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How cheap is cheap?

What is the cost of the following items, the cheapest price that the expats pay for.
Rice, beef, coffee, sugar, milk, eggs, fish and cheese.
It can be in pounds or kilos, USD or Vietnamese dong.
Prices in Ha Noi or HCMC more important or any city in Vietnam would be appreciated.
Thanks for the help

Check out the website "numbeo" It has cost of living numbers from around the world. Somewhat up to date and accurate, but by no means exact.

7Steven thanks, I've already done so. I also checked numbeo's prices for my area, Hilo, Hawaii one particular item was priced at 7 times what I pay for it. " Boots on the ground", expats there and now will give me a better idea. Thanks again

I don't have numbers but my wife tells me that a few items like chicken and pork are cheaper in Honolulu than HCMC.  Everything else is more expensive, particularly fruit and vegetables and also fish.  I think you are trying to micro manage this.  Overall you will spend less on food, even or particularly with eating VN street food vs US fast food.  Just make the move and enjoy it.

THIGV thanks for your reply. It's not fair to compare Vietnam, a cheap country to live in, to an expensive place like Hawaii, because Vietnam will not come out very well in the comparison.

Apart from cheese and fish, it costs less than  the price of a pack of cigarettes in the Western World. Asians hate cheese, so there are only imported and very expensive (but local yoghourts are delicious). As for fish, it all depends on which one, but 1/4 to 1/2 of an occidental price would be the norm

Now that I let " the cat out of the bag I feel that I need to explain why the comparison would not be favorable to Vietnam.
There are two kinds of folks in Hawaii. Some, like me, we pay for everything we get. Others either because they have very little or nothing or they have no scruples they lie and say that they don't have anything they get it all, food, housing, medical and transportation for a price better than cheap... It's all free. Believe it or not. But it gets even better than that. If a person wants cash money on top of all that, all needs to be done is to act a bit crazy go see a shrink and you get what we call " crazy pay". That works also if you abuse prescription drugs, you will get money and free drugs. An alcoholic same thing he gets money to buy the booze with. In conclusion to live in Hawaii all you have to pay for is toiletries the rest is all free

Havaianu :

Now that I let " the cat out of the bag I feel that I need to explain why the comparison would not be favorable to Vietnam.
There are two kinds of folks in Hawaii. Some, like me, we pay for everything we get. Others either because they have very little or nothing or they have no scruples they lie and say that they don't have anything they get it all, food, housing, medical and transportation for a price better than cheap... It's all free. Believe it or not. But it gets even better than that. If a person wants cash money on top of all that, all needs to be done is to act a bit crazy go see a shrink and you get what we call " crazy pay". That works also if you abuse prescription drugs, you will get money and free drugs. An alcoholic same thing he gets money to buy the booze with. In conclusion to live in Hawaii all you have to pay for is toiletries the rest is all free

This is a forum about Vietnam. Listening to the problems of the First World is why I left the First World. There is no utopia! Quit complaining or do something about it. Maybe you should stay in Hawaii. Because being an expat is not for everyone.

I live in a single room bungalow (no shared walls) at a hotel and eat out for every meal. Gym membership, visa (fees and travel), motorbike and other day to day things. Average per month is ~$600USD. It is not glamorous and sometimes it is frustrating, but it is the life I am enjoying in Vietnam.

Good luck with whatever comparison you are attempting to make.

Same feeling here ! Who cares about Hawai bums ? I flew to the Far East to get away from cop harassment (for miserable speed tickets and wrong parking), the drug scene, the complete selfishness, the crass materialism, and the racism. Vietnam is an amazing country, dirt cheap, and I would not move anywhere else (after 5 years in West Africa, 35 in New York and 7 in Thailand)

Larsay merci beaucoup Believe it or not aside the food my intention

... is to go somewhere where people DO WORK for a living, I'm so sick and tired of just about everyone I know is on welfare, aside all the facts you mentioned with which I totally agree.

chicken pieces at the Nha Trang market are about 85,000 vnd / kg. rice is about 10,000 to 16,000 kg at the super market pending brand. I pay between 38,000 and 45,000 vnd for a litre for Da Lat fresh pasteurized milk which is expensive for milk wherever you are.

I just paid $20,000 for 200 grams of grounded coffee. Looking at the bag I think it's good 50+ drinks. Kiwi yellow is $120,000/kg while kiwi green is $46,000/kg. Those are expensive fruits. You can get dragon fruits, pomelo and any other local fruits just as good and cheaper. I paid $56,000 for 16 pieces of laughing cow cheese. There's a french cheese that's $120,000 but looking at the nutrient contents the cheaper one has more nutrients. Probably the packaging is why it's expensive.

I think the food is cheaper if you buy at local market but I prefer to pay a premium for the convenience, comfort and service at a supermarket.

I spend about $7,000,000/mth on food and $13,000,000/mth total for my wife, 1-year old daughter and myself. Subtract $3,000,000 I give each month to the wife's mother and it's $10,000,000/mth.

