Aeon is a Japanese company specialized in building shopping centers and more specifically malls in Asia. Coming from Europe and having lived in America for a while, I’ve experience slight differences between these two continents when it comes to shopping center.
Japanese have one of the most unique culture in the world, these idiosyncrasies can also be found in the way they build their mall. Find out what are those differences and why is it something special you should try.
Like I said in my previous article about 10 things to do in Hanoi, malls are in Vietnam what malls were in the US in the 80’s. It is a place for people living in the suburbs to go out and enjoy some activities. In malls you will find mostly the middle class dressing up to shop, have dinner and have some entertainment during the weekends.
In America malls are mostly average in prices, but in Vietnam compare to the street entertainment, franchises and chains are much more expensive. Thus going to the mall for eating is some sort of an event in itself.
A Shopping on a Large Scale
In Vietnam, Aeon malls are very famous for producing above average sized shopping centers. Much more so than their Vietnamese competitor Vincom. Like in most emerging countries, having an Aeon Mall built around your house means that the price of the land will grow exponentially in the near future.
My first experience of Aeon mall was actually in Cambodia, in the suburb area of Phnom Penh. I was pleasantly surprised, almost impressed by the quality of the facilities and restaurants.
Made in Japan
The thing that impressed me the most in my first experience in Aeon Mall was the quality of the facilities, stores and restaurant. I’ve been to many malls in Asia before and they were always empty, especially during the week days.
But Aeon Mall was pretty packed even in the afternoon when me and my friend went out to have a drink. After we went to eat sushi and the quality was very good and the prices very close to what we would pay in Europe.
The facilities are large, well built and very clean. There are more staff members than the average mall in Europe, I believe. It honestly looks new and modern. Most stores are well known franchise with a minimum quality in their services.
The malls are very complete in their offerings, supermarket, various stores, restaurants, cinema, games and even gym.
The clothing stores are bit upscale compared to the traditional Vietnamese store. You can find mid level clothes store like Uniqlo and other stores like D. Chic which is a Vietnamese brand making beautiful and upscale woman’s clothes. You can find my opinion on it here : 10 Vietnamese Brands making Beautiful Dress.
Most people in Vietnam buy their clothes in street stores or shopee.
The Super Market
The super market in Aeon mall is big by Vietnamese Standard. Very close to what a Big C would be in size but a lot more expensive. You can even find some good bottle of whiskies like Macallan 12 Sherry costing around 12,000,000 vnd the bottle.
In this super market, you will be able to find local products as well as imported Japanese products. You can even find some product from Europe such as Bonne Maman Jam or Mozzarella. These products are a bit pricy especially compared to Vietnamese product you can find in Traditional Markets. I thought Vinmart was already expensive, but Aeon Mall is even higher flirting the limits of posh.
One thing to know is that food in Vietnam is relatively expensive. For example the price of meat is around the same as in France. All imported products are obviously more expensive.
To give you an example to buy a 100g box of strawberries will cost you around 189,000 vnd or over 7 euros. Strawberries are a luxury in Asia where in France they are just another type of fruit.
You’ll also find in Aeon Mall seafood and fresh fish, which is not something you can find in traditional Vietnamese super market like big C.
Aeon Mall proposes also dedicated stores and stands, for example, in front of the market you’ll be able to buy fresh bakery and bread, sushis, roasted and fried chicken, pizzas and other hamburgers.
The food quality is very decent and the place is actually very fun to have lunch in, especially in the weekends where it is extremely crowded with families.
The Food Court
The thing I love the most about Aeon mall is their food court. Like in America, you will have a bunch of traditional restaurants on one of the upper floors but also restaurant stands with tons of available tables and chairs to eat with your friends.
This way, people in a large group can each eat what they want and you still can enjoy the same table while eating. Great idea in my opinion.
My favorite restaurant in Aeon Mall is probably Gogi, a Korean Barbecue Chain Restaurant. Looking hard enough you can find that most of these restaurants belongs to the same 2-3 groups. So at some point the food is quite the same in quality unfortunately.
There are also restaurants in the first level close to the parking lot. These areas are usually reserved to fast food who rely partly on delivery such as Domino Pizza and KFC. Sadly post covid, my favorite franchise for fried chicken Popeyes was replaced by another restaurant.
One thing to know about Vietnamese, is that they love to eat hot pot which is a very social way to eat, sharing the same broth to cook your food. It also takes something like 1 to 2 hours to finish a hot pot.
The Game Area
Aeon mall also have a dedicated area for playing. In this section you will find gaming parc for kids such as A Tiny World, Fun Zone and the Kidzooona I reviewed lately.
There are also the arcade Dream Games for older people. I actually had my first date with my wife over there shooting some hoops.
I haven’t had the chance to try the Cinema in Aeon Mall since I moved out after my wife pregnancy in Long Bien, so I’ve never tried CGV only Galaxy cinemas. Usually the movies are in their original audio version with Vietnamese subtitles. They even have IMAX Theatre in Hanoi, unfortunately not in this cinema.
The parking lot
The parking lot of Aeon Mall is very different than the ones in Europe since most people use scooters or bikes here. The parking is free and there are security to make sure no one steal your bike which can happen frequently in Asia.
8.5 out of 10
Japanese knows how to make quality and this is no different for Malls and Shopping Centers. Their attention to details is well above average, so no wonder it has become such a success in South East Asia.
The quality is so high that unfortunately, spending time in an Aeon Mall has become something only the middle class can enjoy often.
Overall, it is a good project for the local economy and growth. It brings a lot of variety in entertainment and creates jobs for locals.
Aeon Mall Long Bien
Address : 27 Đ. Cổ Linh, Long Biên, Hà Nội, Viêt Nam
Website : https://aeonmall-long-bien.com.vn