Tam Thuong Alley once belonged to Yen Thai commune, Thuan My ward, Tho Xuong district. Such administrative organization has long gone in place for the modern city. At the beginning of the Nguyen Dynasty, it bore the name of Tam Thuong from grain storage. People paid their tax in form of grains which were stored shortly here before moved into the main storage. That short-term storage was called Tam Thuong Storage, thus the name of the Alley.
By the 70s of the 19th century, when the streets of Hang Gai and Hang Bong was already busy with trade and people the alley among them was still a small village with winding, muddy road studded with banyan trees and a communal temple.
The alley was a busy alley with a tranquil ambience as it contained in itself a lot of trade and shops but still stayed rather quiet. It was famous among Hanoi connoisseurs for its food. There was a gentleman making his fame from this alley with his offerings of pho. Others sold the fine coffee to Hanoian artists and writers. Nowadays, the alley is more frequented by teenagers and young people who stop by this alley for fried sour pork cakes. The treat is simple and interesting with crunchy texture and a bit of heat. It is just like calamari with some chili sauce back in your restaurants at home. In this alley leaves the remnant of the village life from the Old Quarter. That is a communal well. Once, villagers shared this well for their water source. It was also a meet-up place for children who were having so much fun with their peers while their parents chatted over some buckets of water.
The ancient ambience has long gone in this alley but you can revisit such nostalgic atmosphere by visiting the communal temple of Yen Thai. By 5 a.m. everyday, the temple guard burn sandal wood incenses up. The life in this small alley gets awake while the elders have their morning exercise and chattering voice fill in the whole alley.