Vietnam Souvenir: What to buy in Vietnam? Shopping tips in Vietnam

If you are wondering what to buy in Vietnam for your next trip, then this article is just what you need!

Discover a cultural concoction of manic markets, specialist streets, designer boutiques and cycling vendors. In any Vietnamese market, you’ll come across everything from tribal textiles to shoes, coffee to crafts, paintings to specialty foods. 

Gentle haggling is part of the fun. Take a piece of the experience home in these traditional gifts. 

#1 – VIETNAMESE COFFEE

Vietnam is the world’s largest exporter of Robusta coffee and they sure know how to make the most of it. You may never forget the flavor of the best coffee in the world during your trip : Cà phê đá (black coffee), cà phê sua đá (coffee with sweet milk), cà phê sữa chua (yoghurt coffee), cà phê trứng (egg coffee)… the delectable list of caffeinated beverages just goes on and on. The way to make this coffee is so special: you can pick up a single cup filter ( phin ca phe) and a bag of local coffee for just under 10$. 

#2 – LOTUS TEA

Lotus, the national flower of Vietnam, can be found in many parts of the country but it is believed that the ones in Hanoi’s West Lake are the best varieties with a more lingering scent.

Over the years, the tea makers of Hanoi have mastered the art of flavoring green tea with lotus stamen fragrance. This meticulous and time-consuming process takes 1500 lotus flowers to make 1kg of lotus tea. That is why the prices of this Vietnam’s ancient tea can go up to hundreds of dollars per kilogram.

But when you taste this noble tea, you will know that it is worth the price. A cup of high-grade green tea combined with lotus’s luscious fragrance gives us a crisp, sweet, vanilla hinted flavor with the scent of Lotus flower lingering in the mouth.

This is one of the best things to buy in Vietnam for yourself or for your family. Prices are from VND5 million ($220) to VND8 million ($352) per kilogram. But don’t worry! It takes only a teaspoon (3.6g) to make a 180ml pot of tea. A 125-gram box is good enough to be a nice gift.

WHERE TO BUY

  • Huong Mai Café in the Old Quarter at 58 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi or at 15 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • trasen.vn at 169 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Hanoi
  • Che Minh Cuong at 65 Cu Chinh Lan, Thanh Xuan, Hanoi

#3 – VIETNAMESE SILK PRODUCTS

When it comes to Vietnamese silk, Hanoi has the best silk village and textiles. Its famous Van Phuc silk village (aka Ha Dong silk village) with a thousand year of history is where all the finest quality silk brought to life.

This village is just 8 kilometers south-west of Hanoi, making it convenient for a half-day visit. Take this to learn about the weaving process, and buy the products your heart desires at the original prices. Those can’t make the trip can get silk at specialty shops on Hang Gai (the silk street of Hanoi) like Khail Silk and Duc Loi Silk.

Things to bring back include the raw fabrics and ready-to-use stuff like scarves, Ao Dai, dresses, ties, cosmetic bags, and underwear bags.

BEST GIFTS FOR: The ties make the great gifts for the males while the scarves are something the females will love.

PRICES: From 150,000 VND ($6.50) per meter of silk fabric; 480,000 VND ($21) per scarf; 240,000 VND ($10.50) per cosmetic bag; the famous Khaisilk ties are from $30 to $50 per item

WHERE TO BUY

  • Khai Silk at 113 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • Duc Loi Silk at 77 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • Le Minh Silk at 79 – 111 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

#4 -Ô MAI (SALTED OR SUGARED DRIED FRUITS)

O Mai is a traditional specialty of Hanoi, which is dried fruits mixed with sugar, salt, lime, chili, and ginger to obtain a harmonious taste of salty, sweet, sour, and spicy. The most common fruits used to make O Mai are plum, apricot, peach, dracontomelum, star fruit, tamarind, kumquat, pineapple, and mango.

To Hanoi people, O Mai is a quintessential snack to enjoy and to welcome guests during Tet holiday (Lunar New Year). Its flavour is best brought out with a cup of lotus tea. In Hanoi, o mai is abundantly sold along Hang Duong Street.

BEST GIFTS FOR: All those people who love trying new foods and snacks.

PRICES: Around 40,000 VND ($1.7) per box of 200g; 90,000 VND ($4) per box of 500g

WHERE TO BUY

  • Hong Lam store at 11 Hang Duong Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • Tien Thinh store at 21 Hang Duong Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • Toan Thinh store at 15 Hang Duong Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

#5 – PROPAGANDA POSTERS

Propaganda posters & prints are everywhere in Vietnam,  Plaster your walls with bold graphic memories of Vietnam’s political ideology and patriotic nationalist past. You can pick up a colourful piece of history for as little as $7.

What to buy in Vietnam
Vintage Vietnam Propaganda Poster, Industrialization and Modernization

WHERE TO BUY

You can buy in any souvenir store in the Hanoi Old Quarter.

#6 – CHOPSTICKS 

When you return home from your Vietnamese adventures, a set of chopsticks will probably be the cheapest, yet most iconic reminder of all those delicious, piping hot bowls of phở and bún chả  you ate on your journey. Starting at $1 per pair.

chopsticks

Inlaid with shell coating makes it a very subtly exquisite gift. Photo by Donna Bramhall.

