Hang Quat is one of the most colourful streets in Old Quarter. Quat means fans, which were of course traditionally made on this street, be they from bamboo, paper or palm leaves.
Villagers set up shop in the street and the fans they made were named after their villages and sold to Hanoians and visitors. During the French occupation, the street was named Rue des Eventails (street of fans) — it was only named Hang Quat street in 1945, after the August Revolution.
Fans are no longer made here, having been replaced by items for worshipping. Running west from Luong Van Can Street (toy street), Hang Quat is only about 200 metres long but is packed with shops selling an array of brightly coloured items — including Buddhist statues, flags and lamps — as well as less gaudy but just as intricate wooden shrines.
These items are used for at-home worshipping – most homes and businesses have a shrine at which householders and workers will worship their ancestors with offerings of fruit, incense and other items, and also for larger celebrations and festivals.
It’s also the place to go for hand-crafted wooden seals in all shapes and sizes.
As well as the shops, Hang Quat has other points of interest. Check out the temple near the junction with Hang Hom and the memorial to soldiers from the ward (Hang Gai ward) near Luong Van Can. It’s also home to Green Mango restaurant, a fine-dining restaurant serving modern Asian cuisine.
The alley that runs off Hang Quat to the south, parallel to Luong Van Can, is a good spot to stop off for a delicious bowl of hoa qua (fruit with condensed milk and coconut milk) and it also has a couple of interesting souvenir shops as well as further stamp shops.
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