Phuong, of Phuong’s Transfers, picked me up at 7am on Saturday 10th April for our shopping trip in Dong Hoi. I was feeling much better but didn’t eat anything before the drive there (just in case) and our first stop was to buy Captain Caveman 2 new pairs of porter sandals for work. After being ill I desperately needed more basic provisions and some healthy food so I was looking forward to my trip with Phuong by myself. Our first stop was Co-op Mart which was empty and it took me only 20 minutes to get as much as I could from the list before coming out to a heavy rain shower. We loaded in the bags and went to out next shop, Tuan Gourmet Viet, the security guard helped me by sharing his umbrella and walking with me on the wet slippy marble as he could see my compression bandage on my knee. Since the last time I’d been in this shop the amount of western products had reduced so I didn’t buy as many things as I thought I might but I splashed out on a punnet of strawberries! Our final supermarket visit was the Vin Mart and I go here to get the remaining things the other shops don’t stock but it is generally a bit more expensive than the Co-op. Before 9.30am I had got everything except for popcorn from my list and we were on our way to Earth Cafe for breakfast. Phuong had already nipped off for some eel for his breakfast but did come to join me for a coffee. Mo, the owner, was busy making sure my order was completed because I had decided to order a few dishes from her takeaway menu to help me get back to full health, as well as having the udon soup at the cafe. It had been a very successful shopping trip where I had learned I could be quicker than Captain Caveman and that although the Vincom shopping centre didn’t open until 9am the VinMart supermarket opens at 8am and there is a lift to the first floor. The rain continued to be pretty heavy on the drive back to Phong Nha and when we got back Phuong brought a lot of the shopping in for me.

For my lunch I ate the mushroom vegan burger from Earth cafe, still warm, and it was really good. Then I had a rest before doing a few tasks and eating some peanut M&Ms. For dinner I had more of my Earth cafe takeaway meals with the vegan fresh spring rolls and peanut sauce which are one of my favourites. I’d really enjoyed today, I was out of the woods with being sickly and had a fridge full of lovely, healthy food.

As I had been to 3 supermarkets and bought quite a lot of shopping, I decided to compile a list of my items and the costs. I also made a list of all the takeaway vegan meals I bought at Earth Cafe and their prices too. For info 32,000vnd is equal to £1 and all prices are in Vietnamese Dong.

Co-op Mart
• Carrots 8,352
• Washing up liquid 23,000
• Pringles (sour cream) 29,000
• Pringles (original) 32,200
• Laughing Cow cheese triangles 32,600
• Peanut M&Ms 39,600
• Dragon Fruit 39,859
• Sweetcorn 40,200



Tuan Viet Gourmet
• Tissues 15,000
• Diet coke 18,000
• Gluten free stock cubes 22,000
• Coconut cream 26,000
• Pasta 37,000
• Mushroom pasta sauce 65,000
• Butter 73,000
• Gluten free crackers 105,000
• Gluten free crispbread 105,000
• Strawberries 160,000

VinMart
• Notebook 8,900
• Baguette 9,000
• Bananas 21,800
• Crisps 22,000
• Mushrooms 35,500
• Salami 38,300
• Red peppers 45,000
• Mouthwash 58,500
• Grapes 68,000
• Apples 102,900

Earth Cafe
• Vegan tofu rolls 35,000
• Fried spring rolls 40,000
• Pumpkin soup 45,000
• Pineapple fried rice 45,000
• Vegan spaghetti 50,000
• Braised root vegetables 50,000
• Vegan Burger 50,000
• Tempeh and green banana 70,000

There were no dates or alcohol bought this week and so I got quite a few things, including the transport, for around 2.5 million vnd (£80). Except for the apples, grapes and strawberries (always expensive in Vietnam) was there anything which surprised you?

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