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Food Truck in Saigon

Hi everybody,

This is my very first time posting in the forum and 8 months since the first day I came back to Vietnam after a few years spending in the States.

I am currently looking to open a food truck in the beloved Saigon :) Therefore, i have a few questions and will appreciate to hear your feedback:

1) Did you see a food truck in Saigon before?

2) (Legal related) This is the hard part. I noticed there is a food safety certification for Restaurant/Food Court/.etc. I wonder if there is anything legally related to food truck operation?

3) Cost to buy a truck in Vietnam? Which truck would you recommend? Is there any chance I can find a customized food truck in Vietnam?

4) Fun questions: What is your favorite that you want to see on my future food truck?

Thank you for reading and have a nice day!

Great idea! I thought about it once but my parents did not support me. They said like I was a nerd. Anyway, I saw a food truck selling fruits in bowl in District 11 several months ago. I'm not sure if it's still there.
- Food safety certification is considered to be  a complex procedure to conduct. Even some restaurants could not make it happen. You should be awared that all legal procedure in Vietnam would be completed smoothly with the help of bribe. Also, you need to find someone who has developed good relationship with local authorities.
Therefore, forget it, feel free to make you dream come true, what's coming will come  :D
- I'm not an expert in this field but I'll ask my uncle. He knows a little about car and price. Usually, trucks used in Vietnam are from Toyota or Mitsubishi, Hyundai. To save money, I suggest buying used truck and transform it to the one you intend.
- Street foods from your hometown. We love to know about U.S and its culture. Beside, you could hardly compete with local people on price and taste if you decide to serve Vietnamese food.
Above all, driving licence should be in your wallet if you drive your truck on your own.
Send me an email if you need help. (languageandlawblog[at]gmail.com)

Hi there,
Fun fact: My parents do not support me as well. They want me to stick with what I am doing right now. No worry, just follow your dream and passion, buddy

I know that I need to do something to make the legal and business/food safety registration "smoothly" enough  :cool:
I will be extremely appreciated if you can tell me where can I find good used truck (websites/addresses). I do not know anybody have decent knowledge about trucks and customization :(

I will show people how amazing American street food is. That is for sure.

Thank you for your help.

Hi again,
You do not need to worry about food safety certification. Local people sell foods without this stuff but some food stalls even get their fame because of their high quality food. However, be highly noticed of police and some unofficial guys who would dare to threaten you while selling in their area.
I suggest you drive around the city and chose some schools with the front side/road as large as possible so that it would be easy for you to stop and sell foods to students.
I will ask my friends for help with your truck. Be patient until I could get anything from them  :whistle:
By the way, what is your major now? I am a legal assistant  :lol:

Oh, I get your point now haha. I heard the stories about a bunch of guys wrecking ppl's business for not paying them money :( Gotta be careful.

I just graduate from University, working in Supply Chain team for a footwear company in District 1.

There you go.  :D
Are you American or Vietnamese student going abroad? I'm just curious. 😀
I have just graduated for 1 year. So, we might be at the same age.
Could you tell me the purpose of your business? Have you prepared anything yet?

Hi there,
Actually I know nothing about this field so I guess I can't help :-) . But I think it's a very great idea since food truck is still new in Vietnam. Hope your project will succeed.
And like you said: "just follow your dream and passion, buddy"
^___^

Hi Lan Anh,

Thanks a lot! I am sure you can help by stopping by our food truck which may be opened soon ;)

Hi "language&law"

TO be in detail, I am working for adidas right now.

For the "food truck" thingy, we have the "food" ready. My concern is with the "truck" part and I am looking for some people to support me. It is hard to find mhonest, young and energetic people in Saigon.

They exist; screen carefully.

The market is there and waiting.   Who does not suffer salivation at the sight of sandwiches or a hot dog?    Westerners (and their values) are here for a good reason: popularity!

You don't need good luck.   Just application...

Just as easy as selling com tam at Walmart...lol.

Great ^__^

There is an American in Bangkok for the past 8 years with Hamburger Trucks, started out with one, now has about 6 roaming the city - he was highlited in Sawasdee Magazine of Thai Airlines last month I think.  His Burgers are made from only the best meat, hand packed with all kinds of adornments you can imagine.  Thats how he became successful - started out only in construction sites, now has them all over .  Look to see how you are doing, I have always said - to do business in SE Asia, you need to do somthing no one else is doing.  I had a bar back in seventies in Pattaya Thailand, only served ice cold local beer and American hotdogs, I would run out before the next shipment came in from Philipines, people lined up for them........Chuck Mun...........Tim

I should start a strip club that serves good steaks.

HtotheIzzo :

I should start a strip club that serves good steaks.

@Htothelzzo: Or you should start a steakhouse that has good server. Jk ;)

Hi there,

This is a great idea, I have seen food truck on tv and I really like it. I can help you look for a truck and  construed in accordance with the laws of the Viet Nam.

yours.

nghia13978 :

Hi there,

This is a great idea, I have seen food truck on tv and I really like it. I can help you look for a truck and  construed in accordance with the laws of the Viet Nam.

yours.

Hi Nghia,

I am indeed looking for a customized truck to do this. Could you please inbox me your number/email so I can ask for more detail.

I feel like Vietnamese law are lacking for food safety/fire safety .etc. for food truck business. Hope I do not get into trouble with the authority lol.

Before going much further I would be getting some information from the relevant departments as to what is required to start this business. I too thought of doing the same thing about 7 years ago, but the paperwork here in VN is just too daunting.

Conversely, you might use (their) (deliberate?) obfuscation against them..?

Australia has the highest H&S regulations, so by following the strict rules
(easily complied with) then ANY authority must then prove otherwise.

..opening the doors for litigation if they cannot do this...

