Living in HCMC | 2019-11-14← Back
Living in Saigon with a Vietnamese family can be very rewarding as it gives you a look into the daily lives that many expatriates never experience. Family is very important here and when you live in the same building, you pretty much become a de facto member even to the point of being called brother, sister, son or daughter.
Meals are generally eaten at fixed hours and often earlier than in Western countries. Lunch is at 11:30am and dinner around 6pm. There might be some food under a plastic strainer and rice kept warm in a cooker for family members who work odd hours. If you are around, you will be invited for dinner. If you are feeling homesick for some Western food, it is probably best to have some cooking skills as they probably don’t know how to cook food from your country, and they may be (politely) delighted by your offerings. If the family is feeding you, it is appreciated if you help with some household bills.
Vietnamese tend to get up early and it might not be appropriate to come home too late after a night out.
You will be asked to attend celebrations that honour memories of the elderly, such as death anniversaries. Make sure you attend as a sign of respect.
For information on Vietnamese traditions go to Vietnamese New Year Traditions