March 2010
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Grocery shopping in Vietnam

My Aunt grocery shopping

Going grocery shopping in the United States usually entails making a list, hopping in your car, driving to the store, getting a grocery cart and going from aisle to aisle to fill up your cart with processed foods, soft drinks, week old meat/fish (if you’re lucky), and perhaps semi fresh fruits and vegetables….then finally going to the checkout counter to get everything rung up and bagged.  Yes, you can do the same thing in Vietnam if you so desire…since there are bunches of American-style supermarkets (Sieu Thi) popping up everywhere.

My Aunt only goes to the supermarkets for sundries, like laundry detergent, toothpaste, batteries, etc…..when she needs fresh meats, vegetables and fruit for dinner…all she has to do is walk out the front door….turn down a small alleyway…pass through (yes THROUGH!!) a neighbor’s house…to get to a street where a bunch of street vendors sell all the fresh ingredients you would need to make a proper Vietnamese meal.  All the vegetables sold were harvested just the day before, and the fish and meat are fresh kills from the morning.  Almost all the local Vietnamese neighborhoods have a similar street where people go shopping.  I think it’s a pretty neat and convenient way to buy groceries….you would never see this in the United States!

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11 comments to Grocery shopping in Vietnam

  • Craig N

    Some of the meat isn’t even killed yet. Frogs, ducks, and chickens tied to a table leg are a common site.

    And WOW is the fruit delicious! I don’t even try to buy oranges in the US anymore. They are nothing but a disappointment, when compared to the kumquat branch from the Saigon market.

    If you haven’t been there yet, check out the market in Cholon (China town)in district 5.

  • Craig N

    Yeah, it’s funny, but sewage smell makes me long for Saigon. It doesn’t really bother me now.

    • odgnut

      The tourism industry should hire you as their new spokesperson…….”Come to Vietnam….It smells like sewage….but you’ll love it!!” 🙂

  • Tran

    There are farmer markets (similar to street markets in Vietnam)that sell fresh, organic produce and meat here in the States.

    • odgnut

      Hey Tran…yes I’ve been to a few farmer’s markets in the States…but you usually still need to get in a car and drive quite a ways to get to them. In Vietnam, there is a farmer’s market virtually on every other street. And fresh fruits and vegetables are dirt cheap vs. in the U.S.

  • Khanh

    Your aunt actually walks through a neighbor’s house to get to the market? That is hilarious! This is why I keep reading your blog because you offer a very fresh perspective on life in Vietnam, love it!

    • odgnut

      Yes! The first time we did it I was like wtf? But my aunt says that everyone in the neighborhood does it. The neighbor runs a little restaurant right out of their house…and they leave the back door open… we just waltz through without so much as a “how do you do” to get to the next street over. We can only use this shortcut during the day when the restaurant is open….otherwise you have to do a big U loop just to get to the same area.

  • Tran

    Neighbors do that to my great grandma’s house in Can Tho. Use her house as a short cut. She didn’t mind though.

  • Wil

    “Neighbors do that to my great grandma’s house in Can Tho. Use her house as a short cut. She didn’t mind though.” <— That's what i like about VN, people are so friendly.
    PS. Keep up the good blog I am looking forward to reading it every week. VQ's perspective is hilariously funny 🙂

  • christinenqtq

    Neighbors often walk through my house in Dalat to the market, even we didn’t run any business, and sometime they called us to open the door if it closed for lunch time 🙂

    PS: Thanks for your blog, I am looking forward to reading your post so can know how people think about vietnamese’s life

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