Vietnamese cuisine can suit you perfectly. Nevertheless, during a trip of several days, there may come a time when you want to resume your habits a little. Note that in the big cities of Vietnam: Hanoi, Hue, Danang, Ho Chi Minh city..., you can find good European restaurants. Do not hesitate to ask your guide or the customer service of your travel agency when you want to find such a restaurant for meals not included in the program.
When you take Vietnamese dishes, there is one ingredient we want to draw your attention to: Sodium Glutamate (Mi Chinh or Bot Ngot). It is a flavor enhancer, made from sugar, very widely used in Asian cuisine. It has well-known irritating properties occurring about 20 minutes after ingestion: it is the Chinese restaurant syndrome characterized by a burning sensation, stomach and headache, and sometimes an easy or chest rash. Glutamate is very common in Vietnam. If you have known food allergies, you will need to avoid these effects by requiring glutamate-free dishes at the restaurant. In case of rash, an antihistamine will soothe the scratching.
The Vietnamese is like the French: A bon vivant. The timing of the meal is very important. However, some precautions are necessary. As a rule, hygienic conditions are good in restaurants. In small stalls on street corners, if you do not have an "armored" stomach, avoid raw vegetables and herbs, unless peeled by yourself or soaked in water with sterilization tablets.
5 tips on eating in Vietnam
- Do not drink tap water
- Prefer bottled water, locally sourced or imported.
- Otherwise, filter the water and boil it before consumption.
- Also avoid ice cubes in small restaurants.
- You can ask to soak your drinks in a large bowl of water filled with ice cubes, this usually refreshes them quickly.