Foreign restaurants, chains, franchises- Are they ruining HCMC?

There seems to be a new Starbucks, Burger King, Gloria Jeans, Coffee Bean, now McDonalds and numerous other (mainly american) franchises opening up every five minutes in HCMC. The pearl of the far east is starting to look like every other fucking city in the world, because of this.
I arrived at the beginning of 2011 - and was happy & pleasantly exhilarated that HCMC seemed to stand out from other cities in south east asia because of it's lack of commercial fast food restaurants and chain stores. But driving down Dong Khoi street today with my visiting mother on her first trip to Vietnam, There are advertisement signs lining the streets next to the beautiful traditional new year lights which read 'dunkin doughnuts, burger king', etc. They stand out like a saw thumb in the most grotesque and crude manner. Detracting any feeling that you are actually driving down a street in Vietnam. You might as well be driving down a street in Detroit.
It is very unfortunate to me & it seems obvious that Vietnam is following this rubbishy trend and will soon be awash with a McDonalds or Starbucks on literally every corner - much like my own city in Melbourne, Australia or any other developed or westernised country which during the 70's became massively invaded(with some protest) by these leech- like chains. Which now play a seriously negative role in our society. Any which way you look at it.
These franchises have no limit to the amount of expansion they undertake. Or consequently to the culture and local businesses they detract from. They do not care that they destroy the very thing that makes one fond of a place. With their boring, sterile, anti social environments, their fatty, un-nutritious, addictive MSG oil drenched slop (which is actually helping the growing epidemic of obese children in Vietnam) They employ their workers at minimum wage whilst planting seeds of discontent and hatred amongst local/native business owners who luck out because of them. Bottom line- They are bad news.
There are some precarious red banner signs in district 1- issued by the government- which urge the Vietnamese people to support local business and restaurants. But obviously something is astray here. Who is allowing this rapid investment of Starbucks and the likes into Vietnam? Is there a set limit for the number of chain stores allowed into a certain demographic or area of space? To protect the heritage or what some might call the culture or atmosphere?  It definitely wouldn't seem so from what I have witnessed over the last year.  From what I have seen, from the surface- It looks like the proud independence and unique beauty of Vietnam is fading at a frighteningly alarming rate. & being replaced by a tacky, unhealthy Americanised consumer front.
If you know anything more about this -  I'd be keen to learn.  'have a nice day'  :D

Whats a saw thumb ??

Stop hanging out in Q.1 and see the real Vietnam, problem solved.

Those American Chains WILL NEVER destroy our UNIQUE CUISINE and Street Food Scene.
True they are everywhere in D1! but I think they target rich Vietnamese and of course expats and tourists.

The Locals can't afford to go to those places and thus the old Vietnam is still here.

We can't stop this procedure. It's called modernization or westernization.

This happened everywhere and will not stop sadly.

missmae :

Those American Chains WILL NEVER destroy our UNIQUE CUISINE and Street Food Scene.
True they are everywhere in D1! but I think they target rich Vietnamese and of course expats and tourists.

The Locals can't afford to go to those places and thus the old Vietnam is still here.

We can't stop this procedure. It's called modernization or westernization.

This happened everywhere and will not stop sadly.

I think the term you are probably looking for is 'commercialisation' There is a big difference between that & modernisation. I am not opposed to modernisation. &* I agree that it is impossible to stop. However there are many western countries (particularly those with a proud culinary cuisine culture, especially in Europe) where the government and community have laws & restrictions in place that limit the amount of fast food restaurants and chains  So that they do not infringe on the local businesses, the atmosphere or culture.(that's modernisation!) That is what I am inquiring into. If there are any kind of limits or restrictions in place. I can't see any here in HCMC.
For example in Co Bac street in D1 they have two large 'family marts' almost directly opposite each other. Also a 'B smart' store next door. They look stupid IMO.

Happy8888 :

Whats a saw thumb ??

