Experiences Involving Food in Ho Chi Minh City
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
What are some of the basic principles?
Your guest’s health and safety should always come first. For example, here’s what host Alissa recommends: “I always make sure that my kitchen is spic and span, that I only use fresh ingredients and that I tell my guests about the ingredients I use. I also ask my guests in advance about any food allergies they may have and religious or philosophical codes that I need to keep in mind when I prepare a meal to share with them."
It would also be a good idea to take your guests to (or otherwise serve them food from) reputable restaurants, or reputable professional caterers who keep clean facilities and use fresh ingredients.
My Experience will involve serving food to guests at home for commercial sale. Am I likely to be considered a catering service establishment? Do I need any licence or certification?
If your Experience involves you serving meals at home for commercial sale (i.e. you receive a fee for serving food), your home may be considered a catering service establishment under the Law on Food Safety. A catering service establishment is defined as a “food-preparing facility, such as a shop or stall trading in ready-to-eat food and cooked food restaurants, a facility preparing ready-to-eat food portions, a canteen or a collective kitchen”. “Food” includes drinks and beverages.
You will not need a Certificate of Eligible Facilities for Food Safety if your food activity is carried out on a “household scale”. A certificate is required only if the food activity is carried out on a large scale. However, as there is no clear definition of “household scale”, you are encouraged to check with the People’s Committee of your district whether your activity would qualify for this exemption.
Here are examples of where you will not be considered to be operating a catering service establishment:
- I am a foodie and I take guests to my favourite local restaurant.
- I would like to take guests along to a festival and we will have food prepared by licensed providers.
Certificate of Eligible Facilities for Food Safety
If you do require a Certificate of Eligible Facilities for Food Safety, and your catering service establishment has a scale of less than 200 servings per time of serving, this may be obtained from the People’s Committee of your relevant district. (For example, for District 1, the application form for this Certificate may be obtained from and submitted to the People’s Committee of District 1.) More information is available here.
Note that you will also be required to obtain a Certificate of Eligible Facilities for Food Safety if you are operating as a company (please also see our business licensing information page) or running a restaurant (in which case you would be a large-scale catering service establishment).
Please note that if you operate your premises as a catering service establishment without the Certificate of Eligible Facilities for Food Safety when you do in fact need one, you may be liable to pay a fine of between VND 500,000 to 1,000,000 (approximately USD 22.50 to 45).
Apart from obtaining a Certificate of Eligible Facilities for Food Safety, are there any regulations or guidelines I must comply with?
Yes. As a catering service establishment (whether or not you require a Certificate of Eligible Facilities for Food Safety), the Law on Food Safety requires you to ensure that the following regulations are met:
- your kitchen should be arranged in a way to ensure unprocessed and processed food is not cross-contaminated;
- there is sufficient technically qualified water (as required by the National Technical Regulations) for food processing and trading;
- there are hygienic devices for collecting and containing garbage and waste;
- the sewers in the kitchen must be drained without any stagnancy;
- the eating rooms are airy, cool, sufficiently lit and kept clean, and have equipment to prevent insects and harmful animals;
- there are food preservation equipment, and toilets, waste and garbage are collected daily;
- there are separate utensils and containers for raw and cooked food;
- the safety and hygiene of cooking and processing utensils;
- tableware is being made of safe materials and kept clean and dry;
- compliance with regulations on health, knowledge and practices of persons directly engaged in food production and trading;
- use of safe food and food materials of clear origin, and retain food samples; and
- processing food safely and hygienically.
You should note that violations of any of the aforementioned regulations could result in a fine ranging from VND 300,000 to 10,000,000 (approximately USD 13.50 to 450) for each violation.
Is there anything else I should think about?
If your Experience will also involve serving or providing alcohol, you are encouraged to take a look at our information page on experiences involving alcohol. Similarly, if your Experience will combine food with another activity (for example, a guided tour), please take a look at our other information pages to work out if any other rules might apply to your activity.
If you are in any doubt, it is best to get in touch with your legal advisor.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
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