On the streets of Ho Chi Minh City and for that matter most of Vietnams towns and cities, there is a constant stream of food vendors offering their goods up and down most busy streets, however if are living on the Mekong river gone are the street vendors replaced by river vendors that provide a valuable service to those living on the banks of the river.
Below are a few of the photos I took on a single day just after Tet this year, on the river that passes in front of my in-laws house in Vĩnh Long.
By far the most common river food vendors that traverse past my in-laws house are the Watermelon vendors and it’s not easy to miss out on your daily dose of it with the vendor singing out dưa hấu, dưa hấu (Watermelon, Watermelon) as they paddle or motor up the river.
The dưa hấu vendor is normally followed by the Sương Sáo sweet drink vendor, Sương Sáo is a mixture of grass jelly, shaved ice, evaporated milk with the addition of a red raspberry syrup/cordial.
The least common vendor on the day was what the vendor called xây cốm óng, and they weren’t in the true sense of the word selling food but in fact providing a service, as we gave them some rice and packet noodles which they smashed up and put it into their machine. The result was a long crispy savoury rice snack, if you are from Australia the closest thing I can compare it to is a very long burger ring or Cheezels without the burger or cheese flavour, for my Americans it like Puffy Cheetos.
You also see vendors going up and down the river that are like a floating greengrocer selling a large variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and fish/meat, but unfortunately on this day I was unable to get any on camera.
It’s also interesting to point out that it’s not just food sellers that float up and down the Mekong trying to make a living it is fairly common to see building products being sold which includes bricks and sand, you also see the occasional bulldozer being ferried up and down the river.