Doing grocery in Vietnam may be a whole new experience for you if you move to the country for the first time.
And if you intend to live long-term or permanently in Vietnam, there is one place that you should be familiar with: the market. Market marks a crucial role in Vietnamese life as a supply of everything that is essential to people from clothes, convenient products, and shoe to foods, drinks, spice and fruits. Imagine Walmart but caught in a casual scenario with no plastic money nor fanciful packaging. There will be aisles for you to pass but the road will be muddy or dry based on the weather. And the way to buy things will be different too: it is not simply a story of putting things into cart and checking out but full of excitement each time you go.
Below are some tips that you should remember when going to market in Vietnam.
> First thing to remember is that foreign languages are not spoken at most market in Vietnam.
The disadvantage: the vegetable sellers won't understand a word you say, no matter how many bargaining techniques you have learned.
The advantage: you will totally be immersed in a Vietnamese setting where you will learn the culture and language.
The bottom line: say basic words in Vietnamese and you will impress the friendly sisters and aunts at the market! The next time they see you they won't rip you off but giving you extra! If you want to lower the price said, you can show your fingers, or bring a calculator along to ask them how much they mean.
> Another tip of going to market is that you should know how much things roughly cost in Vietnam to avoid being ripped off. There are nice people around but there are people who think of you as a tourist, who will give them a good chance of earning extra for the day. Two third or even a half price is a good set for the vendors to sell their products.
> One more thing to remember is that keep an eye on the scale of the sellers, or you will not receive the full amount you purchase. Vendors at markets often trick customers by their scales which can show higher weight on the meter. Therefore, an advice for you when going to the market is to be aware of the weight of what you buy. You can try weighing the items twice on two different scales to make sure the price is right. Of course if you know that the sellers are cheating, you can always avoid them the next time.
Last but not least, early morning is the best time to go the market in Vietnam. Fresh produce are transported to markets very early in the morning morning, so that going to market at that time means that you are able to buy freshest meats, fruits or vegetables for your meals. Buy at a familiar stall or follow the crowd: that's where the sellers are the most trustworthy.