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Before this year trip, I had tiny knowledge about food and dietary habits in Vietnam. I heard about spring rolls and I suspected that rice would be the main dish. I also heard rumours about eating dogs, pigeons and crocodiles. (It’s TRUE). That’s all I knew.

Joanna’s barbequing a crocodile 

The first thing which has struck me here is a lack of obese people. Of course, from time to time you can spot bigger belly, mainly in larger cities, but it is a very rare sight. A vast majority of people are slim to skinny with a very little body fat. Six pack, so desired yet hard to get in “fit” Europe, is very common.

As a personal trainer, I really wanted to discover their secret. Because it must be one, isn’t it?!

Well, yes, you are right, of course, there is no secret.

Vietnamese people don’t count calories nor eat protein powder shakes. And I can assure you, they have never heard about Herbalife slimming line, extreme body fat burners nor they don’t get their Body by Vi. They don’t even train hard every day. They never heard about WOD’s, Tabatas and HIIT’s neither.

So how do they do that!? It is very simple. They cultivate, almost forgotten in a western world, an art of eating clean, unprocessed fresh foods. They take their time when eating, never rush. Slow chopsticks instead of too fast fork help enjoy even the smallest bit.

They also hardly eat alone. Vietnamese are very social and eating together is the best time for them to exchange latest gossips and news with their friends and family which slows the process even more.

Eating goat with friends. 

It is really easy to grab healthy meal almost anywhere as Vietnam is all about street food. In Europe street food is limited to fake meat burger from McDonald’s, microwaved pizza or in best case fish and chips full of transfats.

In Vietnam, there is a big chance you will get something fresh, healthy and good for you. In every city, there are literally thousands of places where you can get very cheap and healthy meal.

Pho, national favourite soup, is available on almost every corner all the time. For less than £1 you get a big bowl of steaming broth with noodles, vegetables and meat of your choice; chicken and beef are most common. On the side, you will get fresh herbs and salad which are eaten with the soup.

Pho is served all day long; it’s mainly eaten for breakfast but also for lunch or evening meal. One of my favourite ones was “the goat place” where delicious goat meat was served. Each table receives own barbeque, the portion of meat, plenty of vegetables and greens. Great fun and one of the best meals I ever had.


If you want to experience the best and often the cheapest place in the town go where the locals eat. Staff don’t speak English, there will be no menu, and you will sit on tiny “dolls” chairs, but the food will be delicious! Avoid fancy restaurants with English names. You will often pay 10 times more effort the same food, and you will miss all the folklore and experience of authentic Viet Nam.

OK, I need to finish as Pho has been served!!

If you enjoyed this blog please let me know about your experience with eating in other countries when on holidays.

Did you like it? What was your favourite?

And of course, stay tuned in! In the next entry, I am going to tell you how I stay fit when travelling.

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