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Feeding the needy in southern Vietnam

Feeding the needy in southern Vietnam

Thursday, November 30, 2023, 10:10 GMT+7
Feeding the needy in southern Vietnam
Than vegetarian eatery in Cao Lanh City, Dong Thap Province, southern Vietnam offers free meals to guests once per month. Photo: Dang Tuyet / Tuoi Tre

A vegan buffet run by a 29-year-old in Cao Lanh City, Dong Thap Province, southern Vietnam provides hundreds of free meals on the 16th day of every lunar month.

Bui Hoai Phuong has owned Than Thien, literally translated as 'Friendly', Vegan Buffet for just over a year. 

Though Phuong has been fortunate enough to grow the restaurant into a profitable business, he hasn’t let success get to his head.

Rather than pocket his profits, he puts a portion of his cash towards treating hundreds of laborers, students, and people in need to a free buffet once a month. 

In the four months since he launched the free buffet, he has given away over 2,000 meals.

By 9:00 am on Tuesday, November 28, which coincided with the 16th day of the 10th lunar month, Than Thien had already stocked its buffet with 15 free vegan dishes for lottery ticket vendors, students and low-income laborers. 

The restaurant restocked its buffet and rice cookers until 2:00 pm.

Aside from offering dine-in at its free buffet, the restaurant also lets visitors take to-go boxes, free-of-charge.

Huynh Thi Banh, a resident of Cao Lanh’s Ward 6, said she took two boxes of vegan food with her so she could eat breakfast and lunch.

“I am a lottery ticket vendor and often have meals here. I take free meals every month.

"The dishes are delicious. The restaurant often feeds me for free when I have trouble selling lottery tickets,” Banh said.

Guests can enjoy meals at the eatery or take their food to-go. Photo: Dang Tuyet / Tuoi Tre
Guests can enjoy meals at the eatery or take their food to-go. Photo: Dang Tuyet / Tuoi Tre

Tran Van Tu, a lottery ticket vendor and resident of Cho Moi District in nearby An Giang Province, praised the quality of food at Than Thien and thanked the eatery for the free meals it provides.

The eatery owner Phuong has been a vegetarian since he was young and has a passion for cooking.

After graduating from a university, he worked a variety of jobs before opening Than Thien.

“Since the seventh month of this lunar year, the eatery has offered free meals [on the 16th day of the lunar month]. We give away about 700 vegan servings each time.

“I hope to begin offering free meals twice per month. Though the prices of rice and gas have increased, I try to keep my prices unchanged,” Phuong shared.

Bui Hoai Phuong, the owner and chef at Than Thien vegetarian eatery. Photo: Dang Tuyet / Tuoi Tre
Bui Hoai Phuong, the owner and chef at Than Thien vegetarian eatery. Photo: Dang Tuyet / Tuoi Tre
A group of students enjoy a free vegan meal. Photo: Dang Tuyet / Tuoi Tre
A group of students enjoy a free vegan meal. Photo: Dang Tuyet / Tuoi Tre
Vegan at Thanh Thien. Photo: Dang Tuyet / Tuoi Tre
Vegan at Than Thien. Photo: Dang Tuyet / Tuoi Tre

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Thanh Ha - Dang Tuyet / Tuoi Tre News

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