HCM CITY — When asked to choose between eating out and at home, many people will choose the latter since they are assured of safe and nutritious food.
But this safety contention is only partially true. In fact, Vietnamese people still lack some good habits when eating at home, and often share one small bowl of dipping sauce.
When eating in a restaurant, each person is served a separate bowl of dipping sauce for each new dish.
This is considered an obvious thing to do to ensure food safety and hygiene. While guests admittedly do not know how restaurants cook food in the kitchen, the way they serve on the table is fairly uniform, especially the separate bowl of dipping sauce for each guest.
Restaurants serve each customer a separate bowl of dipping sauce to ensure food safety and hygiene
Linh Ngân (Phú Nhuận District, HCM City) said: “I have never had to share the small bowl of dipping sauce with anyone when eating at a restaurant. Having one’s own dipping sauce is the safest thing when eating outside because while it is acceptable to share a dipping sauce with my family, sharing with someone who is not too close is a bit scary.”
She admitted that when eating at home her family does not have separate bowls of dipping sauce for each person, and just puts fish sauce, soy sauce and chili or tomato sauce in a small bowl for sharing.
For her small family it is more convenient to share a sauce bowl, she claimed.
Sharing sauce bowl at home
Not only Linh Ngân’s but also many other Vietnamese families retain this habit of sharing foods, thinking it is safe.
Not only the way we choose ingredients and cook, but also the way we eat together decides if a home meal is completely hygienic, clean and free from infection, according to experts.
Doctor Lý Kiều Diễm, deputy head of department of internal medicine at Children’s Hospital 1, said: “Home meal is only really safe when we practise the habit of using our own things on the table. It is no coincidence that Koreans and Japanese never share dipping sauce. This habit potentially has a very high risk of infection, including Covid-19 infection.”
Doctor Lý kiều Diễm encourages families to use separate dipping sauce bowls for each person
Diễm said not only the novel coronavirus, but also viruses that cause infectious diseases such as influenza, mumps and HP bacteria, which causes stomach cancer, could attack healthy people from shared dipping sauce bowls.
The danger is that neither patients nor other people realise this threat and continue the habit of sharing sauce bowls, she said.
If unfortunately the whole family is infected by this mechanism, it is otherwise because this is something we can completely prevent by having a separate sauce bowl for each person. It may take time to clean, but will make us feel completely secure when eating at home, she added.
We do not feel secure when eating outside, and appreciate home-cooked meals. But if we do not get rid of bad habits such as sharing sauce bowls, home meals too carry risks just like eating outside.