Fast food goes to Saigon streets

Street fast food is becoming a new business trend in Ho Chi Minh City.

As reported by Nguoi Lao Dong Newspaper, there are dozens of fast food stalls on a short segment of Cong Hoa Road in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, which sell ready-made breakfast such as Vung Tau fried fish, Danang hot bread, vermicelli with roast meat, broken rice, steamed rolled rice pancake with roasted cinnamon pork.

At dawn, Ms. Tran Thi Vien, 35, from An Giang province, in a blue uniform, prepares a trolley of chicken bread at the corner of Cong Hoa Road.

A loaf of bread with chicken is priced VND6,000-VND10,000 (US$0.25-US$0.4), covered with eye-catching packaging. This product attracts many customers who go to work in the morning. The basic materials are salted, shredded meat, shredded chicken, cucumber, onions and chili, etc.

Vien said this road is crowded from 6am to 8am, which helps her earn a profit. On average, each morning she sells about 120 bread dishes.

Fast-food chains like Five Star sidewalks, Dai Phat Food, Alo Com, Alo Coffee are also booming along the roads such as Tran Hung Dao (District 1); Vo Van Tan, Tran Quoc Thao, Le Van Sy (District 3); To Hien Thanh, Thanh Thai crossroads, Nguyen Tri Phuong, 3/2 (District 10); Huynh Tan Phat (District 7), etc. 

These fast-food stalls sell food in combo sets like fast-food chains as Lotteria, KFC or McDonald's, etc. including bread, hamburger, hot-dog accompanied with drinks, but the prices are only VND15,000-VND20,000.

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"I’m always short of time.I usually buy broken rice or bread to eat at the office. The food looks hygienic, is delicious and reasonable in price,” said Mr. Dinh Huu Khoi, a computer programmer in District 3.

Truong Van Thu, also in District 3, said: "My kids like snacks. Although they take breakfast at home they still like eating sausages or hot-dogs. I usually buy these from fast-food stall along the road."

Not just fast food, but also take-away drink stalls like coffee, fruit juice, herbal drink, etc. have appeared on Saigon’s roads. The prices for these drinks are cheap, from VND10,000 to VND15,000/cup. 

"Sellings food on motorbikes is convenient and cost-saving, and it is suitable to the need of teenages and youngsters,” said Anh Nguyen, a staff of the Clean Coffee stall on Cong Hoa Road.

Some stalls that operate in the form of franchise are equipped with trolleys, dispensing machines, cups and uniforms with modern design. Ingredients used at these stalls meet hygienic and food safety standards, with unique flavors.

Ms. Cam Binh, from Dai Phat Company, which runs more than 100 fast-food stores in Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, and Binh Duong, of which 40% are franchise stores, said Dai Phat cannot compete with big brands like KFC or McDonald's, so it has developed a network of "mobile" stalls, which operate from 5am-9am.

Doctor Tran Van Ky from the Southern Office of the Vietnam Association of Food Safety Science & Technology, said that in the food business the most important thing is taste, then reasonable price, product quality and safety, and brand and identity 

New way of sale

The fast food chains are thriving on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City and some provinces and cities nationwide. The bread brands as Ma Nam, Ma Tam, Vung Tau, Tuan Map, Five Star, Alo Com, Alo Coffee, etc. and hundreds of trolleys of fast food with no brand names have become familiar to many parents as well as office workers. 

Customers just need to stop their motorcycles on the roadside, sit on the vehicle to order food or make a phone call and have the breakfast after a few minutes.

This new type of fast-food service is still the street-food service Vietnamese style but it has been upgraded to be more modern and professional.

The stalls or trolleys are decorated and displayed in eye-catching ways, the sellers wear uniforms and gloves and the food boxes look nice and clean. Thanks to these changes, street food is more attractive to customers.

However, these fast food chains are still out of the control of the authorities. 

Vietnamnet