Food safety in Vietnam

Foods in Vietnam are not always safe as they look, especially in street small shops and vendors’ load

Foods in Vietnam are not always safe as they look, especially in street small shops and vendors’ load. Since the price of materials rose up in recent years, many shops must reduce cost to maintain their profit. This leads to the decrease of safety rate in street foods.

It is quite adventurous to consume street foods in Vietnam nowadays. A bowl of “Pho” or “Bun Rieu” (vermicelli with crab soup) can make you down quite easily. With “Pho”, it is not too easy to have problem except for the half-done beef, but vermicelli is not too safe to eat, especially the raw vegetables served with the bowl. In small shops along the street, they rarely clean the vegetables well due to the lack of time, thus far can cause serious problem since vegetables in Vietnam are full of insecticide, sometimes more than the allowed ratio. Many people believe that vermicelli is not perfect without raw vegetables, but it is not a wise choice to have it in small shops or from vendors. Better to have it in restaurant or at home, with well-clean vegetables. Another thread is fried and roasted food along some markets, like pork, bird, chicken and duck. The coal they use for roasting produces too much smoke for the meat, can cause cancer in the future, and the seasons for those meats sometimes contains chemical colors which are banned. Moreover, Vietnamese people love to eat pig’s and duck’s blood, and this is another thread of stomach problem.  

Sweets, cakes and drinks are no exception. Sweet soups in Vietnam are sold in street shops, and rarely cover before transfer to customers, thus far contain so much dust and other stuffs. The sells just let all the materials in different bowl, and mix them together whenever customers request. Moreover, some sweet soup materials once found has origin from chemicals, like polymer (material for producing money). Deep fried cakes are cooked with old oil, and people keep using the oil until it turns black. Sugar added in cakes is chemical one which has so much sweeter taste than the natural one, by this seller can reduce the cost. Nevertheless, the oil absorbs much dust from the street through the day and that dust comes to the cakes easily. Milk they use to produce street cakes is directly taken from cows without any clean treatment. Drinks, likewise, have their own threat for customer’s belly. Sugarcane juice, one of the most popular drinks of Vietnam, contains many dangerous elements. First, the machines the sellers use to extract the juice from sugarcane are not always clean. Sometime it can be old, dirty or even rusty in details. Second, the sugarcanes are not clean before go to the machines, and the ice cubes they add to the cup is not safe at all. The only trusted address to drink this wonderful juice is Shake, a famous brand with many options for consumers to add to the cup, like mint, strawberry, apple, mango…

In general, if you are afraid of having problem with your belly, you really should go to big restaurants, or trusted address to have a meal. Otherwise, you should take some medicine before or after enjoying Vietnamese street foods to your heart’s content. Yet, feel free to eat your desired foods as most Vietnamese do that every day and hardly do anyone get trouble with street foods. An experience is absolutely worth, you know that right?

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