Hoi An, Vietnam1 June, 2017
After a few days in Hoi An, we finally decided to visit some of the old houses and assembly halls that the town is famous for.
For breakfast, we leisurely supped on french toast with pineapple jam, fruit, and tea at What Else Cafe. Though the day hadn’t heated up much, it was still nice to have the shade of umbrellas.
On this day, we were determined to visit as many of the old houses and halls as we could, having been negligent in this area on previous days. The first we saw was the House of Tan Ky, which has housed seven generations of the family. We were given a brief history of the house by a guide, and provided with an informational booklet. Apparently, Le Tan Ky was “born an orphan at a very early age".
The architecture was a mixture of Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese styles. While the house had many points of interest, one that particularly drew my attention was the columns that featured Chinese characters comprised of swooping abalone birds. Nearby was a case full of curiosities, including a Confucian Cup: a ceramic vessel that can be filled up to 80%, but not more or else the full contents flow out of the bottom. It’s not really intended to be drunk from, but rather stands as a metaphor for not being greedy. Even after reading a couple of explanations, I cannot understand how the physics of it works, but something something hydro-static pressure.
From there, we used Google Maps to find the Fujian Assembly Hall, but the app was foolish and led us around in circles. And that was supposedly one of the best halls! Alas, we had to abandon that particular quest.
We did, however, find the Trung Hoa Assembly Hall without issue. Built in 1741, it's one of the oldest halls in Hoi An and originally housed Chinese immigrants, as well as serving as a place of worship for Thien Hau Holy Mother.