I adore the houses in the old town of Hoi An! They’re uniform in their antiquity but individually unique. They look ill-tended with their old paint and rustic wood shutters but charming because of that look. They’re zen but lively, simple but sophisticated. And because of that, I decided to have a series on this blog named Beautiful Hội An to share this town’s beautiful places that have inspired me.
This post is about my two favorite arts and crafts
exhibition houses in town. Each is a typical Hoi An design with a front house, a back house and a brick or stone yard in between. They sell ceramics, cloth, silver and paintings, all of which are beautifully designed and made in Vietnam. And they both have a nice bar in the yard which serves coffee. I’m recommending these two places out of true love, no sponsorship involved.
1. COTIC ART SPACE – 60 Nguyen Thai Hoc
The front room on the first floor of COTIC is heaven for ceramics and antique lovers. They have a wide selection of tea sets and vases artistically arranged on antique mother-of-pearl-inlay tables. Most of my ceramic pieces that you see in this blog are from here, like this green set and this blue set. Their ceramics are on the fancy side by Vietnamese standard, but the price is actually cheaper than western stores such as Crate and Barrel, and so I never feel guilty picking up a plate there. Their silver jewelry, linen collection, hand-woven baskets, and essential oils are worth taking a look, too. I love walking up to COTIC’s balcony to enjoy a nice view of the street and see how roofs in Hoi An are changing their colors in different seasons (more on this in later post).
2. XỨ ĐÀNG TRONG – 9 Nguyen Thai Hoc
It’s been around for just half a year but Xứ Đàng Trong has become one of my all-time favorite crafts shops ever. The name is an old, poetic term referring to the central region of Vietnam. This place hosts traditional live music every night, and their native crafts are very affordable, so much so that I can easily go broke here. My husband, my mom, my brother, and my friends all love this place. Xu Dang Trong changes its core exhibition theme every month or so. One month they displayed hand weaving, natural dying, and fabric painting exhibition, and next month they showed traditional paper making technique using bamboo. As a Vietnamese, I find it very interesting to see first-hand many kinds of traditional handicrafts. This is also my go-to place for essential oils, delicious local honey and cinnamon and exotic-flavored tea… I can go on about this place forever.
I hope you had a fun little sneak peak into Vietnamese aesthetics. More to come next week! Have a great weekend!