Analogy. To be noticeable in a painful way.

jonnybgood :
Happy8888 :

Whats a saw thumb ??

Analogy. To be noticeable in a painful way.

Sore thumb...

excellent finding

jonnybgood :
missmae :

Those American Chains WILL NEVER destroy our UNIQUE CUISINE and Street Food Scene.
True they are everywhere in D1! but I think they target rich Vietnamese and of course expats and tourists.

The Locals can't afford to go to those places and thus the old Vietnam is still here.

We can't stop this procedure. It's called modernization or westernization.

This happened everywhere and will not stop sadly.

I think the term you are probably looking for is 'commercialisation' There is a big difference between that & modernisation. I am not opposed to modernisation. &* I agree that it is impossible to stop. However there are many western countries (particularly those with a proud culinary cuisine culture, especially in Europe) where the government and community have laws & restrictions in place that limit the amount of fast food restaurants and chains  So that they do not infringe on the local businesses, the atmosphere or culture.(that's modernisation!) That is what I am inquiring into. If there are any kind of limits or restrictions in place. I can't see any here in HCMC.
For example in Co Bac street in D1 they have two large 'family marts' almost directly opposite each other. Also a 'B smart' store next door. They look stupid IMO.

Oh yep thanks for correcting:)

You lived here quite a while and I bet you have noticed there are actually no laws in Vietnam. Did you see all the restaurants with the same name? There is now law that forbids it ... a copycat's paradise ...


About the chains: If you have the money and the connections, you have the right to run one. Welcome to Vietnam

missmae :

About the chains: If you have the money and the connections, you have the right to run one. Welcome to Vietnam

Funny he asks who allows these chains when it's the PM's brother-in-law (???) who opened up McDonald's, no?

Yes they are.........

no worry my friend. vietnam has the best cuisine in the world.  i am sure vietnamese people wont forget to eat pho and trade it for mc dees.  no western food chain ever can invade vietnam becasue the people here love their own food.  kfc, macdee, burger princess are only for tourist and rich people who like to taste diffrent things.  Actually mcdee and burgerking bring diverse cuisine to vn.. sometimes we will have an urge for a mcdee or a good milkshake right?

All good my friend

As said before, get out of D1, its not Viet Nam its a commercial centre.

To the poster who said it was the PM's brother in-law its actually his son in-law and he is already extremely wealthy thanks to his father in-law

He's also a Viet Kieu from America I heard ...

See, got the connections, money and off you go:)

The growing presence of international chains is a sign of modernization and increasing purchasing power of the local market. It is, in the long run, a good thing for the country.

I loathe the expats who bemoan any changes to their "beloved, quaint Vietnam" of the olden days. The Vietnamese have centuries of experience dealing with foreign influence (Ni Hao, Bonjour) and have proven time and again to incorporate the compatible aspects of foreign cultures and reject the negatives. In fact, the Vietnam that many expats love is a product of amalgamating different cultural influences to create the vibrant mosaic of the local culture.

For me, a foreigner saying that something is bad for Vietnam and should be banned is a sign of patronizing this country's people. In fact, it comes across as an attitude of superiority towards the locals, not dissimilar to the colonial powers who always knew what's better for the sad, destitute little people in cone hats. We all know how the colonial experiment ended here, and there is no reason to doubt that if a foreign business is incompatible with the local culture, it will simply go bankrupt.

I for one see the franchises as a major problem for Viet Nam, just as in many countries, obesity will soon be a common sight due to the change in diet. I worked at a kindergarten, kids 4 years old turned up with a can of coke and a bag of fried snacks at 7am in the morning.I am all for change if its a good change, but fast food franchises are not what I would call a good change for Vietnamese society.

colinoscapee :

I for one see the franchises as a major problem for Viet Nam, just as in many countries, obesity will soon be a common sight due to the change in diet. I worked at a kindergarten, kids 4 years old turned up with a can of coke and a bag of fried snacks at 7am in the morning.I am all for change if its a good change, but fast food franchises are not what I would call a good change for Vietnamese society.

