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Food and drink safety when traveling in Vietnam

It is difficult for a new traveler to know what to eat, what to drink and how to stay healthy with the local food and drink during the private holidays in Vietnam. Obviously, nothing is worse than getting sick while you are traveling in a foreign country. It can be one of the fastest ways to ruin your Vietnam customized tour. Besides travel scams, food and drink safety is another common concern when people planning their tours in Vietnam. Let’s take a look at some useful tips of food and drink safety to stay healthy while travel to Vietnam:

Pho Vietnam - Vietnam Food Tours

Water safety

Water safety can be the most concerned issue for travelers as we couldn’t survive without drinking water. In a tropical climate country like Vietnam with hot and humid weather, it is even more important to pay attention to the water you drink as contaminated water could cause serious illness.

Like many Asian countries, Vietnam doesn’t have the advanced technology of water treatment so the tap water is not good enough to drink. Therefore, only drink bottled water and avoid drinking tap water. In case you have to use the tap water, at least try get it boiled (if possible) before drinking. Even the local people in Vietnam avoid tap water as they only drink bottled, boiled or filtered water at home. It is easy to buy bottled water as it is available at every hotels, restaurants and local convenience stores.

However, many tourists would have the same question regarding tap water: Is it safe to use tap water for brushing teeth? The answer depends on where you travel to during your customized tour in Vietnam. If you just visit the popular urban areas, it is fine to use tap water for this everyday task and still stay safe. On the other hand, tap water is not recommended for brushing teeth when you are traveling to the rural or remote areas in Vietnam. It is not worth getting sick while traveling in such places so we would suggest using bottle water to brush. Moreover, for travelers that are sensitive to bacteria and can get sick easily, it is strongly recommended to use bottle water for brushing every day.

How about the ice? We also recommend to avoid ice as much as possible. It is better to order a cold bottle/can of water, beer or soft-drink than using ice, especially when you are eating outside on the street. The ice on the street can be made with tap water. However, it can be quite safe to enjoy drinks with ice in them in the decent bars, restaurants or hotels as they buy ice from companies where it is made with filtered water.

Bia Hoi in Vietnam Customized Tours

Food safety

Food poisoning can be quite awful and totally ruin your vacation. So, make sure that the meal you eat is hot and cooked completely. Though Vietnam food is wonderful and so yummy, it is not necessary to try everything. Choosing the food and places to eat wisely and carefully will help you stay healthy and enjoy your Vietnam customized holidays thoroughly.

- Stay away from any raw dishes and only eat cooked food. Even eating salads or raw vegetables is not a good idea. It is recommended to ask the restaurant to flash boil the raw herb or vegetables if you want to add them to your bowl of noodle for better flavor.

- Street food in Vietnam is amazing and worth trying. But hang on, let your stomach be familiar with the local food by eating at restaurants for few days when you start your vacation before you sample the tasty dishes at local street food stalls.

- While eating at street food stalls, you can observe your plate are prepared and served in front of you in most cases. If it is not up to your personal hygiene standards, it is not worth to risk your safety.

- Use your own judgement while picking-up a street stall to eat. Normally, the stalls with more local people eating, the tastier the food will be. Additionally, the street food sellers have to prepare the ingredients in advance, so the stalls with higher volume of customers could have the fresher food as they always finish the prepared food for the day. It doesn’t mean the food stall is totally safe to eat, but your own risk is less.

- Pay attention to fruits too! For safety, wash and peel apples or pears before eating. Try eating fruits that have inedible skin like banana, watermelon, pineapple, dragon fruit, etc. can be a good idea.

- Research for restaurants or food stalls with good reviews from other travelers. If many people have eaten at those places and none of them got illness, you may be as lucky as they are.

Hanoi Street food - Vietnam Tours

Related articles:

Is it safe to travel in Vietnam?
Common travel scams in Vietnam and how to avoid
The 9 easy steps to plan your Vietnam trip

View tour: In-depth Vietnam Tour with Sapa 16 days


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