#7 – TRADITIONAL DÓ PAPER 

Dó paper is handmade paper produced from the bark of the Rhamnoneuron Balansae tree. Traditionally, Vietnamese Đông Hồ paintings depicting ages-old folklore were printed on sheet of dó. This charming artistic process truly encapsulates Vietnam’s history, imagination and craftsmanship. Prices vary depending on the print.

BEST GIFTS FOR: Children and female friends or family members

PRICES: From 35,000 VND ($1.50) to 45,000 VND ($2) per item

PORTABLE LEVEL: Easy to manage

WHERE TO BUY

  • Craft Link at 43 & 51 Van Mieu, Dong Da, Ha Noi, Vietnam
  • Souvenir shops on Hang Gai and Hang Bac, Old Quarter, Ha Noi

#8- CONICAL HATS

Conical hats are the most recognisable and classic symbol of the Vietnamese silhouette. The handwoven, palm leaf hat is rich with history, cultural sentiment and designed to protect people from the rain and sun. These are worn by people of both sexes and all ages although you’ll see it is most favoured by those prone to working outside in markets, rice paddies and on the water.  

BEST GIFTS FOR: A friend or family member who enjoys outdoor activities such as gardening

PRICES: From 30,000 VND ($1.30) – 150,000 VND ($6.50)

PORTABLE LEVEL: Hard to manage due to its conical shape

WHERE TO BUY

  • Souvenir shops in Old Quarter, Hanoi
  • Dong Xuan Market in Dong Xuan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

#9 – TRIBAL TEXTILES 

textiles shop hanoiEach among more than 20 ethnic minority groups living in the northern mountain villages of Vietnam has their own distinct culture, which can be recognised through their weaving patterns and clothing styles.

The products made by those people like scarves, bags, clothing items, textiles, paintings, woodworks, and ceramics are impressive and culture-rich. You can easily find those during your  trip to Sapa or other destinations in the northwest of Vietnam. 

BEST GIFTS FOR: Someone who is into exotic cultures

PRICE:  Fabrics typically start from $15.

Vibrant fabrics boasting perfectly symmetric designs. Photo by Donna Bramhall.

#10 – VIETNAMESE HERBS & SPICES 

Vietnamese herbs and spices are the perfect gift for all those foodies back home. Recognised as the foundation of all the culinary sensations consumed around the country, Vietnamese cuisine is praised around the world for its brilliant balance of fresh flavours, mouthwatering smells and tantalising textures. Nearly every destination from the Mekong Delta to Sapa offers regional cooking classes at varying levels of difficulty, so why not take your channel your inner masterchef and take a taste of Vietnam home with you? Sachets of herbs start at $3.

#11 – AO DAI

The áo dài is a national symbol of traditional Vietnamese beauty, femininity and sophistication, especially in Hanoi. The elegant tunic consists of long sleeves, stand collar and side seam slits up to the waist and is usually worn with palazzo-style pants. Vietnamese women can be seen wearing áo dàis on a daily basis in Hanoi, but it is most popular at weddings and around Tet holiday (Vietnamese New Year). The dress shirt and pants combo start at $25 per set.

BEST GIFTS FOR: Yourself or your mother and sister

PRICES: From 700,000 VND ($30) per Ao Dai set

PORTABLE LEVEL: Easy to manage. Just fold this two-piece costume up and put it into the luggage like any of your other clothes.

WHERE TO BUY

  • Shops on Bach Mai Street, Kham Thien Street and Hang Da Market for ready-made Ao Dai
  • Ao Dai Viet Nam at 40 Trang Thi, Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi for customised Ao Dai
  • Ao Dai Designer Boutiques at 23 Luong Van Can Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi for customised Ao Dai

#12 – LACQUERWARE 

Lacquerware in Vietnam originated from the Hanoi College of Fine Arts under the French occupation in the 1930s. The time-consuming skill is a technique that seals paintings, inlays, engravings and gold leaf designs under layer after layer of tree sap. Goods variously priced.

Hoi-An-coconut-lacquer-bowls
Hoi An coconut lacquer bowls

#13 – BAM BOO PRODUCTS

Bamboo bowls, baskets and bathmats are some of the products popular with both locals and tourists. This versatile material can be handcrafted into a multitude of traditional and modern designs at prices suitable for every budget.

VIETNAM SHOPPING TIPS

Experienced visitors to Vietnam recommend always driving a hard bargain when shopping in this country. Hard does not mean aggressive, however. The trick is to bargain with a smile and to be polite – this way, you will probably get what you want at a price with which you and the dealer are both happy. If you have time to spare, it is always wise to compare products and prices; don’t just buy the first item you see in the first shop. Many people will also tell you that buying from street vendors is cheaper than buying in malls or markets, but this is not always the case, so shop around. It is better to take your time and enjoy searching for good Vietnamese souvenirs and gifts for your family and friends. 

Vietnam Souvenir: What to buy in Vietnam? Shopping tips in Vietnam
5 (100%) 1 vote

Share this:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •