It's very cheap, and easy, to get a sign made in Vietnam. As a result, they're everywhere, promoting everything. Basically, in Vietnam, if you have a sign, then you're in business.
But as with most things in life, the best signs are the humble homemade ones, advertising family-run food stalls, xe om (motorbike taxi) drivers, air for your motorbike or bicycle tyres, and community notices. They're in chalk, they're on polystyrene lids, they're nailed to trees, and they are, for me, one of the most defining characteristics of the Hanoi street-scape.
If you wanted to build a set that looked like a Hanoi street, you'd start by writing "xe om" on a bit of cardboard box and nailing it to a pole. Then you'd put a dead rat on the road.
Even if I can't always understand the words, they still stand for something so important to me, and so often lacking in many more sterile, faceless cities: they're signs of life, of a real, live person who has taken up a pen to make their own mark in their town.
I'm loving your work, Hanoi. You may not be flash, but you're keeping it real.