A wholesale market in Ho Chi Minh City is selling unidentified additives that turns water into tasty broth and fruit juice in seconds.
The additives are sold without labels at Kim Bien Market in the city's District 5. They have several flavors including orange, lime, grape, strawberry, coffee, chocolate, beef and seafood.
An unnamed vendor told customers on December 16 that the additives are "foreign-made and safe" but refused to say which country it came from, news website VnExpress reported.
A beef additive was also being sold to pho (rice noodle soup) shops.
A vendor said the additive makes delicious and tasty broth and it is much cheaper than traditional ways for making broth, like stewing bones.
One kilogram of the beef additive costs less than US$20 and it can be used for around a thousand liters of water.
Hai, who used to help at an additive shop at the market, said best sellers at the shop are additives for beef meatballs, fish balls and fruit juices, bought by food shops or food processors.
"Without using the additives, the profit will not be so high and the food will not be as tasty to attract customers," he said.
Luu Thi Kim Nhung, senior manager of Kim Bien Market, told the news website that the additive vendors have been operating for more than ten years under the management of local authorities, not the market managers.
Figures from HCMC Food Safety and Hygiene Department show that the number of food poisoning victims in 2011 increased to 848 from 734 the previous year.