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The second floor of the market was nothing special. In fact, we were quite disappointed.

What do you think of when you hear the words “Vietnamese Product”? Bad quality is one thing that may spring to mind. But that impression may come from what you experienced buying products in a typical market. It does not seem to apply to the newly opened Viet Nam Super Market on the north of the Bork Ko traffic lights on Monivong Blvd.

After hearing there is another supermarket in Phnom Penh, my friend and I were eager to see what it was like, so we rushed there after our evening class. Due to a traffic jam, it took us about half an hour to reach our destination.

The parking space for motorcycles, which is the pavement at the front part of the supermarket, can hold no more than 100 bikes. It looked a bit small compared with other supermarkets. At the door side stood four young ladies wearing Vietnamese dresses who were welcoming guests. The atmosphere was filled with chit-chat and Vietnamese music played on the ground floor. We were a bit doubtful about the welcoming ladies, but later found out there was an inauguration party on the top floor of the building.

After walking around the ground floor for a while, we had a hard time finding a restroom. There were no signs or symbols to show where the restroom was. Then we decided to look on the second floor. There was only one escalator going up. To my surprise, the restrooms were all set outside the building and there were no signs apart from one written on A4 paper stuck on the wall. We were told that a restroom was also available on the ground floor.

The second floor of the market was nothing special. In fact, we were quite disappointed because there were only about 20 stalls open for business, while a large proportion of the floor was shut and empty. Perhaps because it was new that people were still considering whether to rent the remaining stalls. But the place was no different from other supermarkets – shoes, clothes, bags and toys were all sold on the second floor.

Back on the ground floor, what really caught our attention was the multi-goods market. As its name suggests, most of the products were made in Vietnam, many of which were food and snacks such as cakes, chocolates, beef and various kinds of soft drinks. My friend and I walked row by row searching for something to eat. At the end of the fifth row, we ran into one of my favourites, durian cake (Banh Pia), which was made in Vietnam. I was please it was available there because I had bought that cake once at a Vietnamese Product Exhibition at Koh Pich. As it turned out, the cake sold in the supermarket was cheaper than the one at the exhibition.

We left the supermarket late in the evening with a package of durian cake. What I felt was unique about this market was that most of the staff were Vietnamese – I noticed they all spoke Vietnamese to each other –  and the products were all made in Vietnam.

To me, it was just a normal market. The three-storey building was not as big as other shopping malls and it lacks eating places and entertainment things such as games and karaoke where you can spend your time or arrange parties with friends. In addition, there were not many stalls selling good either. There were only a few clothes shops, which makes it hard to do some serious shopping. If you want to have fun with friends or a family gathering, Viet Nam Super Market is perhaps not the best option to consider.

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