10 recommended traditional Vietnamese souvenirs

10 recommended traditional Vietnamese souvenirs
Dong Ho folk woodcut painting.Photo by Vietnam Pictorial

Picking your favorite traditional Vietnamese souvenirs is the way of fulfilling your travel experiences. But more than that, gifting those is also a way of spreading our Vietnamese greetings to your loved ones.

  1. Coffee & Phin
Vietnamese coffee. Photo by Courtesy Of Coffeeholic House

Vietnam is the world’s second-biggest coffee exporting country, especially robusta beans. Thus buying coffee in Vietnam is a wise choice and also an act of showing your appreciation to Vietnamese farmers, and our coffee beans.

Locals have a distinguishable way of brewing coffee using Phin, then enjoy the dense coffee liquid with condensed milk. Once you've tasted the thick texture and rich flavor of Vietnamese coffee, you couldn't shake it out of your mind. So better buy some coffee and a Phin to enjoy it at home, every time you miss the taste of Vietnam.

You can buy quality Vietnamese coffee beans from brands that have good sourcing from central highland Vietnam:

La Viet Coffee

Address:

200 Nguyen Cong Tru, Da Lat, Lam dong

191 Hai Ba Trung, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh

Son Pacamara Roastery

Address: 20C Hoang Van Thu, Ward 4, Dalat, Vietnam

K’Ho Coffee

Address: Lat, Lac Duong District, Lam Dong, Vietnam

  1. Delicious souvenirs

There are so many nurturing and delicious foods made from local goodness. However, if you want to buy things that have a long shelf life, are packable and convenient, consider those options:

Cốm- green rice flake/ green rice flake cake

Cốm in Vong Village. Photo by Dienmayxanh.com

Packed inside all the scents of the paddy fields, the fresh milk, and sweet autumn dew, Cốm or green rice flakes is the seasonal specialty of Ha Noi. If you want to buy the tastiest and freshest ones, visit Vong Village (located in the suburb of Hanoi) during autumn, around October to November.

Taking a morning stroll along the streets of Hanoi Old Quarter, you might come across food vendors with their bamboo shoulder poles and amazingly tasty Cốm from Vong Village.

You can also buy Cốm in Hanoi's center, at one of the places below:

Banh Com Nguyen Ninh

Address: 11 Hang Than, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Com Vong Ha Noi

Address: 36/ 63 Xuan Thuy, Cau Giay, Ha Noi

Ô Mai - salted dried fruits

Apricot O Mai. Photo by inhat.vn

Visiting Hanoi, you should not skip these tasty snacks made from dried fruits such as apricot, plum, dracontomelon marinated with salt, chili, spices, and sugars. You can buy this in almost every grocery and supermarket within the city.

Or you can choose to buy from one of the shops below:

O Mai Hong Lam

Address:

  • 11 Hang Duong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • 127 Doi Can, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

O Mai Tien Thinh

Address:  21 Hang Duong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Coconut candy

Coconut candies. Photo by Dienmayxanh.com

Coconut candies are among the most popular sweets in Vietnam, which is why you can get those in most department stores, groceries, or supermarkets.

This sweet's origin is Ben Tre, the most extensive coconut growing region in Vietnam. You can travel the land and buy more coconut products such as Coconut Caramel, Vietnamese desiccated coconut flakes, Vietnamese banana rice paper, Mỹ Lồng coconut rice paper.

  1. Tribal Textiles/Brocade

There are diverse ethnic communities in North and Southwest Vietnam that have a long history of handcrafted textiles. Each tribe has unique materials, patterns, and techniques for making their traditional ones. Listed as exquisite luxury items, it’s a valuable gift even to Vietnamese people. It’s best to travel to North Vietnam (in Ha Giang or Sapa) or Southwest Vietnam (An Giang) to buy brocade at their origins.

H’Mong’s traditional textiles. Photo by Lee Vue/Unsplash

Van Giao brocade village

Address: Tinh Bien, An Giang Province, Vietnam

Ta Phin Village

Address: Sapa, Lao Cai, Vietnam

Can Cau Market:

Address: ĐT153, Can Cau, Si Ma Cai, Lao Cai, Vietnam

  1. Silk

Hanoi and Hoi An can offer the finest silk in the entire country. Hoi An was once a bustling commercial town on the legendary Silkroad, while in Hanoi Old Quarter, Hang Gai street has a long history of making high-quality silk products.

Premium silk. Photo by Metiseko.com

Hang Gai Street (or Silk Street)

Address: Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Metiseko Hoi An

Address: 142 Tran Phu, Hoi An, Vietnam

Website: https://metiseko.com/

Hoi An Silk Village

Address: 28 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Hoi An, Vietnam

Website: http://www.hoiansilkvillage.com/

  1. Ceramic & Pottery Products
A glimpse into the making of pottery in Bat Trang Village. Photo by Linh Tam/nhipsonghanoi.com.vn

Spread across the country are traditional villages making unique pottery and ceramic products. The most ancient one is Bat Trang village, located only 20km away from Hanoi's center, with more than 1000 years of making pottery. In the northern region, Phu Lang Village is also a place worth visiting to buy red-clay pottery, while most Bat Trang products are made from white clay.

