You probably won’t have any stomach issues in Vietnam — and that’s saying something, because there are some weird dishes here. But you really don’t need to worry that much. Overall, Vietnamese food is safe and delicious. There are some things, however, that are best avoided.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Might as well start with the obvious one. This is good advice for travelers to any country, but especially in a tropical country with a whole bunch of strange microbes your body hasn’t met before. We’ve never had a problem brushing our teeth with tap water in Vietnam, but the risk is all yours.
We don’t mean street meat, as street food in Vietnam is amazing. Seriously, get out there and try all the street food you can find. The food carts and sidewalk restaurants here consistently rate as among the best in the world. What we mean is meat that’s processed and sold cheap. You really can’t even tell what kind of meat it is most of the time. It’s not necessarily dangerous, but your stomach won’t be happy with you.
It’s no secret in Vietnam that many cheaper coffee places aren’t serving you just coffee. They’re adding fillers, which are often toxic. The competition for coffee in Vietnam is fierce, and some places inflate their profits by mixing in cheaper chemicals. Your best bet is to pay a bit more and go to a nice cafe. And even better yet, go to a place where the coffee is made right in front of you. Not all places that brew their coffee out of sight are adding fillers, but you never know unless you see the coffee dripping into your glass.
There was a big controversy in Vietnam a few years ago when it was found that some farmers were dousing their morning glory harvests with chemicals to make them look greener. There are also stories of farmers bleaching mushrooms — and other unequally unsavory tales. Just try to stick to vegetables that have been cooked. You won’t be able to avoid all the artificial means of faking the freshness of vegetables in Vietnam, but at least cooked veggies won’t mess with your stomach and ruin your holiday. The harmful chemicals are more of a long-term concern.
Raw blood pudding
Tiết canh is a traditional dish in northern Vietnam made with fresh duck or pig’s blood. If that’s not enough to sway you, then keep in mind that swine blood has some lethally bad bacteria. People have died from eating this dish.
Any fan of The Simpsons should already know why this is a bad idea — and yet, every year, people continue to die by flirting with danger. Don’t be one of them. Avoid the Cá Nóc on the menu like your life depends on it.
If your bowl of phở isn’t hot enough to burn you right down to the bone, then you probably shouldn’t eat it. Soups are hot for good reason in Vietnam: The heat kills all the bad things that want to wreak havoc on your intestines. It’s why there really aren’t any cold soups in Vietnam.
But what’s the difference between cattle and dogs, right? We’re not going to get into that debate, because that’s not the reason we’ve included dog meat on the list. The reason we’ve included it here is because of the black market for dogs in Vietnam. There are dog thieves who steal family pets and sell them to the dog meat restaurants. We’re not big fans of farmed dogs either, but we understand. Family pets on the other hand? That’s something nobody should support.
While the milk in Vietnam certainly isn’t dangerous, there’s still a good chance your stomach will reject it. We made the mistake of drinking a big glass of milk after weeks without it, and we paid the price. The condensed sweet milk in Vietnamese coffee, however, is fine.
Fruits with edible skins
Vietnamese farmers, like many others around the world, rely on pesticides. For things like oranges and bananas it’s not much of a concern because we don’t eat the skin. But you should be wary of fruits like apples and guava. Always wash your fruits before you eat them, and check that the restaurant does the same if you’re worried at all.
Frogs are a staple of Vietnamese cuisine, but you don’t need to worry about them. Actually, you should give ếch a try. It’s pretty tasty. Toads, on the other hand, are best avoided. Their skin and some of their organs contain bufotoxins, which, if not treated correctly, can cause some serious problems.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.