One of the most beautiful things about Hanoi is the street food. People set up entire restaurants on the sidewalk; in some places, the crowds and tables become so dense that pedestrians are forced into the street, which then snarls up the traffic, and as people move back toward the sidewalk to avoid cars, everything seems more dense with people, more alive, more happening.
But that mostly happens during the evening. During the day, soup broth is being cooked, tables and tiny stools are being set out, dishes are being scrubbed, meat is being chopped. The general contours of the evening’s restaurant are laid out, and as lonely as this might look, the stacked blue tables on the right of the picture, and the stacked stools in the middle, give you an indication of how many people this place expects to serve at night.