Markets are a direct reflection of the vibrant life of the everyday working man in Vietnam. Bustling, chaotic, and at times, completely overwhelming. Live animals, fresh produce and rice hats can be seen for days.
A rainy night, with some minor flooding, is no exception. As everything in Hanoi is winding down by the stroke of midnight, the Long Bien market is just getting warmed up.
The Long Bien market is the main distribution point for arguably every produce in Hanoi. The faces of the market take the graveyard shift every night, fuelling themselves with local coffee and green tea.
For passersby, it’s sensory overload.
The organised chaos of shouting, motorcycle engines, and honking combined with the smell of exhaust fumes, herbs and spices create a challenging obstacle course for both body and mind. And the heavy Vietnamese downpour doesn’t make things easier for these marketeers.
Fruit and vegetables arrive throughout the night from the Vietnamese countryside and outskirts of China.
Despite the heavy rain, everyone is in good spirits.
Workers are seen lurking in front of oversized boxes and baskets, separating the good from the bad, and blocking the way of those trying to walk by.
Vendors tend to operate under blinding florescent lights and single bulbs which give an alluring glow to the night market, like moths to a flame.
As daylight slowly appears, the blinding lights gradually go off. By 6am, shoppers tend to disappear, street cleaners arrive, and the market vendors take a well-earned rest.