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Young Vietnamese offer free ‘banh mi’ to Da Nang’s needy

Young Vietnamese offer free ‘banh mi’ to Da Nang’s needy

Friday, January 15, 2021, 15:56 GMT+7
Young Vietnamese offer free ‘banh mi’ to Da Nang’s needy
Nguyen Minh Hoa gives a free 'banh mi' to a man in Da Nang City, Vietnam. Photo: Doan Nhan / Tuoi Tre

A banh mi stand run by a group of young Vietnamese has spent the past few months offering free bread to those in need in the central city of Da Nang.

'Banh mi yeu nuoc' (Patriotic banh mi) is located on Xo Viet Nghe Tinh Street in Hai Chau District, Da Nang, where a team of seven young people serve up delicious sandwiches to underprivileged residents.  

The team who runs 'Banh mi yeu nuoc' had been employees at a restaurant chain in nearby Hoi An City until COVID-19 forced the eatery to close is doors. 

The group then decided to use their experience in the food industry to launch a banh mi stall.

Over a period of several months, they were able to develop a Vietnamese flag-themed banh mi that is now the talk of the town.

According to 31-year-old Nguyen Minh Hoa, a member of the team, the banh mi’s red color comes from beetroot juice while the star’s yellow hue is derived from turmeric.  

The Banh mi yeu nuoc (Patriotic ‘banh mi’) stand on Xo Viet Nghe Tinh Street in Hai Chau District, Da Nang City, Vietnam. Photo: Doan Nhan / Tuoi Tre

The 'Banh mi yeu nuoc' (Patriotic banh mi) stand on Xo Viet Nghe Tinh Street in Hai Chau District, Da Nang City, Vietnam. Photo: Doan Nhan / Tuoi Tre

The Patriotic banh mi is stuffed with traditional fillings, such as paté, sliced pork, Vietnamese ham, sausage, dried shredded pork, cucumber, scallion, and pickled vegetables.

Though the sandwiches at 'Banh mi yeu nuoc' are on sale to those who can spare a few dong, Hoa and his friends offer the bread loaves to the city’s needy for free.

“We hope to boost people’s spirit and help them overcome difficulties brought about by the pandemic and recent natural disasters,” Hoa explained, referring to the rains and floods that hit the central region in October.

A man receives a free banh mi from Banh mi yeu nuoc in Da Nang City, Vietnam. Photo: Doan Nhan / Tuoi Tre

A man receives a free banh mi from the 'Banh mi yeu nuoc' stand in Da Nang City, Vietnam. Photo: Doan Nhan / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Van Nhien, 60, said that the banh mi stand has helped him greatly over the past few months.

In order to care for himself and his elderly mother, Nhien cycles dozens of kilometers each day collecting scrap throughout downtown Da Nang. 

He always makes sure to stop by 'Banh mi yeu nuoc' whenever he is in the neighborhood.

Nguyen Minh Hoa checks the banh mi at his Banh mi yeu nuoc stand in Da Nang City, Vietnam. Photo: Doan Nhan / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Minh Hoa checks the banh mi at his 'Banh mi yeu nuoc' stand in Da Nang City, Vietnam. Photo: Doan Nhan / Tuoi Tre

Aware of Nhien’s circumstances, Hoa always offers the man two free sandwiches – one for Nhien and one for his mother.

“The banh mi is delicious and has a unique taste. It helps me deal with hunger when I’m away from home,” Nhien elaborated.

Dang Thi Thu, a 57-year-old hawker, said she really appreciates the people who run the banh mi stall.

The banh mi resemble Vietnam’s national flag. Photo: Doan Nhan / Tuoi Tre

The banh mi resemble Vietnam’s national flag. Photo: Doan Nhan / Tuoi Tre

“I only earn about VND30,000 [US$1.3] a day, and the free banh mi is truly helpful to me,” Thu said.

Hoa and his friends have yet to gain any profit from their Patriotic sandwich stand, but are always happy to give away their free banh mi to local hawkers, lottery ticket sellers, scrap collectors, motorbike taxi drivers, and others in need.

A banh mi is being stuffed with various fillings at Banh mi yeu nuoc in Da Nang City, Vietnam. Photo: Doan Nhan / Tuoi Tre

A banh mi is being stuffed with various fillings at the 'Banh mi yeu nuoc' stand in Da Nang City, Vietnam. Photo: Doan Nhan / Tuoi Tre

Young people give free banh mi to a woman in Da Nang City, Vietnam. Photo: Doan Nhan / Tuoi Tre

Young people give free banh mi to a woman in Da Nang City, Vietnam. Photo: Doan Nhan / Tuoi Tre

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