Oct 1, 2009


I'm missing the autumn of Hanoi so much right now...  Saying goodbye to the blazing and acrimonious sunshine in the summer, Hanoi steps into the autumn with all the sun shining on each street in early October.

The autumn has arrived. You can feel it by all senses! That is the passionate smell of milk flowers (Hoa sua) spreads throughout the roads; the West Lake in the afternoon full of hoarfrost let loose indistinctly; the sweetness and fragrant cool taste of Cốm wrapped in green lotus leaf...

Cốm or green rice in a kind of Vietnamese cuisine. It is not rice dyed with color made from pandan, but is young rice, which is fried for a long time with little flame and then is ground with mortar and pestle exactly seven times to become green. The best cốm comes from Vòng village in Hanoi. Cốm is a pure, pastoral gift. Cốm is the signal of coming autumn and harvest season. Enjoying cốm, people can feel a sweet and fragrant taste and understand the skillfulness of women. Cốm can be eaten alone or mixed with coconut. There is also bánh cốm (green rice cake) with mung bean. Cốm is the food to worship ancestors in the Mid Autumn Festival.
That's the time you know the Autumn has come. Autumn turns Hanoi into a really romantic place, calm and quiet. In the afternoon, if you have time to wander on the street, you can feel the cold zephyr blows and plays with your hair. Or gliding around Hoan Kiem Lake, you will enjoy the ancient view Turtle Tower in the evening dew. Don't be surprised if you see many young couples sitting around the lake to enjoy the view, the breeze, the coolness of autumn and giving a warm hug and kiss to each other. Evening is the time for Milk flower (Hoa Sua) to wake up. Hanoi will be sunk in the sweet and slightly smell which can hit badly the nostalgia of those who have been living far away from homeland. You can only breath Milk flower smell from far away as it might give you a headache if you inhale too deeply.

Hanoi lovers find autumn is the best timing to sit back, relax and recall the memories. Autumn will help you to wash away all worries, troubles in daily life.

I used to have the habit of having a cup of coffee for my breakfast beside the lake or on top of the 5th floor open-air coffee bar in the morning autumn. At least once a week on every Saturday. That was the time, i could do nothing besides looking down the street, enjoying the breeze and thinking of something. Sometimes it's nothing. How peaceful! And if you have a company, it's perfect!

Photo by: [cory]
Hanoi is known by the reticent beauty and peacefulness. Hanoi in autumn is even more beautiful with silky sunshine, with indistinct fog and streets are full of golden leaves falling.
***Photos from: Hanoi vanhien
All makes Hanoi to become more mysterious that only those who live in could feel exactly what it is. There are many more to tell, but this is the reason why none of Hanoians could forget the place no matter how far they live. I'm one of them. I love Hanoi, I love autumn and I'm indeed very lucky because I was born in autumn. Is this the reason why I'm so emotional and romantic sometimes???
***Photo by: Sally Slack
Photo retouch: Crystal

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