Proper Etiquette for Visiting Someone’s Home in Vietnam
- Take off your shoes. It is common courtesy to remove your shoes when you enter anyone’s home. The shoes you wear outside can get very dirty, so in order to help keep the house clean, you should walk in the house barefoot or with socks on.
- Hint: Wear shoes easily taken off, such as slip-ons.
- Bring a small gift for the hosts. It is customary for visitors to bring a small gift for the host of the house in appreciation for letting you into their home and probably providing a meal as well. These gifts do not have to be big or expensive by any means. It can be something as simple as a pen from your place of work, an assortment of candies for the children in the house, or a small candle.
- Note: When you leave, the host will most likely give you something small to take with you on your trip. If you do receive a small gift, accept it with both hands.
- Learn some simple phrases in Vietnamese. Learning shorts phrases can go a long way. It helps to immerse yourself into the Vietnamese culture a bit more and shows the locals an appreciation for their language.
Hello and Goodbye = Chào
Thank you = Cảm ơn
Vietnamese Meals: Eating Etiquette
Many meals consist of family style tables with a couple main dishes in the middle and smaller dishes scattered around the table. You might sit around a table or on a mat on the floor. If the latter, sit cross-legged and do not extend the legs. The feet should not point towards food, as this is unhygienic. Small bowls and chopsticks are placed in front of each place setting. When choosing from the dishes, usually only one or two bites are picked up and placed into the bowl each time before consuming the food. Mixed greens, mints, and herbs are commonly available on the table to be combined with each bite. Along with greens, variety of sauces and broths for dipping are generally on the table.
During the trip, you will experience many fascinating ways to cook chicken, pork, and beef. We will be able to try popular authentic and traditional dishes, such as Pho, a common Vietnamese soup; or Banh Mi, a common Vietnamese sandwich. Many food dishes do not focus on meat, but rather perfectly spiced vegetables with mint. After each meal, it is common to have fruits and green tea to cleanse the palate.