Cupping – Vietnamese style

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Cooked Rice vermicelli

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Today I went to my favourite District 5 lunch venue. It’s a tiny cafe hidden amongst a bunch of other eateries, hepatitis fruit stalls and three floors of clothing and accessory stalls in a very large market walking distance from my campus.

The food here is very cheap and delicious. I pay on average 35000 VND for a tasty, healing filling rice vermicelli noodle and meat dish with coffee or lemon soda. It’s a little more for a small lobster. Do your maths and you’ll see it’s around USD2.00 for most dishes, store and about USD3.00 for the lobster dish plus drink.

I like the people here. They are always smiling and friendly, as are the denizens nearby who like to watch me eat and wave occasionally.

Today I was lucky enough to witness a typical cupping session performed on the guy who runs the cafe. It’s nothing like how I remember it back at home. There it’s careful, meticulous, and you only get about half a dozen cups I think. Here it’s manic and all-inclusive.  I didn’t get video of the next step, but once the cupping is finished she starts to pinch his face quite firmly, leaving very strong blood marks under the skin. He tells me he feels great and his headache is gone.  I believe him, but like a few other onlookers I still won’t be partaking in this activity next time.


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