Fresh herbs, dill, coriander, mint, lemon mint, lemon grass lie alongside, smaller trays of galangal and turmeric and ginger – smaller, softer and much more tasty and hot than we get at home.  Next are vegetables; kolrabi, morning glory, carrot, spring onion, tarot, cassava, green beans,  fruits; small sweet oranges, limes, exotic red dragon fruit, pomelos and papaya and mango, which are sold and eaten both sweet and unripe.  There are mounds of tamarind and bunches of arecas, which yields a kind of gum which is mixed with betel leaf and tobacco and chewed.   

In the next aisle are the fish, eels, tiger fish, catfish swimming in aerated bowls and crayfish and shrimps in iced water.  

Chickens are packed together in crates.  Meat is delivered fresh to the market on the hoof.   There are no abattoirs. Pigs are transported trussed up being transported in bamboo cages.     

Vietnam has solved the problem of food transport and storage by picking fruit and vegetables fresh and transporting meat and fish live to the market.  Few have fridges or freezers.  People go to the market every day to buy the food they need for that day.  There are some supermarkets, but these are used by the affluent to buy expensive foreign produce which can be stored.  It’s a completely different concept, but one that is more healthy. 

People buy only the food they need.  They decide the portion size.  There is no inducement to buy and eat food in excess.  People eat a lot of vegetables and fruit, which are cheap and tasty.  There are no additives, fruit does not need to be transported unripe, nd it is eaten before it can degrade.  And because people prepare and cook their own food, they are more in tune with their own needs and engage with their own nutrition.

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