That's the fault of lazy parents who don't care about their child's diet.
I grew up with a healthy amount of home-made food, casual eating outs and after church on Sundays my parents took me to McDonalds.

Who can blame parents who work 24/7 and are too tired to cook for their children, FAST FOOD is so much quicker and if not consumed regularly ok.

I really dislike those comments that state that all those chains are blamed for my obesity.
Obesity is a result of laziness.
If you would work out regularly you can eat one or two burgers, fries and still be slim as a stick.
Don't blame others for your faults.

Just my two cents

why would any one trade a banh mi delux for a big mac,  u got to be out of ur mind?

Too many calories and not enough exercise creates obesity, fast food is full of calories and fat, therefore you have to exercise more. Seeing as we are talking about fast food, maybe to counteract the fast food they build fitness franchises next door.

Just my two cents.

It's my third year here. I spend several weeks per year in HCMC, for IT business.
I am soo happy I am not the only one with that question and fear about fast food! Anyway, after thinking, you cannot really restrict these insane-food companies to raise the business everywhere in the world.. as there are no laws against fastfood :D.. yet ;).

But what you can do is talking to your local friends, colleagues and everyone else about the dangers of this kind of food....

I like Vietnamese leafs soo much :)

There are towns in Australia that wont let Mcdonalds and KFC operate, a good thing if you ask me.

ssuprnova :

The growing presence of international chains is a sign of modernization and increasing purchasing power of the local market. It is, in the long run, a good thing for the country.

I loathe the expats who bemoan any changes to their "beloved, quaint Vietnam" of the olden days. The Vietnamese have centuries of experience dealing with foreign influence (Ni Hao, Bonjour) and have proven time and again to incorporate the compatible aspects of foreign cultures and reject the negatives. In fact, the Vietnam that many expats love is a product of amalgamating different cultural influences to create the vibrant mosaic of the local culture.

For me, a foreigner saying that something is bad for Vietnam and should be banned is a sign of patronizing this country's people. In fact, it comes across as an attitude of superiority towards the locals, not dissimilar to the colonial powers who always knew what's better for the sad, destitute little people in cone hats. We all know how the colonial experiment ended here, and there is no reason to doubt that if a foreign business is incompatible with the local culture, it will simply go bankrupt.

That's truly hilarious. You have taken it upon yourself to stress that it's only expats who 'bemoan' the recent avalanche of fast food chains. As if we are some branch of fascist, anti fast food revolutionaries. LOL. In fact, the majority of expats I know actually LOVE these fast food chains. Then you suggest we want them 'banned'  which is never what I expressed-  But why don't you ask the local shop/ hamburger/ sandwich/coffee/rice & noodle stall owner what they think of it? They might actually think a ban is appropriate. Realistically, most probably haven't even had a chance to fathom the change as it is happening so quickly. The fact is that I come from a country that has had these chains for years & is dealing with the negative effects of them- & so it upsets me that it is happening here now too - apparently, more aggressively then back home - as we infact have developed limits and restrictions after citizens and local businesses spoke up with their concerns.  I am trying to learn more about how it operates here.

