The Vietnamese kitchen is known to be delicious, healthy and filled with flavors. There’s usually no problem eating out here, but there’s always these rare stomach issues that can occur if you don’t take precautions. Although most of the food in Vietnam is safe, there’s certain things that are best avoided. Let’s take a look at those things.
1. Tap Water
You probably know by now that it’s incredibly important to do your research beforehand to see if you can drink the tap water. Unfortunately, Vietnam is a country where you should avoid tap water, if you don’t want any stomach issues. Always opt for the bottled or filter water and avoid crushed ice. If the ice has a little hole in it, it means that it’s machine made and it’s then safe to drink. But if it’s crushed, it’s usually been crushed with hands, and it’s those bacterias that you should avoid. Also, if you want to make a better impact on the environment, bring your own reusable water bottle which you can fill with filtered water. So instead of paying money to buy several plastic bottled water, you can just bring your own and fill it just as good water. This is a crucial step towards fighting plastic.
2. Roadside coffee
Cheap coffee might sound like a good idea, but most places usually add fillers which might be toxic for you. Since coffee is so popular, and people usually tend to look for the cheaper options, the coffee shop owners might mix in cheaper chemicals in order to inflate their profits. It’s better to do it the safe way and go to a nice café, spend a bit of extra money and walk out knowing your stomach won’t feel queasy. Besides, these nice cafés usually offer good WiFi and comfortable spaces, so you can either work there if you’re a digital nomad, or rest your feet after a long day of sightseeing.
3. Dog meat
This topic is very controversial because what’s the difference between a dog and a cow, you might wonder? Well, not much, but it’s important to not support the black market for dogs. Usually, these dogs have been stolen by families and are being sold to dog meat restaurants. Would you like your family dog to be stolen away from you to be made into stew? Nope. Didn’t think so.
4. Avoid cold soups
There’s a reason why most, or all, soups in Vietnam are hot. Don’t accept a pho that’s not burning hot, or at least relatively warm. You see, the heat kills all the bad bacteria, which is why most soups are hot in Vietnam. Besides, what’s more delicious than warm pho?
5. Raw blood pudding
If you’re thinking of trying this traditional dish, which can be found in northern Vietnam, you really, really shouldn’t. People have actually died eating this raw blood pudding simply because swine blood has some bad bacteria that can be lethal. Simply put, it’s not worth taking the risk.
6. Vegetables that haven’t been cooked
Try to stick to cooked vegetables instead of raw ones. First of all, the heat will kill most bacteria and will minimize the risk of harming your stomach. There’s also been a scandal a few years ago, when it was discovered that some farmers were spraying their vegetables with chemicals in order to make them look greener. You don’t want these chemicals in your body, so it’s better to eat cooked vegetables.
7. Weird meat
Street food in Vietnam is nothing but amazing, and the street meat is usually cooked well so that’s not really what you should worry about. It’s the processed meat that’s sold cheap that you should avoid. There’s no way of really knowing what kind of meat it is and it might cause some problems to your stomach.
Besides that, you should try as many different dishes, drinks and desserts as possible. Vietnam is lucky enough to have access to fresh vegetables and tropical fruits so you can enjoy delicious mango smoothies, coconut yoghurt, and much more. They also have some fun specialties such as “egg coffee” which sounds worse than it is. It actually tastes like a dessert! It was invented in Hanoi so many locals would probably say that the best place to try it is there. The Vietnamese kitchen is filled with unique and delicious dishes so don’t be afraid to try something new – as long as it hasn’t been included on this list!