Vietnamese people are among the most friendly people in Asia. When you travel, their hospitality will keep you coming back.
Except among the higher officials, the average wage of a Vietnamese family is below that even conceived of being adequate. The old argument is, “well, things cost less,” but this is not completely true in Vietnam. The prices on some items, considered necessities by American, such as electricity, are exorbitant. Compared with the average Vietnamese income, clothing and food prices are also high, especially during a time of war. An average family may earn the equivalent of $200 a month with two or more people working in the family.
Despite this, the Vietnamese love to be hospitable and will often invite you to dinner. They may solicit the entire neighbourhood borrowing things to make your stay more pleasant, or they may sell something they have had for a long time in order to have the money to entertain you well. They enjoy being good hosts and would feel hurt if you mentioned this to them. It is best to pretend that you know nothing of this. Do not offer to share the costs. When reciprocating, do so in a lavish style at the very best of restaurants.
If gifts are taken for the family, they should be items that they could not easily obtain themselves. To take something that they could buy easily would be a bad reflection on their economic means. They love anything American, and it does not have to be expensive. If you give the children things, each should have a separate gift. It is not polite to take a whole bag of candy and give it to them as a group.
On short visits, drink the tea they offer, even if you don’t like it or are afraid of the local water. It shows that you are welcome and well respected.
Rank is always carefully observed by the Vietnamese in their homes and elsewhere. Servants never sit at the same table with their employers if outsiders are present, and only in rare cases otherwise. In reality, this is more popular in the Southern part of Vietnam.
On some occasions at an informal meal, the whole family except for the person inviting you to dinner, may get up from the table and eat elsewhere. This is not a show of disrespect for you but is simply a way of letting the guest spend time with his special friend.
Greeting The Hosts
At banquets, one should arrive on time and greet elderly persons first. If the dinner is served Chinese style, food should be transferred from the main bowl to your individual bowl before eating. It is impolite to eat anything with your chopsticks directly from the serving bowl. A guest may refrain from taking something he doesn’t like, but if the hostess serves it to you unknowingly, force it down if at all possible. If the guest refuses, the host may doubt his sincerity and coax him even more. Individual bowls are usually changed with each course and are generally removed only when empty, except the last course. Here, a little something should be left to indicate to the host that there was enough food and everyone is satisfied.
In order not hurt your host’s feelings, it is best to go to one of these parties with a hearty appetite and an open mind along with a good strong stomach. In fact, sometimes foods are served that are that are repugnant to Americans. On many occasions, an American will be the honoured guest and naturally served the most honoured piece of chicken-its head. To refuse it is an insult. Some of the more Westernised Vietnamese know of the Americans’ disdain for this particular part of the chicken and often give it to them to amuse themselves or to test the Americans’ manners. Most often, they are very sincere in offering you the piece most desired by themselves.
Other Popular Customs, Traditions And Rites In Vietnamese Daily Life
– Greeting People
– Taboos in Personal Relationships
– Confusing Personal Traits of Vietnamese
– Superstitions, Very Popular In Vietnam & Asia
– Marriage, Wedding
– Pregnancy And Birth