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Fact or fiction: “Vietnamese street food is always good”

Fact or fiction: “Vietnamese street food is always good”

Saturday, April 29, 2023, 09:30 GMT+7
Fact or fiction: “Vietnamese street food is always good”
Dishes of cơm tấm (broken rice topped with grilled ribs, egg pudding, and shredded boiled pig skin) are served at a stall in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

Foreigners in Vietnam are joining the discussion via Facebook comments on just how good Vietnamese food is, and where it ranks on the world stage, following a slew of tourism articles recently published by Tuoi Tre News.

In his piece titled “A foreigner’s thoughts on how much it costs to be a tourist in Vietnam,” Liam Langan pointed out there’s really no one-size-fits-all approach to spending money at a tourist in Vietnam, and that where you choose to eat makes a massive difference in the size of your bill.

Langan specifically compared a $300 fine dining experience to a street dish that fed two for just $5.

Other foreigners in Vietnam were quick to agree with Langan.

“I think the great thing about Saigon is that you can live off $5 or $6 a day and still have a decent time. Or, flash the cash, spend $50 or $100 and eat like a king,” said Leigh Doughty, a foreigner currently in Vietnam.

A bowl of hủ tiếu noodles is served at a stall in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News
A bowl of hủ tiếu noodles is served at a stall in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

Similarly, Kavi Roshan noted that “it depends where you eat, touristy places are always more expensive than where local eats, in my experience in Saigon, Ben Thanh Market is cheaper than other places I’ve eaten but you can’t be in the Ben Thanh Market all the time when you are traveling.”

“I spent more than £15 a day on food when I was in Saigon,” Roshan added. 

“Vietnam may be cheaper than Thailand but Vietnam is not cheaper compared to India as a tourist.”

According to Col Briskey, to find the best food, just follow the locals.

“The best traditional Vietnamese foods are [found] where the Vietnamese themselves choose to eat,” Briskey said.

“Vietnamese food is my favorite. I appreciate the fact that I’m blessed to live in this great country. I truly am.”

“Exactly. We've always gone where the locals go when we're in Vietnam and never been steered wrong,” Edwina Every agreed, adding that “Vietnamese food is my favorite. Thai is okay, but I love Vietnamese street food.”

A bowl of bún bò (spicy beef noodles) is served at a shop in the central city of Hue. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News
A bowl of bún bò (spicy beef noodles) is served at a shop in the central city of Hue. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

However, others didn’t have such glowing reviews of the food in Vietnam.

“It's one of the biggest myths that Vietnamese street food is 'always delicious'. Mostly, it's okay and can even be pretty good occasionally, but out of the ten worst meals of my life, four or five I suffered here in Vietnam,” Sven Mueller commented.

“In the smaller cities, it was annoying getting bowls of noodles and finding tiny pieces of meat stuck to equally tiny pieces of bone,” Ross Symonds added.

A bowl of cơm hến (rice topped with baby mussels) is served at a stall in the central city of Hue. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News
A bowl of cơm hến (rice topped with baby mussels) is served at a stall in the central city of Hue. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

“Honestly speaking, I never find Vietnamese food appealing in comparison to other Asian counterparts,” Jacobs Wilson shared.

“I like Thai food too, but it's hard to eat day by day. Vietnamese food is not very tasty, but I can eat it every day, and if I go somewhere for four to five weeks, I’ll miss it. That's the beauty of Vietnamese food,” said Tung Chan Nhan.

A bowl of bún cá (fish noodles) is served at a stall in the northern province of Nam Dinh. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News
A bowl of bún cá (fish noodles) is served at a stall in the northern province of Nam Dinh. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

“It’s boring and not even talking about hygiene,” Lucas Lenoir commented.

“However, I was [exposed] to the traditional food and culture of Vietnam this Friday in Binh Thanh District and the food was delicious and there were a lot of choices.”

“Sadly the street food in my hem (alley) is not as good and as varied.”

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