JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

Grab a roll from Hanoi’s famous 80-year-old 'hunchbacked lady'

Thursday, August 27, 2020, 20:18 GMT+7
Grab a roll from Hanoi’s famous 80-year-old 'hunchbacked lady'
Nguyen Thi Thanh, 80, owner of a street food stall near Thanh Cong Middle School in Hanoi, fries fermented pork rolls for customers. Photo: Hong Tham / Tuoi Tre

A street food stall owned by 80-year-old Nguyen Thi Thanh has been a fixture on a cozy corner near Thanh Cong Middle School in Hanoi for the past 20 years.

Although the cart is equipped with just two gas stoves and some plastic chairs, it manages to attract dozens of customers each day.

Thanh is a white-haired lady who is quite well known amongst the local student body.

“I have experience in selling food such as rice congee, Vietnamese rice, and noodles. Every dish is gobbled up by the consumers, probably because I’m a little handier than other people,” Thanh shared.

Thanh’s menu is simple: ‘nem chua ran’ (fried fermented pork rolls), shrimp balls with cheese, and fried shrimp and fish balls.

According to Thanh, learning how to properly fry pork rolls was a learning curve and the meat would often stick together and splash oil on her hands.

“For months, I only sold 50-100 rolls a day. They were very cheap back then, only VND1,000 [$0.043] each so the profit was not much,” the old lady said.

Now, Thanh sells about 350 to 400 rolls a day. On her best-selling days, she can sell up to 500 rolls.

A pan of fried fermented pork roll at the street food stall of Nguyen Thi Thanh, 80, near Thanh Cong Secondary School in Hanoi. Photo: Hong Tham / Tuoi Tre

A pan of fried fermented pork rolls at the street food stall of Nguyen Thi Thanh, 80, near Thanh Cong Middle School in Hanoi. Photo: Hong Tham / Tuoi Tre

“Some of my customers were middle school students when they first ate at my stall, and they still do even after they have [grown up and] gotten married or returned from study abroad,” Thanh happily said.

“Some customers even bring their children."

It is not only the delicious food but also Thanh’s cheerful attitude that has made diners fall in love with the street food stall.

“Her skinny hands and hunched back remind me of my grandmother. It makes me feel very close to her. Her memory is very good. She can remember who comes first and always makes sure to arrange the food properly,” Lan, a regular customer of the stall, shared.

“Despite having to wait a long time because of a large number of customers, the cheerfulness and friendliness of the old lady make everyone willing to spend some time waiting to eat pork rolls after school."

Thanh confided that she still remembers the face of every student who visits her stall, even though she does not often remember their names.

To Thanh, it is all about creating a family atmosphere. She considers each guest a child or grandchild.

“I will only be able to run the stall for one or two more years. After that, I will pass the job on to my children and grandchildren and retire,” Thanh said.

Nguyen Thi Thanh, 80, owner of a street food stall near Thanh Cong Secondary School in Hanoi, prepares food for customers. Photo: Hong Tham / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Thi Thanh, 80, owner of a street food stall near Thanh Cong Middle School in Hanoi, prepares food for customers. Photo: Hong Tham / Tuoi Tre

A large number of customers visit the street food stall of Nguyen Thi Thanh, 80, near Thanh Cong Secondary School in Hanoi. Photo: Hong Tham / Tuoi Tre

A large number of customers visit the street food stall of Nguyen Thi Thanh, 80, near Thanh Cong Middle School in Hanoi. Photo: Hong Tham / Tuoi Tre

A group of friends enjoys their food at the street food stall of Nguyen Thi Thanh, 80, near Thanh Cong Secondary School in Hanoi. Photo: Hong Tham / Tuoi Tre

A group of friends enjoy their food at the street food stall of Nguyen Thi Thanh, 80, near Thanh Cong Middle School in Hanoi. Photo: Hong Tham / Tuoi Tre

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Linh To - Cong Hieu - Hong Tham / Tuoi Tre News

More

Read more

;

Photos

VIDEOS

Experience summer sand-boarding in Mui Ne

Sand-boarding, a popular activity amongst local children in the coastal tourism town of Mui Ne in south-central Vietnam, is attracting hundreds of tourists to the Red Sand Dunes

Young maple trees given better protection as Hanoi enters rainy season

The trees are currently growing well, with green leaves and healthy branches.

Hunting skinks for food in southern Vietnam

Skink meat is known to be soft, tasty, and highly nutritious.

Vietnamese-made app allows people to grow real veggies via smartphone

Nguyen Thi Duyen, a young engineer in Hanoi, developed the app and its related services to help busy people create their own veggie gardens.

Chinese tourists hit by Vietnamese over dine and dash

Four Chinese were reportedly injured, with one having a broken arm.

Latest news