The story of Cho Gao Street

One destination on your journey to discover Vietnamese traditional culinary art - Lang Lieu cooking class, you will have the chance to go past one key door in trading of the old time - Cho Gao Street.

Cho Gao Street is about 500 meters to the North-East of Guom Lake, located at Hang Buom Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. The street consists of two parallel branches 75m long along Tran Tran Duat Street (the place near the foot of Chuong Duong bridge) to Dao Duy Tu street. The upper branch connects to the top of Nguyen Sieu street, the lower branch crosses the top of Dong Thai street.


Cho Gao Street today

This is the place where the To Lich river flows to the east to connect with the large river named Nhi Ha. The boat landing is located at the border of Giang Nguyen, belonging to Huong Nghia village, Ta Tuc canton (later renamed Phuc Lam) in Tho Xuong district. Huong Nghia communal house remains. By the end of the 19th century, sand was filled by the Red River, so Lich river mouth was gradually filled up.

The Hanoi map published in 1890 also painted this section of To Lich river, before it was completely leveled by the French colonialists in the last years of the 19th century. The area that had been filled to be an empty land was called the Place du Commerce ("Commercial Square"). It gradually gathered grain traders who were being transported by boats from various places outside the Red River wharf.

Not far from there, the French also crossed the Red River the iron bridge Pont Doumer (or Long Bien Bridge), the longest in Indochina in the early 20th century. Then they built here a specialized market for rice that people we used to call "Gao Market", French name is "Marché de la rue du Riz" (ie "Rice Market"). The street was only officially Mayor Tran Van Lai named Cho Gao in 1945, after the Japanese coup d'etat.

Around the river, there were many Chinese households doing jobs such as weighing and milling rice, exporting rice; therefore, Cho Gao market quickly became a busy place. The market was quite wide, without walls and corrugated iron roofs to avoid rain and sun. A row of shady phoenix trees are planted in the East on the banks of the banks of the River (ie "Quai Clémenceau", now Tran Nhat Duat Street), in the summer flowers bloom red, leaving many memories of students.




Formerly there were many porters carrying rice and other goods to shops on Hang Buom and Dao Duy Tu streets; they resided outside the river banks or suburban villages, others were Chinese wives who live in Sam Cong alley (now Dao Duy Tu alley), Rue Lataste (Hang Giay street), Rue Galet (Luong Ngoc Quyen street ), while healthy women often worked as shavers (rice milling).

Cho Gao Street has just a few houses, but it used to be a busy trading place. At the end of the street, the street was connected with the old downtown area, so a lot of people came and relied on it to make a living. At the beginning of the north block, the upper branch of Cho Gao street, there was Tran Nhat Duat Primary School, formerly known as Truong Ke (French "Quai" means "river bank"), the fence stretched to the middle of the street; followed by a series of small houses of rice traders.

The southern street, the lower branch of Cho Gao street, which was a large warehouse of rice, turned to Dao Duy Tu street, where later gathered many shops selling rice and flour, but now there are banks and beer bars surrounding, dog meat, and entertainment clubs. Recently, lemon tea has started spreading to Cho Gao street, famous for its bitter tea. In fact it is just black jelly put in a glass of coconut milk mixed with condensed milk, but it is the strange bitter taste that easily attracts young people.

Cho Gao street currently does not retain any trace of To river wharf and the old rice market. But at the end of the upper branch, near the intersection of Dao Duy Tu - Nguyen Sieu, there is still Huong Nghia communal house (communal house at 13b Dao Duy Tu street), inside worshiping Cao Tu (younger brother Cao Lo, general of An Duong Vuong Thuc Phan), later built more shrines to the Mother. At the beginning of the street, there is Tran Nhat Duat Primary School, the relic of the old Ke school.

Cho Gao is one of many destinations in our cooking class - culinary journey, which will bring you to a back-time journey to discover the story of origin, the growth of culture and the soul of Vietnam that have left their mark in today’s dishes. 

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