I like this photo perhaps a little more than I should.
To me, that chicken is more than today’s lunch, destined for a last swim in some rich, bubbling broth. Its outstretched feet seem to punctuate the whole scene, shouting, “Hey! Wait! A little help here?!”
I shot this in Sapa, Vietnam, a town on the northern border near China that serves as a jumping off point for treks to nearby ethnic villages where families tend terraced rice paddies and tourists buy textiles, simple jewelry and other souvenirs. In winter, Sapa is cold and very damp, the kind of place where there’s little central heat and you spend equal time marveling at the foggy, verdant loveliness and the deep, pervasive chill.
The market in Sapa was a lush, steamy place with a lower level full of small food stalls and vendors set up along rough stone stairs to the street. Like most of the markets I visited in Vietnam, it was vibrant and colorful, a hub of local commerce, a community gathering center and perfect spot to pick up some fresh fried doughnuts and a bag of fruit. And like most markets I visited, it directly reflected the region’s agriculture and cuisine, from the vegetables for sale in thin plastic bags to the soups simmering in high metal pots.
Here is a selection of photos of Vietnamese markets—from Sapa to Hanoi to the Mekong River Delta:
Frying in a coat at the Sapa market.
“Pick me. Pick me,” in the Mekong River Delta.
Pineapple vendor at the floating market in Can Tho.
Feeling meaty at a neighborhood market near my parents’ apartment in Hanoi.
Lunch is served in Sapa.