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Emory University

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

Vietnam: Culture, Social Change and Development


Street food vending is a global phenomenon present in both the developed and developing worlds and it is increasingly evident as countries continue to modernize, urbanize, and globalize. Street food policy is interdisciplinary in nature, incorporating economic, social, cultural, and health dimensions in order to account for urban planning, food safety, and tourism development. In Vietnam, street food is rampant, and in particular, in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, street food vendors can be spotted on every street at all times of the day. This study explores the role of street food vendors in Hanoi's Old Quarter from the vendor’s perspective. Complementing this ethnographic approach, research further explores the ways current governmental policy and regulation impacts street food vendors in Hanoi, Vietnam. Through participant observation and semi-structured interviews with ten street food vendors and six policymakers and researchers involved in street food safety and street vending policy, this research examines the current policy affecting street food vendors in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. This research aims to contextualize the street vending debate in Hanoi’s Old Quarter and explore the ways street vending policy can positively impact street vendors while maintaining the flexibility to adapt to the rapidly developing market economy.


Demography, Population, and Ecology | Growth and Development | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


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