organic vegetable products, so the fragrance and taste are very rich.
The name of Ong Cop Market (Tiger Market) sometimes causes curiosity to many visitors when coming here. Indeed, the name of the market is associated with the name of a sacred temple nearby, called the Tiger Temple.
The story tells that in the past, this land was filled with bushes and sand. Every night there are many weasels, feral cats often caught chickens and domestic animals. One day, people around that area heard the roar of a tiger. Also, from that day, the people’s pets no longer lost, perhaps thanks to the tiger’s roar that other destructive animals feared to go away.
One day, people passing through the temple and saw a tiger died from his wound. Perhaps, being caught in the jungle, the tiger ran to this area. To thank the tiger for helping the people repel the destructive animals, the local people buried and built a temple for the tiger. The current shrine area was built in 1936. They call it Ong Cop or Tiger Temple to show gratitude and respect.
Today, when you come to Tiger Temple, you will see a front screen with a picture of a very powerful tiger.
Tan An Market itself is close to Tiger Temple, so local people often call this market the Ong Cop Market or the Tiger Market.
Ong Cop Market is crowded from 6:30 am to 9:00 am. The market is open all day, but mornings are still more crowded than in the afternoon. Perhaps, the vegetables and the morning food are fresher and more delicious.
4. Ba Le Market
Ba Le Market locates on Le Thanh Tong Street, near Cua Dai Street that connects Hoi An Ancient Town and Cua Dai Beach. So this market is very convenient for tourists to stop to buy fruit and drink when going to the sea.
Like Ong Cop Market, Ba Le Market serves almost indigenous people. Compared with the above markets, Ba Le Market is the smallest. However, it also has a full range of items for the local life, from green vegetables to meat.
When entering the market, you will see on the left side are food items, including hu tieu (dry noodle), pho, and vermicelli, and on the right sell unprocessed foods. Coming to Ba Le Market, the most exciting thing is to enjoy a bowl of Nam Vang noodles. The noodle soup has the fragrant aroma of cilantro, the sweet and fatty of bone broth and shrimp meat.
When asked about the name of Ba Le Market, people here tell that: In the past, that area was just empty land. There is a woman named Le who often carried products of her family, including chickens, eggs, vegetables, and tubers for sale. Gradually, the surrounding people also brought products to sell there. Just like that, a market was executed. And local people call Ba Le Market to indicate the origin of the market’s creation.
Like other markets in Hoi An, Ba Le Market is open all day. The most crowded time is before 8:30 am and after 4:00 pm. Indeed, this market is very small, so you come here to visit it takes about 20-30 minutes. Therefore, you should combine with a trip to Cua Dai Beach or when moving to Hoi An Ancient Town from your beach hotel.
Visiting the markets is the right way to understand the culture and life of the local people. By observing sellers and buyer exchanging, buying, and selling, you will see the personality of Hoi An people.
The comfortable way of buying and selling, not too much bargaining shows that Hoi An people are very close, honest, and friendly.
Outstanding in the Hoi An markets, green vegetables and saltwater fishes also show that this land is very rich in agriculture and good at fishing.
Although many areas of the markets get fishy and smelly than supermarkets in Vietnam, people feel more interested in shopping at the traditional markets. This feature also shows the very close connecting community between Hoi An people.
No matter where you are, domestic or foreign tourists, you will be welcomed like a local when you visit Hoi An markets. It is because Hoi An people are very open-minded and hospitable.