Buying superfoods in Saigon is actually quite easy if you know where to look.
I'll start with the obvious - nuts. Whether its almonds, cashew or pistachio, you can get em here for a price. I usually just pop into Ben Thanh market every couple of weeks to stock up.
Very roughly, they are 20-30,000 per 100 grams depending on which type you buy.
You can also buy Brazil nuts from Veggies, natures best source of selenium.
The bag of red berries in the picture is Goji Berries (dried), called 'Ki Tu'. These should be available in your local Chinese medicine shop, 15,000 VND per 100 gram.
The liquid in the La Vie bottle is Coconut Oil. The health benefits of coconut oil are amazing. Just check out the Coconut Research Center or read this book. My father-in-law usually keeps us supplied, making the oil on his fish farm in Ben Tre. If I'm short there is a stall in the wet market at Ben Thanh that sells everything coconut, including the oil - 100,000 dong for 500 grams. Not withstanding the oil, coconuts are 9,000 dong from the supermarket or cheaper if you catch the guy on the bicycle! The meat, milk and water of the coconut are also great foods - which is why I shake my head in disbelief at people who insist in drinking 'diet coke' poison everywhere they go. Yes, that is some people's idea of nutrition, drinking 'diet' soda without even knowing what's in it! Sorry, touched a nerve there.
Also in the picture are some standard fish oil supplements and also a CoQ10 supplement. These can be picked up at most any pharmacy around town - and definitely the larger ones (on Hai Ba Trung for example). Supplement stocks seem to be standard.
Another superfood I've recently investigated is Chlorella, an algae extract and widely considered one of the most powerful supplements you can take. Hard to find in Saigon! We did find some online but the supplier had already sold out by the time we contacted her. What is easy to come by however is Spirulina, another kind of algae also associated with powerful health benefits - that's the jar with Japanese writing on. 300,000 VND for 120 tablets. It's 60% vegetable protein, rich in B vitamins especially B12, has a host of anti-oxidants and a lot more.
Available in any supermarket in Saigon are ginger and garlic, those most basic of ingrediants that are also well known as being superfoods - so why not eat loads of them! Finding ways to include them raw in your diet is the challenging part as cooking almost always destroys the benefits. Also easily found on the shelf is Aloe Vera, another wonder-food, and in the right season, Avacadoes. So good! Organik is a company with a farm based in the dalat area and with a shop on Thao Dien in An Phu. They also deliver, and they stock plenty of organic vegetables and herbs along with the 'Eden' range of organic products. Free range eggs are found in Co-Op mart and everywhere else.
On my list is raw milk. I know Chi's relatives buy it in Cu Chi from a local farm but as far as I know it is unavailable in Saigon - everything is pasteurised...so if anyone has any leads, pls leave a comment!
Although Saigon has a wonderful eating scene and it is cheap, there are a number of problems. One is MSG, that excitotoxin that is used so much in cooking here. Fish sauce contains MSG, as does soy sauce. Other problems include oversalting which is constant. BBQs are great once in a while, but blackened meat from the grill is one of the most potent carcinogenics around! So yeah, just once in a while please. Quality of produce is another think you can never be sure about, along with quality of meat. We already know that GMO animal feed is being used in Vietnam and is therefore in our food chain already. Unless you can find beef that is from grass fed cows only....then we are talking about the good stuff. Unfortunatlely, and thanks to that wolf in sheeps clothing, the monstrosity that is the WTO, GMO is going to be well and truly established in Vietnam soon.