The idea that Vietnam is 'quaint' is actually your own projection as I certainly don't see Vietnam as 'quaint.' I see it as a booming economy with a rich culture and growing opportunities(obviously US investors are aware of this- thats why they are trying to capitalise) But also a proud history of defeating the imperialist powers like the ones you mentioned, also including America.
Vietnam has seen detrimental, extreme living conditions because of the US war & then the following embargo/blockade after the war which ended in the 90's. You are suggesting that the only good investment should be investment of a negative impact on society. American trash culture. As if the country cannot have a choice in which foreign companies it allows into the country? Especially not with the one which fucked it over for so many years? There are plenty of examples across the world of healthy economies that do not have to destroy their culture or identity with Americas usually trashy brand of commercial investment to live happily. Unfortunately however, there are also many examples of those that have.
As I said, I am not against fast food chains operating. And I personally don't think they should be banned. What I am against is what seems to an aggressive influx in which they are opening up everywhere with no restrictions or limits in place. (for the people who say this is only happening in District 1- You are gravely mistaken or blind. Burger King alone has already opened restaurants in District 1, 3, 5, 7 and 10-  with plans to open more.That's just in the last year or so.
Also as a matter of fact- I love HCMC - and consider District 1 a part of it. I don't live there anymore but it's still a part of the 'Real Vietnam' in my books. The history in District 1 including the old hotels, the church, cafes and hangouts should be reason enough to consider it important. - But are you really so naive to think that without restrictions or limits you will not see more and more of these chains opening up in areas that you, personally consider 'Real Vietnam'? outside the main districts?
What exactly is so appealing about looking at the same chain- stores in every developed or developing city you visit supprnova? You may enjoy this familiarity - perhaps it makes you feel more at home or comfortable- Perhaps you even have vested interests in them which will benefit you financially. Perhaps thats why you are defending them so vehemently. But I wouldn't do business with these parasite chain stores. Not in a million years. I've already seen the negative effects they have on society. Especially when there are too many.

Whether you like fast food or not, the fast food chains wouldn't be here if there wasn't a demand for it. It's up to the Vietnamese to decide whether they like it or not.

I was a little surprise that the american fast food restaurant only recently start opening up here in Vietnam. I saw a few Burger Kings and actually Mac Donald just open their first outlet near where I live. If you wondering how their business is doing? I saw the place was pack up like a can of sardine for not one day but for several days. So, not bad seems like they are doing pretty good. I am surprise as Mac Donald is in Malaysia since 20 plus years ago. Looks like the americans are launching their Tet offensive using food as their weapon. Just like in Malaysia, they and many other franchises are going to be here for a long long time.

In my view, it is called globalisation and progress. Every country wants to modernise and globalise. Anyway, let the consumers decide, if they don't like the fast food joints, they will not last long. If they like it, then it adds variety to the food here. The argument that a country should be as it is, quaint and frozen in time, is it for tourists or locals ? Same arguments used by developed countries to stop emerging countries from clearing their forests and setting up factories to improve the living conditions of the locals.  Why ? So the developed countries can continue to pollute the world and rainforests of the poor countries to absorb it. And for the tourists from rich countries to come and gawk at the primitive lifestyles of the locals.

Food saturated with fat is not good for anyone,developing countries,developed countries it makes no difference. The food is crap, ask any body who deals in the health system.

colinoscapee :

Food saturated with fat is not good for anyone,developing countries,developed countries it makes no difference. The food is crap, ask any body who deals in the health system.

There's plenty of food the Vietnamese eat that is not "healthy." It's all about moderation. I for one don't need the government or anyone else telling me when I can or cannot eat a Big Mac.

The point is  we are talking about fast food franchises. Of course there are foods in Viet Nam that are not healthy, thats a no brainer.I dont care if people eat the crap, thats their choice, but these companies aim at a young market to get them hooked on junk food.So just watch the obesity rate rise over the next twenty years or so. As you say its a personal choice and that is a persons right to eat what they want.

jonnybgood :

Also as a matter of fact- I love HCMC - and consider District 1 a part of it. I don't live there anymore but it's still a part of the 'Real Vietnam' in my books. The history in District 1 including the old hotels, the church, cafes and hangouts should be reason enough to consider it important. - But are you really so naive to think that without restrictions or limits you will not see more and more of these chains opening up in areas that you, personally consider 'Real Vietnam'? outside the main districts?
.

To ask if a few fast food chains in D1 are ruining a country would be like me asking is Vietnam being overtaken by Koreans because I'm in Phu My Hung.It's like going to Shinjuku in Tokyo and asking is youth too obsessed with looks. Like hanging out in Orange County in US and asking are Americans too rich... You get the point. Get outside of HCMC more.

