How to Avoid Getting Sick When Eating At Street Foods in Vietnam

Vietnam is known for its delicious street foods. But if you’re visiting the country for the first time, you might be concerned about the sanitation and safety when it comes to eating at one of these street food stalls. Of course, the last thing you want is to ruin your trip by getting sick. So to ease out your worries, here are some tips on how to avoid getting sick when eating at street foods in Vietnam.

1. Avoid Drinking Tap Water

In Vietnam, always drink from bottled water and make sure it’s sealed. Avoid drinking from the tap because the water might be contaminated and could make you sick. As a matter of fact, even locals will avoid tap water and would instead drink filtered or boiled water in their homes. You can buy bottled water at the convenience stores in Vietnam, as well as in hotels and restaurants. Some of the most reputable brands are Aquafina, Vinh Hao, and Lavie. As much as possible, avoid buying very cheap bottled water being peddled in the streets because the water might not be filtered well and could make you sick.

2. Opt for “Tra Da” or Local Vietnamese Iced Tea

As a great alternative to water, opt for the local Vietnamese iced tea known as “tra da”. You’ll usually find these in various street food stalls and locals would drink it after every meal. This beverage consists of ice-cold green tea that has been steeped in boiling water before being cooled. Since the water was boiled, any germs and contaminants present in it have been killed. Most locals would prefer to drink this tea over water since they know it’s safer and is definitely more refreshing.

3. Always Order a Piping Hot Bowl of Pho

Pho is one of Vietnam’s most popular dishes so your trip to the country would not be complete if you don’t get to sample this noodle dish. But whether you’re eating it from a restaurant or street food stall, always make sure that you order it hot. Soup dishes tend to spoil very easily because of the ingredients added to it so make sure your Pho is piping hot before you dig into it.

4. Stay Away from Uncooked Meats

Try to avoid eating raw meats in Vietnam in order not to get sick. You will find plenty of Japanese restaurants in the country that serve sushi but it may not be worth the risk. If you find yourself craving for some Japanese meals while in the country, try to order those cooked dishes instead of the sushi. It is best to eat them only in countries with a much higher standard of hygiene.

5. Try to Avoid Raw Veggies and Salads

Just like with raw meat, eating raw veggies in Vietnam may also not be a good idea especially if you’ve got a very sensitive stomach. You can add raw veggies and herbs to your piping hot bowl of Pho before eating to allow them to be slightly cooked. But avoid eating them raw or make a salad out of them. You can also request from the restaurant to “flash boil” some raw vegetables before adding them to your salad to be safe.

6. Be Careful with Eating Fruits

Just like with any tropical countries, there’s an abundance of fresh fruits in Vietnam. You’ll find them being sold pretty much anywhere, from markets to street stalls! But before you actually indulge in them, exercise your best judgment to avoid getting sick. Make sure they are washed properly before eating, especially if you’re eating sugar cane and apples. Otherwise, you might be better off eating fruits with inedible skin.

7. Eat from a Reputable Food Stall

You’ll know if a food stall is good if you find a long queue of customers in front of it. The more customers will frequent a stall, the fresher their foods will be. Most of these stalls don’t usually have any form of refrigeration so they would usually prepare the food ahead of time and increases the chances of spoilage. But if the foods are always sold out, then they will most likely replenish it immediately, which means you’ll be served only the freshest foods.

8. Be Mindful of the Hygiene

Be observant of the surroundings when looking for a street food stall to eat. Observe the hygiene of a particular stall and watch how they would clean and wash the dishes. If it’s up to your standards, then go ahead, sit and make an order. But if you find that the hygiene and sanitation are poor, better look for something else because it’s definitely not worth the risk.

9. Carry a Hand Sanitizer

It’s always a must to carry an alcohol or hand sanitizer when traveling anywhere and not just in Vietnam. Not all street food stalls have running water where you can wash your hands before eating so it is best to come prepared.

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