As anyone who has fallen for its evocation of Indochinese charm or witnessed recent introductions such as top-end restaurants, designer boutiques, and even Bentleys will know, the Hanoi of today is not short on class. Nevertheless, this grand old dame of the Orient, which celebrated its millennium in 2010, is as thrilling as it is beguiling, its buzzing streets alive with colorful sights, pungent smells, and often deafening sounds. A fascinating blend of Vietnamese, Chinese, and French influences, Hanoi is changing quickly but maintains a strong identity. Timeless tableaus of Old Asia are easy to spot, although those looking to buy a period piece will leave disappointed. From grandfathers with wispy beards playing chess to youngsters sipping wine at art openings, Hanoi is a stew of many flavors that emerges tasting singularly Vietnamese.