Don Ganh — Colors of Hoi An

Don Ganh Hoi An Yellow Wall Reflection

Every morn­ing Hà trav­els from her home in the coun­try­side of Hoi An, Viet­nam to sell Mì Quảng (a noo­dle dish) at the Hoi An mar­ket. She trans­ports every­thing in bas­kets sus­pend­ed on either side of a bam­boo pole, called “đòn gánh” in Vietnamese.

Car­ry­ing every­thing she needs using a đòn gánh, Hà is able to bring her self-con­tained mobile restau­rant straight to the shops where her cus­tomers work. It’s a func­tion­al design, beau­ti­ful in its sim­plic­i­ty, and a sym­bol of the hard-work­ing Viet­namese woman.

This is Quảng noo­dles. It is very easy to make Mì Quảng for me. I buy the noo­dles from the mar­ket and I cook the soup at home. In the morn­ing, I get up at 3:00 AM to cook. It is very heavy to car­ry every­thing, but I am used to it. At first, it hurt my shoul­ders so bad. How­ev­er, it just last­ed for a few days and I got used to it. Now I have a back­ache. If I used a cart, I’d have nowhere to put it.”

I have been sell­ing the noo­dles for about 13 years.  An old woman in my neigh­bor­hood saw that I didn’t have a job, so she taught me this job. She felt sor­ry for me because I stayed at home and did­n’t have any mon­ey. She accom­pa­nied me for a few days. Very kind!  I car­ried every­thing, she fol­lowed me and pre­pared the food for cus­tomers. She was not my fam­i­ly mem­ber, but very nice to me. She taught me how to cook the soup.  She had a good heart!”

Many peo­ple take pic­tures of me. I don’t why peo­ple just keep tak­ing pic­tures of me. For­eign­ers just want to take pic­tures of me because I look strange while car­ry­ing the bas­kets. They are just inter­est­ed in the baskets.”

We gave Hà a large print of this pho­to which is now dis­played in her house.

Hà, 44 years old
Hoi An, Vietnam

Colors of Hoi An

This pho­to is part of “Col­ors of Hoi An” — a pho­tog­ra­phy project to high­light the bold col­ors of Hoi An, Viet­nam, jux­ta­posed with the dai­ly life of the locals. Click here to learn more about “Col­ors of Hoi An”.

Don Ganh Hoi An Yellow Wall Reflection

Purchase a Print

Inter­est­ed in “Don Ganh” click here to buy a print. Pro­ceeds will help sup­port our project “Viet­nam The Peo­ple” as well as going direct­ly back to the peo­ple we pho­to­graph. Thank you for your support!

Discover more stories from ‘Colors of Hoi An’