Central Vietnam has Thanh Ha village located right in Hoi An town. This place once exported its products to Japan, China, and Spain via the Hoi An Trading Port during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Pottery from Bau Truc Village. Photo by Vietnamdiscovery

To the south of Hoi An, Bau Truc is the next pottery village worth visiting due to Cham's culture displayed in its products. Villagers need no turntables to shape the pottery - they only rely on their skillful hands. The final product retains its material's natural color of red gold, rosy red, or black-gray with distinct brown patterns because of the six-hour burn in furnaces.

Bat Trang pottery village market

Address: Bat Trang, Gia Lam, Hanoi, Vietnam

Phu Lang pottery village

Address: Doan Ket, Que Vo District, Bac Ninh, Vietnam

Thanh Ha Pottery Village

Address: Pham Phan, Thanh Ha, Hoi An, Vietnam

Bàu Trúc Pottery Village

Address: Street 7, Ninh Phuoc, Ninh Thuan, Vietnam

  1. Paintings and Postcards on Dó Paper
The making of woodcut prints for Dong Ho paintings. Photo by Vietnam Pictorial

The beauty of this gift lies in the exotic paper material from the local Dó tree of North Vietnam. The making process is complex and can take up to three months to finish.

Combining with the sophisticated Dong Ho folk woodcut painting technique, the gift is an absolute artwork of the finest creative traditions in Vietnam.

Tranh Dong Ho-Nguyen Huu Qua Artist

Address: Dong Khe, Song Ho, Thuan Thanh, Bac Ninh, Vietnam

  1. Conical Hat

Anywhere in this country, you can buy the traditional conical hat. However, they will look slightly different depending on their place of origin. They are primarily made from palm leaves, the bark of the Moc tree (a type of palm tree, also known as Caryota mitis), and bamboo. Conical hat's function is to protect farmers from any weather conditions. The most widely known origin places of conical hats are Chuong Village, located in Hanoi, and Tay Ho Village in Hue, which is known for its famous poem conical hat ("Non bai tho" in Vietnamese – you can see the patterns and poems that have been skillfully weaved in when light shines through it).

Handcrafting conical hats. Photo by Hoang Dinh/Unsplash

Chuong Village

Address: Lang Chuong street, Phuong Trung, Thanh Oai, Hanoi

Tay Ho Village

Address: Tay Ho village, Phu Ho, Phu Vang, Hue

  1. Ao Dai
Hue’s woman in silk Ao Dai. Photo by Tuan NA

Being a national dress of Vietnam, Ao Dai carries a long and rich cultural value, thus making it a perfect gift to bring home. Although it’s more common for women to wear Ao Dai, both men and women can wear them.

The two best-known places with a long tradition of wearing and making Ao Dai are Hanoi and Hue. Hanoi has been the capital of Vietnam, while Hue used to be the citadel of many thriving dynasties.

You can pick the fabric for Ao Dai in almost every central market of big cities like Hanoi, Hue, Da Nang, HCMC or go to famous tailor shops within your traveling destinations. Here are the best Ao dai’s tailors in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City:

Ha Noi:

Ao Dai Minh Duc

Address: 41 Dang Tien Dong, Trung Liet, Dong Da, Hanoi, Vietnam

Van Phuc Silk Trade Village

Address: Van Phuc Village, Ha Dong,  Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh City:

Ao Dai Lien Huong

Address: 111 Pasteur, Ward 8, District 3

Ao Dai Minh Khoa

Address: 39 Dong Khoi Street, District 1

  1. Vietnamese Embroidery

The creation of delicate handmade embroidery requires skillful hands, deep focus, and a lot of time. Thus depending on the region of origin,  the theme of art varies from traditional patterns, cultural symbols, to nature-inspired designs. You can buy embroidery clothes (or Ao Dai), embroidery paintings, or accessories such as fabric wallets, purses, handkerchiefs, or scarves, etc.

Tanmy Design

Address: 61 Hàng Gai, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội

  1. Calligraphy (Thư Pháp)
Calligraphy in Tet holiday. Photo by suckhoedoisong.vn

Vietnamese calligraphy is most often takes place before and during Tet. The artists will write down the positive words that people wish for in order to have good luck and fortune for the new year. Calligraphy can also be a good gift to family or friends on special occasions such as housewarmings or inaugurations.  

Here are the best places to order your calligraphy:

Thu phap Thanh Phong

29 Le Van Hien, Dong Ngac, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Vietnam

Thu phap Van Minh

Address: 120/29/5B6 Thich Quang Duc, Ward 4, Phu Nhuan, Ho Chi Minh City

Thu phap Dang Tam

Address: 18a1 on street number 35, Ward 7, Thu Duc, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Collecting souvenirs that bear cultural values is a pure joy of bringing some of the most delicate pieces of the land home to your family or friends!

Let's plan your trip to Vietnam as soon as possible and save your luggage space for the lovely Vietnamese traditional souvenirs.