Celebrating a baby’s first month
Eating boiled chicken
Choosing a custom phone number
Vietnam has seen growing popularity of expensive smartphones all over, and on top of that, the number one phone accessory is a customized phone number (essentially the equivalent of vanity registration plates in western culture), ubiquitously advertised in any SIM card shop. The idea is that people can exclude unlucky numbers (such as seven) and preferably includes lucky numbers (such as nine or consecutive eights).
Asking personal questions
Visitors might find it rude, inappropriate, and even shocking to encounter a list of personal questions when first meeting Vietnamese locals: “Do you have a boyfriend/husband?”, “How many kids do you have?”, “How much do you earn each month?” are among the most frequently asked. Answering such questions with specific details is the only way to get closer to locals.
“Inviting” everyone to eat before a meal
It’s considered good manners for younger generations in the family to invite (“moi”) elders to eat before starting a meal. This is a way of asking for permission to eat, expressing respect for elders. Considering the strict complexity of Vietnamese kinship, however, it might be tricky to some extent to know who must ask whom.
Playing English-language songs for holidays and anniversaries
Visiting Vietnam during a holiday? Get ready for the rendition of English-language pop songs. It’s both sad and hilarious that traditional Vietnamese songs are rarely played at any celebration party or festival. A wedding party will feature songs from Boney M, Modern Talking, Westlife, Backstreet Boys and Michael Learns to Rock songs, and New Years has to have ABBA’s “Happy New Year.”
Talking on the phone
Except for young people, most Vietnamese do not like to text are would rather make a phone call just to ask if you’re ready to go out or if you have eaten. Those questions that only take a few seconds to answer—end the conversation.