HÀ NỘI — A zero đồng vegetarian restaurant opened by Hanoian Trần Cẩm Tuyến and her family on Lê Đức Thọ street has become a warm destination for poor people and those who like to be vegetarian.
At 10:30 in the morning, Đỗ Thị Thả, 64, a woman residing in Trần Bình, and her four grandchildren, go to Tuyến’s vegetarian restaurant to enjoy a free lunch.
Two boys, about 6-7 years old, two smaller girls, about 4-5 years old, all prefer to eat vegetarian dishes because at home their grandmother makes them vegetarian food for every dinner.
The children praised the delicious food and then ate, finishing their meals in a moment.
Vũ Văn Thống, 60, living at Dịch Vọng, Cầu Giấy District has been a vegetarian for 20 years. He said that he was the only one at home who is a vegetarian so he goes to the zero đồng vegetarian restaurant. He finds the food very delicious and diversified.
“Normally at home, I can only make one or two simple dishes. There are many delicious dishes here and I can meet many friends, so I’m very happy”, Thống said.
After finishing the meal, Thống thanked the owner and staff of the restaurant, and promised to give them money.
Owner Tuyến refused and pointed to the “zero đồng restaurant” sign. Instead, he should return next time with friends for more vegetarian food.
Knowing about the vegetarian restaurant, Phùng Văn Đắc, and his wife, both over 70, take the bus every day to the restaurant to help prepare the food.
Đắc said that he comes to help people so is very happy.
“The elders do not need much, just a place to work and meet friends. That is enough,” he said.
Every day, Đắc’s wife helps prepare vegetables, and Đắc arranges parking for guests. Since working at the restaurant, both felt much better.
Đắc said: “While working and listening to relaxing meditation music, we feel more peaceful and love life.”
Their children all support their parents doing charity. Seeing that they are healthy the children are all happy.
Trần Cẩm Tuyến, the restaurant’s owner, said that she just wants to spread charity so more people know about and come to the restaurant.
Tuyến said she wanted to open a free restaurant for poor people for a long time.
“When I go to the National Children’s Hospital to visit my daughter-in-law, who works as a doctor there, I see cancer-suffering children and I want to do some things to help them.”
The house in lane 7, Lê Đức Thọ St. was owned by Tuyến’s daughter. With the support of the daughter and family, Tuyến opened the zero đồng vegetarian restaurant.
Tuyến makes the menu every day. In the morning, she goes to the market to buy food.
The staff and chef of the restaurant are all volunteers, who heard about the opportunity on social media.
Many donors also sent foodstuffs to support the restaurant.
The current chef of the restaurant came from Quảng Ngãi Province, to work free of charge. There had been many employees who came to work as part-time.
Every day, the restaurant serves 200 free meals and is open for lunch Monday to Friday.
Funding to support the restaurant was provided by Tuyến’s daughter, Hoàng Kim Ngọc.
“Last week, we served 250 bowls of vegetarian Huế noodle soup. Guests praised it and said it was delicious – that makes us very happy,” Tuyến said.
“The most important thing is still the desire to spread the restaurant to more and more people. It is the greatest wish of us.” —VNS