Vietnam's embrace of the Leninist-capitalist hybrid known as the socialist market economy has led to a number of food transformations. These include increasing food imports, heavy investment by powerful domestic and foreign actors in food production and retailing, and the scaling up of domestic agriculture, as well as a range of problematic dietary changes. In an urban food scene that is tremendously rich in the number and diversity of its food spaces, the prevalence of eating out has increased dramatically. Related to affordability, convenience, time, consumer culture, and the search for the good life, eating out has become embedded in everyday life in late-socialist Hanoi. Ongoing food transformations are seeing many of these food practices move from the streets to air-conditioned restaurants. Based on eating ethnography, this article analyzes the boom in eating out in contemporary Hanoi. Studying the interplay among social practices, urban foodscapes, and political economy, and focusing on the middle-class good life and the structural conditions underpinning it, the article analyzes the visible and invisible geographies of food. The latter includes the increasing dominance of capitalist actors in late-socialist foodscapes as cheap food is enabled by intensified animal slaughter and the deep structural inequalities produced by Vietnam's compressed capitalism.

You do not currently have access to this content.