Try to develop a realistic or at least half- intelligent sense of perspective before you comment. Trolling upon a topic that you clearly have no comprehension or discernment of is not just boring, it's sad.  :sleep

But obviously something is astray here. Who is allowing this rapid investment of Starbucks and the likes into Vietnam? Is there a set limit for the number of chain stores allowed into a certain demographic or area of space? To protect the heritage or what some might call the culture or atmosphere?

jonnybgood :

Try to develop a realistic or at least half- intelligent sense of perspective before you comment. Trolling upon a topic that you clearly have no comprehension or discernment of is not just boring, it's sad.  :sleep

Someone having a differing perspective from your own does not equate trolling. Perhaps Google up on the definition of words before using them out of context? Or you can go post somewhere where everyone will agree with your opinion and you will be happy.

NinaVamp :
jonnybgood :

Try to develop a realistic or at least half- intelligent sense of perspective before you comment. Trolling upon a topic that you clearly have no comprehension or discernment of is not just boring, it's sad.  :sleep

Someone having a differing perspective from your own does not equate trolling. Perhaps Google up on the definition of words before using them out of context? Or you can go post somewhere where everyone will agree with your opinion and you will be happy.

No, you're right. But until you put forth some realistic or at least a half thought out, rational ideas into your comments, which are related to the topic heading- instead of putting forth childish, racial & irrelevant analogies to incite stupidity- You're naturally liable to be considered an erratic or passive aggressive 'Troll'- with no views worthy to consider. There have been plenty of interesting, intelligent and relevant posts on this topic from a number of people. But unfortunately & very obviously, not by you.
Heres a suggestion- Because it seems it's actually yourself who is unwilling to accept an idea that does not fit into your narrow world view (whatever that is- I can only imagine some kind of archetypical pro-fast food world- or something like it, as thats all I've been able to extract from your facile, dubious commenting .)
Why don't you start your own thread about the positive effects of fast food chains?!
If thats what you truly feel so passionate about ? Problem solved ??  & I don't have to waste my time responding to a Troll. (Which I wont do again BTW). Great! Look forward to reading your new thread! - back to sleep vamp :sleep

jonnybgood,

may i suguest you come back when you get that chip off your shouder?

Parmyd :

jonnybgood,

may i suguest you come back when you get that chip off your shouder?

You may. But it doesn't resonate. May I suggest you contribute something topic related? :D

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonaldization

For anybody interested- I found this wikipedia link interesting.

Also this global research article.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-global … ld-s/25309

Both are related to the topic   :gloria

after the excitement and curiosity dies down it will be the kids/teens that will drive the fast food franchises.   i love a good burger but McDonald's and Burger King's are not good.  as for the poster who said the obesity rate will go up when i first arrived in VN 6 years ago i had one niece/nephews who was considered obese.   now there are about 5 thats obese all reside in HCMC.   there was an article about the rising number of obese children several months ago but i cant find it now.

Man loses 40 pounds eating McDonald's

http://www.today.com/health/man-loses-n … 2D11863528

Didnt this guy live on 1400 calories a day, nothing to do with Mcdonalds,all to do with the very,very low intake of calories.

OBB :

after the excitement and curiosity dies down it will be the kids/teens that will drive the fast food franchises.   i love a good burger but McDonald's and Burger King's are not good.  as for the poster who said the obesity rate will go up when i first arrived in VN 6 years ago i had one niece/nephews who was considered obese.   now there are about 5 thats obese all reside in HCMC.   there was an article about the rising number of obese children several months ago but i cant find it now.

It's like back in the Marie Antoinette Times where obesity equals beauty and wealth.

Back to Burger - Go try  Chuck's Eatery on 27 Tran Nhat Duat to get the best burgers in town. I often eat here when I crave American bugers and Charlie, the owner is sooo laid back and cool:)

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