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Selling like hot cakes: Hanoians brave the cold, queue up to buy Tet delicacies
By Cam Giang - Thanh Nien News -

People line up to buy gio cha and banh chung at Quoc Huong shop on Hang Bong Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi on February 16, 2015. Photo: Cam Giang People line up to buy gio cha and banh chung at Quoc Huong shop on Hang Bong Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi on February 16, 2015. Photo: Cam Giang

It's not a common sight: dozens of customers lined up in front of a shop in Hanoi to buy food, as if the city had returned to the pre-market economy era. 
For Quoc Huong Shop on Hang Bong Street, these are simply happy days. 
The shop, which started its business some 200 years ago, is famous for making sticky rice banh chung cakes and other holiday delicacies, using traditional recipes and cooking methods.
It doesn’t take orders in advance.
One week before the Lunar New Year Festival, or Tet, people began to queue up in front of the shop to wait for their turns, said Huong, a salesperson.
The shop’s sales staff, numbered at over 50 during the days before Tet, are as busy as bees from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. to serve customers, Huong said.
“The products here are delicious and safe,” said an elderly woman named Lan, who has bought three pairs of banh chung rice cakes and six kilograms of sausage-like gio cha.
The shop is now run by 81-year-old Nguyen Thi Chan, whose relatives were natives of Uoc Le Village.
The village has been known for making gio cha and banh chung for more than five centuries.

People queue up to buy gio cha and banh chung from Quoc Huong Shop on February 16, 2015.

A Hong Kong tourist, in the green T-shirt, is surprised at seeing the long queue

Some in the line seem to become impatient

Tra Vinh, a painter living on Ngoc Ha Street, finally buys what he wants after long time queuing

This customer has waited for 30 minutes to buy six cakes, each selling for VND60,000

The shop’s sales staff are so busy to serve customers

A mother and her daughter prepare to return home with lots of food bought from Quoc Huong shop. There are still many other people waiting for their turns. 

 Photos: Cam Giang