At restaurants and cafes, iced green or jasmine tea is usually free once you order something.
Napkins aren’t free
“At restaurants and cafes, iced green or jasmine tea is usually free once you order something. Wet napkins wrapped in plastic (which are sometimes refrigerated), however, are not free. They usually cost VND2,000 (12 cents) or VND3,000 (18 cents) per napkin and the charge will be added to your bill ... So when you ask for the bill and the waiter stands there staring at the mess on the table for a bit, he or she is counting the number of napkins you’ve used.”
The most important Vietnamese phrase
“In my (very food-centric) opinion, em oi is the most important Vietnamese phrase. This is Vietnamese for ‘hey you’ and it’s what’s needed to summon waiters and waitresses who may be deeply involved in a conversation about the latest Vietnam Idol and so unaware that you need another round of beers or another plate of soft-shelled crab.
“The em in em oi means younger brother or sister, so if you are trying to catch the attention of a server who’s older than you, you should use anh oi (hey older brother) or chi oi (hey older sister). The oi part of em oi is a lot more polite than plain old ‘hey’ in English.”
Don’t create bad luck
“Standing outside a shop or stall, while looking at the stock, talking about it and taking photos and not buying anything is thought to generate bad luck for the vendors. To banish this bad luck, the stallholders have to go to the market and buy some lucky papers to burn. Try not to create bad luck in this manner, especially for small stallholders outside of the main tourist centres.”