Zippos

Once devoted companions to US soldiers during the American War, Zippo lighters tell unique stories through the messages and symbols carved into the lighters' metal casings. Be forewarned though: profanity is common in many etched messages; they were written by homesick, disgruntled, weary soldiers after all. Most Zippos still work and only require a top up of lighter fluid or a new flint. You'll find mostly copies in Hanoi, but the one Martin Sheen flicked in Apocalypse Now wasn't the real deal either. Faux War-period Zippos can be had for under VND100,000. Start your search around Hanoi's Old Quarter.

If you're shopping for a genuine War-issue lighter you may want to bring along a Zippo identification book to help you weed through the sea of fakes. Zippos were issued to the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Vietnamese Coast Guard and RVN, so you'll have plenty of stock to rummage. If you do manage to find a vintage authentic Zippo in good condition, be prepared to bargain hard. It's base economics; supply is dwindling and demand is rising.

GALLERY

Tan My Embroidery

A storied Hanoian tradition with roots in fashion, design and houseware, Tan My Embroidery is one of Hanoi's oldest shops that produce embroidered goods. From pillow cases, clothes, linens, table cloths and pyjamas, you'll find everything you need to outfit you and your home. Choose from stylish patterns, classic designs and bright colours that add a touch of boldness to your life. Tan My Embroidery also operates Hanoi's Tan My Design and Tan My Cafe, both located across the street.

Three generations have been involved in Tan My Embroidery, which grew out of the trying years of war in Vietnam. Mother of Huong, the founder of Tan My, embroidered loved ones' messages on handkerchiefs to be given to soldiers who then carried the items with them throughout the war. Today all embroidery at Tan My is done by hand by over 500 skilled artisans, which ensures you're purchasing the finest quality work. Visit the shop at 66 Hang Gai in central Hanoi.

GALLERY

Mekong Quilts Hanoi

Mekong Quilts is  a social enterprise specializing in high quality, hand crafted quilts  and accessories. The Indo-Chine inspired quilt range uses patchwork, piecing and intricate stitch detail to create a contemporary aesthetic. We use only the highest quality silks and cottons, along with beautiful vintage ethnic embroideries in our products.

Mekong Plus Hanoi

Our accessories range combines the use of sustainable and local raw materials such as bamboo, water hyacinth and papier-mache with traditional hand craftsmanship to create innovative designs such as Bamboo bikes and gift items.

Bamboo bikes Mekong Plus Hanoi

Mekong Quilts was established in 2001 as an income generation project under the umbrella of parent NGO, Mekong Plus. Quilting is labour intensive and requires minimum investment; a perfect employment activity. HCMC-based dentist Thanh Truong recognised these qualities and through her passion for quilts, began the programme with just 35 women, selling the quilts ‘Tupperware style’.

Mekong Plus Hanoi

Today Mekong Quilts engages over 340 women in full time employment in communities northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, Long My in the Mekong Delta and Rumdoul, Cambodia. All profits from products sold are returned to the villages both directly in the form of salaries, and indirectly in funding for community development projects.

 

GALLERY

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