For a moment it's easy to forget that I'm 8 thousand kilometers from south-east Asia. For a moment I really believe I'm in Hanoi. Prague is more than just the jewel of Bohemia. It's very much an alive city. Stray from the cobbled streets of old town, and you never know what you'll find.
On a warm spring day I'm walking around a bustling marketplace. Cardboard boxes full of knock-off shirts line the cramped alleyways, old men huddle around folding tables playing cards, incense smoke hangs thick in the air. I see a man methodically killing a fish, ripping out its insides and then grabbing another from a kiddie pool. Is that a metal bowl filled with Chicken feet? Well... it's certainly filled with some kind of feet.
For the more adventurous traveller, I can strongly recommend getting off the well-beaten path and exploring Prague's unique Vietnamese communities. Under the Soviets, Prague was a destination for Vietnamese immigrants and refugees. And because of massive migrations in the 1970s and 1980s the Vietnamese are now the third largest immigrant group in The Czech Republic.
The center of Vietnamese life in the city is undoubtedly the Sapa Market (or little Hanoi). Entering this bustling marketplace is like stepping through a portal to the other side of the world.
Whatever you do, don't let the 'little' in little Hanoi fool you. This city within a city is MASSIVE, and an absolute joy to wander around. Take the Red line (Line C) to Kačerov then hop on bus 113 until Sídliště Písnice. Little Hanoi is on the outskirts that's for sure, but it's a great day trip to take without ever having to leave the Prague!
If you're strapped for time and want to experience some Vietnamese culture near the city center, visit Mr. Bahn Mi in Vinohrady (Rumunská 30, 120 00 Praha 2). Incredible prices, awesome people, And quality food. The author's recommendation is the Bahn Mi special and a Vietnamese Coffee.
Whatever you do, don't pass this up!
By Pad-Thai Enthusiast, Miles Redhill