Even though by no way is it unique to Vietnam, street vending is an essential part of city life.
|Street vendors in Hoi An.|
Street vendors can be roughly divided into three types: those who constantly move around either by bike or on foot, those who have a stable stand on a street, and lastly, those who own a shop and display their products on the pavement.
They serve as an informal yet extremely important agent in the local economy.
Products vary widely as needs call for. In general, fruits, flowers, and domestic products are the most common goods.
Strange as it may sound, street vendors do have regular customers and stable trading relationships.
Therefore, while there are certainly deviations, quality is often preserved to a good extent.
Local people who shop for fresh groceries everyday can enjoy the luxury of having products delivered to their door at a competitive price without a delivery fee.
However, bargaining is a must, especially if you are a tourist or a foreigner, or perhaps both.
Another indispensable function street vendors play is to provide a great variety of food 24/7, all year around.
Types of food may alter with the feel of a season.
Street vendors may be considered equivalent to fast food because a dish is often ready in no time, but unlike fast food, it is not mass-produced and contains significantly less fat.
Food hygiene and safety is a significant concern and a major reason for a recent decree passed by the government to restrict street vending.
If you are not sure how much your stomach can tolerate and how safe the dish is, you may not want to take the risk that comes with eating street food.
So a wise thing to do is to consult a friend from the area if you can, for they know whom can be trusted.
If no advice is available, then go for a shop with more people eating rather than a quiet one, since good business indicates good quality.