That's all you (really?) need..?   ..we all know the 'other' rules...
but logically at least, you have proven your validity.

Here's a link that might give you a few ideas;
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct … uu6z3hscPQ

Bazza139 :

Conversely, you might use (their) (deliberate?) obfuscation against them..?

Australia has the highest H&S regulations, so by following the strict rules
(easily complied with) then ANY authority must then prove otherwise.

..opening the doors for litigation if they cannot do this...

That's all you (really?) need..?   ..we all know the 'other' rules...
but logically at least, you have proven your validity.

Here's a link that might give you a few ideas;
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct … uu6z3hscPQ

Hello Bazza,

Actually, I will use the ambiguity in law to my advantage (hopefully) since I am pretty darn sure there is no such law relevant to food truck for now.

Thank you for the website though, I plan to take an educational courses and get a certificate to sound legit lol.

*sigh* doing business in Vietnam is always fun but risky like boxing blindfold, you will never know when you get hit :D

Its an idea that has worked/proven itself the world over.

1. there is no such production/fabricator of the type of truck you have in mind (i know!). The only way is to design it yourself and approach a fabrication company to custom build it.

2. you stand a VERY high chance of the vehicle being taken by the traffic police for many reason/no reason at all.

3. it seems you might be focused or passionate about food/meals - but have not thought thru the market/budget "real business".

4. there are better options!

D

Can you clearly state types of food & beverages and target customers you will serve, I'll give you more information. Truck, law, location, biz plan, investment, marketing plan,... all depend on that.

ScarletNguyen :

Can you clearly state types of food & beverages and target customers you will serve, I'll give you more information. Truck, law, location, biz plan, investment, marketing plan,... all depend on that.

Without even trying to suggest subverting the paramount paradigm
   ..or maybe a scam..?   

   We are in Viet Nam, so NO, nothing depends on (truck, law, location, biz plan (etc))

   So Scarlet sounds a bit suss.   To me.   But what do I know?

   Just saying...       :whistle:

   Hoping Houston!  - we (might) (not?) have a problem..?      :happy:

"Clearly stating"  (your) marketing plans (+ details...)  ???

..sounds a bit suss to me...     :unsure

Bazza139 :

"Clearly stating"  (your) marketing plans (+ details...)  ???

..sounds a bit suss to me...     :unsure

I suggest you to read again what I wrote and make sure you comprehend English before saying anything carelessly.

Everything of a business are always considered & planned based on products/services & target customer, aren't they? Oh I forgot to ask if you know that.

Let's start with this. Vietnam has a quite impressive street food culture. OP should be careful not to think & do like he's in USA, e.g choosing a truck instead of a van. Vietnamese use bicycles, motorbikes & recently mini van to do what so called food truck. Even when they are using vans, they almost have to drive around the area to avoid police. If his products need a truck other than van, things go different.

It's your choice to think whatever you want. To me, I'd prefer to give realistic & practical help rather than only online support. Same as I'd prefer to help rather than being a keyboard hero. I can't tell anything with a "food truck" only.

"It's your choice to think whatever you want. To me, I'd prefer to give realistic & practical help rather than only online support. Same as I'd prefer to help rather than being a keyboard hero. I can't tell anything with a "food truck" only."

Agreed.    May I suggest you learn to play chess?   
It not only helps you to connect the dots, but being more able
to forecast another's true motive(s)    ..and then tell others..?
Just as marketing is integral to human behaviour...

But yes, it is choice, not chance that decides our destiny.

The grass is definitely greener here.   Different too.      :idontagree:

Well, now I can't follow you anymore.
I don't know if asking OP about target customer & type of product can harm his business, which not even start or precisely not yet deciding if and how he should start.
I suggest you to let OP decide if he wants to explain to me and wait to see what is my true motive other than trying to get this off topic. Or it's up to you to follow your conspiracy theories.

Much better.

Thank you for your insights

I want to say this idea could work but it will be a ton of labour on Houston's part. Buying a truck and customizing it is the least of his challenges. Just need cash.

Finding a location and being able to stay there seems tricky to me. I would suggest getting a truck and just parking it in the places you hope to sell. Maybe sell some red bull or something to validate the experiment. If you can negotiate with the power of the day to stay there for a a few weeks without getting moved along you might have a realistic plan.

Remember in America no one (who knows) wants to work out of a truck. Its a stopgap because they don't think they can afford a real shop. Or they think they will get more customers moving to events and festivals and banking on the Indy factor. But in HCMC there is no established heard of trucks to follow around. If you can get the traffic you need from a real store it's a better business plan. Once you get a food business to the point where you have enough customers the cost of rent quickly becomes almost irrelevant.

Since I have extensive experience in the independent quick service food business I thought I would drop some business hints.

I have never run a food truck and only have superficial knowledge of hcmc.

This is my first post on expat. Hope Houston is still listening.

Hello nosugar_please, welcome to Expat.com :)

Of course I am still following my dream with the truck :)

After getting to this, I know I have a shit ton things to do and in fact, I have never been busier in my life to maintain full time work and make this happen.

The rental cost in Vietnam is always a huge cost factor tbh. I have come up with a few places to park my truck in District 7 and District 1. Hell, I even think of driving the truck to Vung Tau at weekend.

All in all, I believe food truck is not my stopgap. It does not stop at running a successful food truck but it also bring up a whole new industry since most people cannot afford a real shop here lol

Wherever you park be sure to have plenty of coffee money for the CSTT.

JenneSaisQuoi :

Wherever you park be sure to have plenty of coffee money for the CSTT.

I doubt.
                    ..they'll be there for the food...   

            Like the rest of us...       :idontagree:

Repair and maintenance could be another challenge. Make sure feasible parts are available locally. 

Good luck Trung.

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