Places - May 15, 2021 | 09:00 pm PT

Hanoi's once-bustling food hub deserted amid new Covid wave

The food and beer hub inside Hanoi's Old Quarter, a symbol of the capital nightlife, looks forlorn as city authorities suspended street beer stalls, cafés and banned gatherings of more than 10 people over Covid fears.

Peace reigns over the "international intersection" inside Hanoi's Old Quarter, a popular tourist destination and capital symbol.

Part of Hanoi’s famous Old Quarter, Ta Hien is only about 200 meters long, connecting with Luong Ngoc Quyen, Ma May and Hang Bac streets and is home to bars, street beer stalls and restaurants, attracting tens of thousands of weekend revelers.

Amid a surge in community transmissions of new virus variants, city authorities have imposed stricter measures to contain the spread of the new wave, including the closure of all non-essential services like bars and pubs as well as the suspension of street food services, street-side cafes and beer stalls.

The city on Tuesday furthered the restrictions by banning gatherings of more than 10 people.

Ta Hien Street on the morning of May 12, with all shops closed and only a few parked motorbikes. The sidewalk looks uncharacteristically bare without its usual crowd of tourists, and passersby.

A street vendor walks past a closed beer stall.

Staff at a beer shop on Luong Ngoc Quyen Street bring tables and chairs out to clean.

Since the pandemic broke out in Vietnam in January last year, this is the fourth time non-essential services in Hanoi had been closed as a Covid-19 prevention measure.

A beer stall on Ta Hien Street has been forced to close for months due to expensive rent and sluggish business.

The bustling scene along Ta Hien 'beer street' has several times made headlines on CNN.

A couple walk on Ta Hien Street at 7 p.m.

The intersection between Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen streets no longer sees customers sitting, talking and laughing like before.

A man rides his bicycle along Ta Hien Street. Before the coronavirus outbreak, sidewalk eateries were often fully packed up until 1-2 a.m.

Dao Duy Tu Street, a famous food hub in the Old Quarter, wears a deserted look though nighttime is usually the busiest time for food stalls here.

A staff member of a coffee shop on Hang Buom Street is glued to her smartphone amid a lack of customers.

Nguyen Quy

Photos by Ngoc Thanh