Russian Travel Blogger Shares Vietnam’s Many Surprises

A Russian travel blogger is uncovering Vietnam's most extraordinary treasures via TikTok.

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Aside from the beautiful scenery and delicious traditional food, Vietnam also impresses foreign travelers with its interesting and amazing culture that no other places have.

Sonya Firsova, a Russian female model, and famous TikToker have posted a series of videos about the normal yet extraordinary things that Vietnamese people do that make her feel astonished. To her, Vietnam not only has a unique street food cuisine but also the generosity of people living here never ceases to amaze the young travel blogger.

Glass cabinet with giant crocodile-shaped loaves of bread

Photo: Thanh Nien
Photo: Thanh Nien

During her time visiting Vietnam, the most impressive thing to Sonya Firsova is the giant loaves of bread with crocodiles–shaped look inside a glass cabinet, which each loaf weighing about 1,5 kg. Not only was she stunned by the creativity of the bakers, but also felt satisfied with the delicious taste of the bread.

Crocodile bread’s main ingredient is wheat flour, and it takes about 20 times more flour to make than a regular loaf. Specifically, it takes up to 2kg of flour to shape, but when baked, the weight is only about 1.5 kg.

Photo: Sonya Firsova
Photo: Sonya Firsova

It takes a lot of time to make one loaf, with many complicated steps such as shaping, assembling legs; incubating the dough for 1-2 hours to expand; scale carving; put it in the oven for more than 30 minutes before it comes out; sprinkle with sesame seeds, and brush with a layer of fragrant durian butter.

Eat fruit dipped in salt and chili

Photo: Sonya Firsova
Photo: Sonya Firsova

Thanks to its tropical weather, Vietnam has many kinds of fresh fruits that are displayed on every corner of the streets and in supermarkets. But what makes Sonya surprised the most is the fruits are eaten by dipping them into a mix of salt and chili. Meanwhile, in her hometown and other countries that she has traveled to, fruits are washed and cut into small pieces to eat, or make with other dishes.

Photo: Thanh Riviu
Photo: Thanh Riviu

Buy a cup of coffee and get free iced tea

Photo: Sonya Firsova
Photo: Sonya Firsova

Vietnam is one of the countries with the largest coffee producers in the world, and Vietnamese coffee has been familiar to many foreign tourists for a long time. Besides black coffee and milk coffee, there is also egg coffee with a special fatty and aromatic flavor that will make you fall in love at the first sip. Due to the strong and bitter taste, it is usually accompanied by a glass of cool iced tea.

The coconut is on the ground and costs only a few thousand dong

Photo: Sonya Firsova
Photo: Sonya Firsova

The prices of Vietnamese food are generally cheap, but Sonya Firsova is still “overwhelmed” because of how affordable the products here are. While a coconut in Russia is super expensive, you can buy one with just a few thousand dongs in this country. However, what makes her surprised is that all the coconuts are placed on the ground instead of being displayed in a stall.

Sidewalk food stalls with very small chairs

Photo: Sonya Firsova
Photo: Sonya Firsova

Most of the tourists coming to Vietnam enjoy their time eating the delicious food sold on the street. However, Sonya was quite amazed when everyone was sitting on very small plastic chairs without backs, and still feel comfortable.

Woman carrying Quang Ganh (two baskets hung from either end of a bamboo bole) on her shoulders

The image of a woman with two baskets hung from either end of a bamboo pole on her shoulders has been familiar in Vietnamese people’s minds for decades, but to Sonya Firsova, this is very extraordinary. She could not hide her surprise and amazement when she saw the woman carry the heavy Quang Ganh with the strength of her body walking swiftly under the sun and heat.

Photo: Sonya Firsova
Photo: Sonya Firsova

There are also some other things that Sonya Firsova find strange when coming to Vietnam, such as Vietnamese sandwiches wrapped in pieces of newspaper, or restaurants with smoky grills right next to a busy road.

Charlotte Pho