Subsidy period recreated in Hanoi
A series of cultural events entitled “Memories of Hanoi” will take place on December 30 at Ngon Garden, 70 Nguyen Du, Hai Ba Trung district. Events include Hanoi cuisine during the subsidy period, an Exhibition of sketch paintings, and the launch of a book entitled “Old Hanoi Apartment Blocks in the Sketch & Memory”.
"Memories of Hanoi" exhibition on December 30 recalls Vietnam during the 1980s.
Those who were born and raised in Hanoi during a subsidy period (1976-1986) probably have unforgettable memories of that time. This period of Vietnam’s history was a time of hardship, when mechanisms for socioeconomic management were inappropriate and caused privations in people’s material and spiritual lives. Everything was controlled by the government. Life was difficult due to a sluggish and inefficient production system, while constraints were also applied to people’s creative and spiritual endeavors.
“Memories of Hanoi’ will remind those in attendance of the dramatic period when food, goods, and services were purchased with coupons or food stamps. Some cuisine, clothes, home appliances and house designs were born during that time and can be found today.
In addition to dishes from the subsidy period such as “com don san” (steamed red rice with cassava), “long xao dua chua” (stir-fried pig intestine with pickled mustard greens), and “dau rim mam” (deep-fried tofu in fish sauce) that will be served at the restaurant, visitors can also admire beautiful sketches of daily life and people at that time, such an old honeycomb apartment block, a long line of people waiting their turn to buy a bowl of “pho bo” (traditional Vietnamese noodles with beef), and street vendors.
The ambience of Hanoi during the subsidy period will be recreated inside the restaurant. Visitors can dine next to a “subsidy period” shop, have a cup of tea with peanut candy in a “subsidy period” tea shop, or admire a colorful altar with an abundance of food and goods for Tet during the subsidy period.
The most important activity of the event, however, is the introduction of the book “Old Hanoi Apartment Blocks in the Sketch & Memory”. “The book tells the story of Hanoi during subsidy times in the liveliest of ways,” said novelist Nguyen Quang Thieu, who used to live in an old subsidy apartment block in the capital.
“The launch of the book and exhibition is to mark the first anniversary of the group,” said Ms. Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, the team leader of “Urban Sketchers Hanoi” (the book’s authors). “We hope those who attend can relive the ambience of Hanoi during the 1980s. Old apartment blocks are also the most obvious symbol of the architecture during this time in history.”