Budget eateries offering each meal at a mere VND1,000 (US$0.04), VND5,000 ($21), or for free in Ho Chi Minh City are warming the hearts of low-income workers and disadvantaged people amid surging goods prices.
Situated at 317 Trung My Tay 13 Street in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City, the eatery run by Tran Thi Dung and her husband serves offal porridge for disabled and elderly people and lottery ticket vendors.
Tran Thi Dung recounted that three years ago, her husband was severely injured in a traffic accident so she took him to their hometown for care and treatment.
When he was in good health again, they returned to the city to do business.
The couple decided to open a low-cost eatery as a way to lend a helping hand to the underprivileged.
“We charge no money to customers who are disabled and sell lottery tickets, but some still pay VND5,000 for their meal as they don’t want to be indebted to anyone.
“Receiving their thanks for our acts makes me happy and indefatigable.”
Another charity venue at 61 Nguyen Chi Thanh Street in District 11 is serving vegetarian dishes at VND5,000 each.
The eatery owned by Tran Phuoc Hoa is a popular haunt of the disadvantaged people in the city.
Sometimes, philanthropists give financial support to the eatery, so it not only charges no money to poor people but also launches a ‘Buy One Get One Free’ program.
“I opened the vegan eatery in 2013 with an aim to share the hardship with the poor and encourage them to choose a vegan lifestyle,” Hoa said.
“High- or medium-income customers can pay the same price for their meal, while dishes are given to the poor free of charge.”
He strongly believed that he would receive luck and happiness in return for his kindness.
Nguyen Van Phuoc, who resides in Binh Tan District and has worked as a motorbike taxi driver for 30 years, said, “I have been a loyal customer of the VND5,000 vegan eatery for a long time.
“Dishes are changed every day.
“Having meals there helps me save a lot of money for supporting my family amid soaring prices.”
Sitting in Alley 221/10 on Phan Van Khoe Street in District 6, the VND1,000 porridge eatery called ‘Come Here,’ which is run by Thai Cong Minh and his wife, is also a charitable site for students and low-income laborers.
“I have sold porridge for 20 years,” Minh said.
“The eatery is open from 3:30 am to 8:00 pm each day.
“Each ladle of porridge costs VND1,000, while the prices of side dishes range from VND3,000 to VND5,000.
“The eatery mainly serves poor people and low-income workers such as lottery ticket sellers, so I will not spike the prices at this time to retain customers and partially support them amid this ‘price storm.’”
|Free or VND5,000 bowls of porridge warm the hearts of the disadvantaged in Ho Chi Minh City amid rising goods prices. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|Tran Phuoc Hoa’s VND5,000 vegan eatery, which offers takeout, is a popular haunt of poor people in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong/ Tuoi Tre|
|At budget eateries, customers with high or low income can pay the same price. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|Nguyen Van Phuoc, who lives in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City and has worked as a motorbike taxi driver for 30 years, is one of the VND5,000 vegan eatery’s loyal customers. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|The porridge eatery named ‘Come Here’ owned by Thai Cong Minh in District 6, Ho Chi Minh City charges VND1,000 per ladle amid the current ‘price storm.’ Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|Apart from porridge as the main dish, Thai Cong Minh’s eatery also serves side dishes such as radish stir-fried with pickles and fish sauce, dried fish, Vietnamese caramelized fish sauce dip, and salted eggs. Photo: Ngoc Phuong/ Tuoi Tre|