icecream and salads in vietnam

Dec 3rd, 2007, 11:54 AM
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icecream and salads in vietnam

I am just back from getting my vaccinations at my local Travel Health Clinic in preparation for my trip this month, and was told to avoid at all costs, icecream and uncooked veggies in Vietnam. I am most disappointed as I had heard so much about the fabulous icecream and shakes at Fanny's(?) and the delectable spring rolls and salads throughout the country. Has anyone else been given this advice lately?
cmn is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2007, 12:39 PM
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It's important to know exactly what water precautions mean. Go to and read about water precautions. Once you know what will prevent you from getting ill, then you can decide consciouly if/when to break the rules.

That said, it's up to you what risks you choose to take. There were places in VN where I ate salads and places I would not. Neither of us got sick in VN.
Kathie is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2007, 01:10 PM
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I certainly ate all over the place when I was there...I did not get sick. But that does not mean that you will have the same luck, or that I will have it next time. If you eat on the street, one tip is to make sure that the stand or stall seems to be popular with locals. Obviously that is not a surefire way of avoiding sickness but it is one clue...
ekscrunchy is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2007, 02:20 PM
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Thanks for the comments. I will peruse that website.
I was also told to take mosquito nets for sleeping at night. We are staying in 2 to 4 star hotels and doing 1 night in a homestay on the Mekong Delta. Are they readily available in Ho Chi Minh City?
cmn is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2007, 03:17 PM
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Who told you you had to bring mosquito nets? Are you planning to take malaria meds for the Delta?
ekscrunchy is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2007, 03:20 PM
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As far as Fanny's goes, I think you're safe. What you want to avoid is the little street vendors who mainly sell coconut milk ice cream.
MichaelBKK is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2007, 05:54 PM
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I wouldn't go to vietnam again if I couldn't eat ice cream and veggies!!

Well, not really, but pretty close to true. just look to see if the place is busy and looks reasonably clean. I thought food prep in Saigon, at least, seemed a lot more hygenic than in many other countries.
lcuy is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2007, 06:19 PM
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we are very cautious....we do not eat uncooked veggies anyplace in cream yes from a decent shop, where you feel it has been treated properly...

same for salads....we eat none....

over the last couple of years we have slackened a bit on a 4 or 5* place we might eat a green salad...

better safe than sorry....
rhkkmk is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2007, 07:43 PM
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We ate uncooked salad vegetables and ice cream and had no problems. That's no guarantee of course, but it's difficult to imagine Vietnamese cuisine without fresh herbs.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 07:00 AM
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The biggest challenge I faced in Vietnam was that you'll need to put uncooked vegetables into your Pho (the national noodle dish) to make it even more delicious. Yes, there's inherent risk, but IMHO it was a risk that was well worth it. Me (& my stomach) escaped from each delicious experience unscathed.
baaj is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 10:31 AM
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I just checked the website and there is a "warden notice" posted Nov. 6, 2007 about a cholera outbreak : "the outbreak has occurred in the provinces north of and including Nghe An; however, the outbreak has the potential to spread to other areas of the country."

Here is the link:

This is probably why we were given the strict recommendations from our local travel clinic about the food even though we have taken the oral vaccine Dukoral which is supposed to reduce the risk of gastroeintestinal illnesses.

Yes, even though we are only going to be on the Mekong delta for just 2 days we were told to take mosquito nets and malaria meds. (Malarone seems to be the drug of choice).

If I have time I am going to do some checking to try and get an update on the "wardens notice". We leave in 1 week and I have so much to do!
cmn is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 11:56 AM
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Cholera is not easily transmitted. You'd have to be working in a refuge camp to be concerned about it. But there is antibiotic resistant typhoid, for instance in the area.

Just be aware of when you are violating water precautions, and make a conscious choice based on all the info you have.
Kathie is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 01:22 PM
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Hepatitis A is easily transmitted in food if the person who is preparing it is sick & the rates of Hep A (for which there is a vaccine) & Hep E (for which there is not & it IS transmittable via food) in SE Asia are very high. I just read the CDC vaccination & disease report which is downloadable as a PDF.

You should get a polio vaccine as an adult once in your lifetime, even if you had one as a child. There is polio in SE Asia & it's transmissable via water.

I never eat salad or uncooked veggies outside of the US, I rarely eat salad unless I make it myself. It only takes one kitchen worker who does not thoroughly wash his hands after going to the bathroom to make you sick.

Getting the touristas is NOT the problem, the reason you don't eat salad or uncooked veggies is Hepatitis A, cholera, polio are all transmissable via dirty water... and Hep A via food via an infected kitchen worker.

When I spent a month in China in 1985, I traveled with a MD of internal medicine & she was the one who explained about not eating ice cream OR dairy products:

Third world countries do not pasturize the milk... you can get disease from the milk.

Freezing stuff does NOT kill the bacteria or viruses... when it melts in your stomach the bacteria or viruses become active again.

Just because other people ate ice cream & are fine, doesn't mean that it's safe.

I had a business colleague who went trekking in 1986 amongst the hilltribes in Thailand; he ate everything & lived with the local tribes. 6 months after he got back, he had a GRAND MAL SEIZURE & spent months going from MD to MD trying to find out what was wrong. Finally he went to a tropical disease MD who did a CATSCAN & diagnosed a parasite in his brain (from fresh water in N. Thailand)... which he could have gotten from eating uncooked veggies or water, he will never know. He had to take this toxic Rx for a YEAR to kill the parasite or have seizures the rest of his life.

It's your health. If the Travel clinic told you to avoid ice cream, IMHO I would listen to them.

You can eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's when you return home!
AskOksana is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 07:11 PM
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And you can get Norwalk virus by eating in college cafeterias in the USA or die from e-coli picked up at one of America's shiny & sterile fast food outlets.

Life holds some risks wherever you go, whatever you eat....
lcuy is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 08:18 PM
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I had the ice cream at Fannys and Mondos (near the fountain) and a great salad at Stop and Go. I didn't get sick. Eat salads in good places and you'll have no problems. Alana
alana is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 06:56 PM
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"I never eat salad or uncooked veggies outside of the US..."

So, the US is the ONLY country that has effective food hygiene? Who'd have guessed?

How is it that the only place I've contracted food poisoning when travelling was not Singapore, not Malaysia, not Vietnam, not China, not Indonesia, but ... Montana?
Neil_Oz is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 11:30 PM
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I can't imagine not eating salads in HCMC. So many good ones to be found all around town.
Bisbee is offline  
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