VietnamShoppingWhat $1 Can Buy in Vietnam

What $1 Can Buy in Vietnam

Have you ever thought of going shopping with only USD 1? In Vietnam, you can exchange each dollar for about VND 25,000 as of April 2024. With this amount of money, you are able to purchase a few necessities:

  • 1 bottle/can of beer or soft drinks
  • 1 serving of street foods  like Banh trang tron, sticky rice, sweet soup (tofu), Banh trang nuong, Banh trung nuong, and Bap xao

Vietnamese Drinks

A cup of coffee

What else can USD 1 buy in Vietnam that can give you more energy for a long day? Have you ever heard about Vietnamese coffee? Vietnam is the world’s second-largest exporter of raw coffee, just after Brazil. A cup of coffee has become essential to many Vietnamese people. For just $1, you can buy coffee from convenience stores, street carts, and small stalls.

One of the unique styles of drinking coffee in Saigon is “Ca Phe Bet” which means “drinking coffee sitting on the ground”. Many young people gather daily at some central parks, usually in District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City, sit on newspapers or cardboard, and enjoy coffee while talking and sometimes singing. They often sit in groups. If you come here, you might be approached by university students eagerly asking to practice speaking English, especially on the weekends.

Some recommended locations in Ho Chi Minh City for this unique coffee experience are 30/4 Park, pronounced 30th April Park (near the Notre Dame Cathedral and Independence Palace), Turtle Lake, and Saigon Municipal Theatre. However, to keep the environment clean, do not sit on the green grass and throw your rubbish in designated trashcans before leaving.

Vietnamese ca phe sua da

The price of a cup of coffee varies greatly, depending on the quality and location of the coffee. The average price for a cup at cafes is VND 40,000. However, having a cup of coffee from street carts costs about $0.5 (~ VND 12,000). If you come to a coffee shop, you must prepare more.

Vietnamese coffee is well-known for its strong and adamant taste, so don’t be surprised with your very first Vietnamese cup of coffee. It can keep you energized all day long.

1 cup of fruit smoothie or sugarcane juice

The sweet and refreshing sugarcane juice is one of the must-try drinks you should have in Vietnam. The light sweetness and fruity flavor of the sugarcane mixing with the citrus of the kumquat juice will be perfect to cool your thirst.

A cup of sugarcane juice

Summer is also the season for tasting tropical fruit in Vietnam. Every kind of fruit in Vietnam can be made into a delicious fruit smoothie. Not only strawberry-banana, as most travelers know, we have a wide range of cool fruit smoothies: from guava, mango, strawberry to papaya, sapodilla, avocado, watermelon, etc. If you love a creamy taste, you can choose avocado. If you want to drink something slightly sour, guava or mango smoothie is for you. The street fruit smoothie in Vietnam is slightly different, which uses sweetened condensed milk instead of cream or plain yogurt.

You can find these drinks anywhere on the streets or in a fancy coffee shop. There are many drink stalls in the area for foreign travelers, Bui Vien – Pham Ngu Lao – De Tham Streets. For the same as coffee, the price for a cup of these drinks at the street stalls is around $1 (VND 23,000), but this can vary based on the fruits’ origin and the season. Tropical fruits and fruits in season are usually cheaper than avocado or strawberry. If you drink at more trendy cafes, the price is about $2 (VND 46,000) per cup.

Vietnamese food

A loaf of Vietnamese Baguette

When you are hungry and wonder what $1 can buy in Vietnam, check this list to see what you can do with only $1. The Vietnamese baguette (Banh mi) is a recommended and filling option.

Vietnamese baguette is internationally famous and has become one of the best street foods worldwide. A loaf of banh mi contains numerous ingredients, fresh herbs, and special spreadings that make it harder to recreate overseas. A crunchy baguette is stuffed with meat, Vietnamese pork sausage, fresh cilantro, green onion, slices of cucumber, pickled carrot, and white radish, and mayonnaise, soy sauce, and chili sauce are added.

The price of each loaf of bread depends on the filling you want. Usually, for USD 1, you can buy the special Banh Mi with different kinds of fillings in Vietnam. A typical loaf from the street carts is just from $0.5 (~ VND 12,000) to $0.9 (~ VND 20,000).

Vietnamese baguette is a popular food that you can find easily on any street corner. In Ho Chi Minh, a brand of Vietnamese baguette that attracts a considerable number of travelers every day is “Banh mi Nhu Lan” at 64-66-68 Ham Nghi Street, District 1. A variation of the original Vietnamese baguette in Saigon filled with grilled meat and fresh herbs can also be found at 37 Nguyen Trai Street, District 1. It’s sold by a street vendor at the beginning of the alley in the late afternoon and early evening hours.

Vietnamese souvenirs

A Conical Hat (Non la)

If you ask us what USD 1 can buy in Vietnam for a souvenir you can keep and show off to your friends, it is a Conical Hat. It is one of Vietnam’s most famous cultural symbols, originating thousands of years ago.

The origin of the Conical Hat is closely related to Vietnam’s rice-growing history. In the past, Vietnamese farmers usually wore this kind of hat when they were working on the farms or paddling fields. Because the Conical Hat is broader than other kinds of hats, it can protect farmers from sunburn and rain. It can also be substituted as a hand fan or a basket for food and vegetables when going shopping at the market.

Young Vietnamese girls also wear conical hats with Ao Dai, which is a traditional Vietnamese costume. This outfit pairing has become a familiar image and traditional beauty of Vietnamese women. The hat is usually one hundred percent handcrafted. The frame of the hat contains 16 round rims made from bamboo. The cover is made from palm leaves.

Today, you can come to Ben Thanh Market and choose a Conical Hat as a gift from Vietnam. You can also easily buy it at souvenir shops. However, the price of one may fluctuate from $1 (VND 23,000) to $5 (VND 115,000), depending on whether the hat is plain or has paintings or sewing decorations.

Some Vietnamese Stamps

With technological advancement, people do not send letters as often as they used to, and we are more familiar with using e-mail or text messages instead. As a result, stamps have become a popular souvenir gift. The pictures on the stamps are carefully selected. Most of them reflect famous stories of Vietnamese history. Some stamps have images of well-known places and destinations in Vietnam.

Stamps come in many different sizes, colors, and shapes. Each stamp costs VND 2,000 (USD 0.1) to VND 15,000 (USD 0.75). You can buy stamps in souvenir stores around the central city or inside the Saigon Central Post Office and send postcards there. Stamps and postcards are considered affordable in Vietnam.

Summary of What USD 1 Can Buy in Vietnam

Everything from food, drinks, and gifts in Vietnam is much cheaper than in developed countries. This is a perfect chance for travelers to enjoy Vietnamese cuisine and culture at favorable exchange rates. Even with a tight budget, you can still find several exciting gifts for your friends and families.

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