Panda and Khanh thanks a lot, that is really helpful. Food I expect to be my highest cost in VN, numbeo kind of helped, but not really. I understand that street food is cheap but the cost of bulk food is not very cheap at all. So my curiosity changed from how much it will cost me to how little those street sellers must make per item.
Many items are actually more expensive in VN than in Hawaii.
Here is the rock bottom price for some items.
Milk which I only buy by the gallon $5.00 per gallon, fresh not boxed and radiated.
Butter $6.50 kilo
Banana $1.50 kilo
Papaya 5 for $1.00
Beef $7.00 kilo on up
Pork $1.90 kilo
Fish ahi tuna $4.40 kilo
Rice $1.10 kilo
Sugar $1.10 kilo
Canned vegetables $1.10 per 454 grams
Cheese $8.00 kilo
Coffee $12.00 kilo

Those are what locals pay. Tourists pay a lot more. The reason is that locals buy everything when it is on sale and stock up till next sale. Tourists pay the regular price which is 2 to 3 times the prices I quoted.
Last week I was at the market, tuna 140 grams can is normally $1.50 as it was on sale for $.65, lowest price in ages, I bought 10 cans. Never mind that I knew I had at least another 10 cans of tuna at home, I'm set with tuna for months to come. Sugar is $4.59 for 5 pounds, about 2.2 kilos, I buy when it's on sale, at least once every month, for $2.00 for 5 pounds of pure cane, then I usually buy 20 to 25 pounds, 8.8 to 11 kilos, again I'm set till next sale.
I'm only buying for myself and having had to live on $150 a month for food in Hawaii, I'm as positive as I can be that allowing $300 for food in VN I will not go hungry.
Another way that locals save money is buy only buying certain items in certain stores, meaning, knowing and only buying what stores sell really cheap to attract customers.
Most stores have at the bottom of the sales tag how much I saved. The vast majority of the time I save between 50% to 75% otherwise I will not buy.....till it is on sale

Rice: 15 000 vnd/kg
beef: 200 000 vnd/kg
coffee: totally depends on the brand
sugar: 10 000 vnd/kg
milk: 10 000 vnd/L
eggs: 20 000vnd/10 eggs
fish: totally depends on what kind of fish but most of them are cheaper than meat
cheese: totally depends on what kind of cheese but some French cheese are really expensive (everything that is imported is actually very expensive). To give a sample: I use to pay 500 000 vnd for 0.5 kg of raclette cheese. I am French so no really used to buy some other cheese but some Netherland cheese are actually cheaper even if quality/price is still very expensive.

Hope that help.

Thanks

Just be aware that when food goes on sale it's not a marketing strategy to attract customers.

I've learned my lessons numerous times buying food on sale only to find out the real reason why. And don't buy sliced up food in plastic packaging. They choose the fruits that would not sell and slice them up, peel them what not and re-sale them as food of convenience.

I think sometimes it's cheaper to eat out but I'd like to know what my ingredients are. They have a saying in Vietnam you pay what you get. Sick pigs turned into pork as ingredients for numerous sidewalk dishes. If you ever wonder why it only cost $15,000 for that bun rieu, com suong, bun thit nuong and any other dishes.

Loicfarge thanks for the info very helpful indeed. Thank you

Khanh the sales I speak of are name brands, prepackaged and no issues. Most items have expiration dates, you have to check them and decide if you are going to consume it within the validity span.
I will not eat rat for the reasons you mentioned. Because that "country rat" may have been caught in some city.
I appreciate the input but I've travelled a bit and seen firsthand and eaten in slums from the US to Cairo to Brazil to Mexico. There will always be someone so hard up on his luck or without any conscience that they will sell you anything.
Thanks again

Loicfarge if it is not too personal of a question, may I ask what is your food expense monthly?
I'm hoping to spend around $300 USD per month. Is this  realistic?
Maybe I should add another $100 just for cheese. Can't live without my bread and cheese. Thanks

I think this whole discussion is somewhat pointless once you get past the basics.  Anyone who knows how food is produced will recognize that things that require modern feed inputs like dairy, pork and even poultry, excluding village chickens, will be priced similarly to western countries because feed inputs are priced on world markets.  There are some local inputs like rice bran but the general rule is true.  Beef is trickier because there is both local beef and imported NZ and AU beef to meet the tastes of more affluent city dwellers.  Things that are labor intensive like fruits and vegetables are cheap.  Overall the cost of food is cheaper in Vietnam and street food is cheaper than US fast food because of lower labor inputs.  Furthermore, many street vendors employ only unpaid family. 

Havaianu:  You need to stop trying to analyze it and do it.  I might add that while your comments on people scamming the system in Hawaii may be true, you will have similar heartburn problems in Vietnam if you don't loosen up a little.  They may have a different game but there is no lack of scammers in Vietnam.  Just do what you think is best and ignore the rest.

khanh44 :

And don't buy sliced up food in plastic packaging.

Actually this is not a bad rule to follow even in the west.  Although done in large plants and not made from older fruits, cut up fruits and vegetable are the most common cause of Salmonella poisoning which is introduced not at the farm but at the processing plant.  I would think the problem would be doubled in Vietnam.  Anyway, Vietnam has beautiful fresh whole fruit which can be found with just a little shopping effort.  This is where you want to stay out of Big C and Coop and go to the local markets.

ironically my wife asked me couple days ago why I didn't buy fruits at Big C. I told her it's more expensive and there's lots of delicious fruits at the local market at more than half the cost.

No problem. Well I am used to eat a lot of French food and I have a family of 4 people (2 children). Per month I would spend around 15 000 000vnd (750usd) for the whole family but I also eat to restaurant a lot due to my job.

I guess 300 usd is quite enough for one person if you do not make too much extra and eat local food. Markets on the street are cheaper than supermarket actually. However might be a bit complicated if you don't speak vietnamese.

Hope that would help you

Loicfarge perfect,  thanks for going straight to the point. French haute cuisine is my favorite food. I was hoping that the French had had some influence on the Vietnamese cuisine but from what I see to understand, from searching the net, street food seems all Asian, French maybe only on restaurants that cater to westerns. Is this so ?
Thank you

Yes that is correct. You can find French restaurant in foreigner wards but pretty expensive actually. Else street food is actually 100% asian food which is a bit logical due to price comparison between imported products and local products.

Loicfarge thanks again. Y've been very helpful thanks.

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