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Senior Couple’s Free Vegan Restaurant Venture in Ho Chi Minh City

(Homeland) – Although they are over 70 years old, the elderly couple still wake up early in the morning to prepare charitable meals for those in difficult circumstances.Around 7 o’clock every morning, the zero-cost vegetarian restaurant owned by Grandma My in Ho Chi Minh City is bustling with activity. Many young people are busy preparing zero-cost meals to give to others. Just a small stainless steel table set in front of the house, and this city seems so full of love.

“”””Continuing because people still believe in me””””

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Mrs. Nguyen Thi My, who is over 70 years old, still wakes up at 4 in the morning every day to prepare vegetarian meals. Because of her age, she is affectionately called Grandma My by everyone.Despite having many young volunteers to help, Grandma My still handles the cooking herself. She emphasizes that she is a vegetarian, so she pays great attention to the taste of the food. “”””I eat in a certain way, and I hope others can enjoy it as well,”””” she shares.
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The zero-cost vegetarian restaurant has been maintained for more than 2 years. Before that, Grandma My and her husband, Mr. Tran Van Hong (over 80 years old), had a shop selling vegetarian banh khot and banh xeo. During the pandemic, they stopped selling and switched to preparing free vegetarian meals to help others. During that time, Grandma My and Mr. Hong could make more than 600 meals a day.Even though the ingredients for cooking, such as vegetables, were expensive and scarce during that time, the small vegetarian restaurant still managed to package individual meal boxes to give to people. After the pandemic, now they only need to maintain a quantity of 250 – 300 meal boxes per day to serve the people in Binh Thanh District.The cooking ingredients, some are bought by Grandma herself, and some are contributed by people from all over the country who love this small vegetarian restaurant. Grandma is very moved by this. She says, “”””I ask for anything, and people give it to me, from food boxes to forks and chopsticks. Even a little child contributed food boxes to me, so I try to maintain this restaurant until now.””””
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Grandma My shares that the financial burdens such as rent, electricity, water, gas, etc., are always heavy on her shoulders. She will only stop when she can’t do it anymore, but she has never thought about giving up. “”””Every month, I have to manage more than 19 million VND for rent, electricity, water, and many other things. So I don’t think anyone can take over this restaurant. I don’t even know how long I can keep it going. Sometimes it might be until Tet, or it might be tomorrow,”””” Grandma sadly recounts.””””“”””Now, to cover the additional expenses of maintaining the zero-cost vegetarian restaurant, Grandma also takes orders for vegetarian dishes like vegetarian noodles and vegetarian vermicelli if anyone is interested. Grandma only hopes that in the future, if people have compassion, they will order vegetarian dishes from her to provide additional funding to sustain this restaurant.

The Fragrant Heart of Saigonese People

Grandma My’s vegetarian meals are completely gone within just an hour. Around 8:30 am, only a few servings of rice are left. Here, people can take as many portions as they want, without any limitations.Mr. Hong carefully packages each meal box and shares, “”””Here, we don’t judge anyone. Sometimes people come when they are in need.”””” It’s this open-heartedness that makes everyone who comes to get a meal leave with a smile.
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Mr. Nguyen Chinh Vien, a security guard nearby, said he has been eating at this small restaurant for 2-3 years now. “”””The food is delicious, and the hearts of the elderly couple are even more fragrant. Due to my age and physical condition, I can’t prepare meals, so thanks to this restaurant, I and others can have something to eat.”””” Ms. Kim Khanh, who has been helping the elderly couple for over a year, shares, “”””I always say ‘Enjoy your meal’ and ‘Have a good morning’ to make people feel appreciated when they come to eat.””””The cheerful atmosphere here motivates the young volunteers who come to help with the restaurant. Everyone works happily and efficiently. Every day, many volunteers take turns assisting Grandma and Grandpa.Some people come as early as 4 am to help Grandma cook before returning to their own work. Some arrive around 7 am to assist Ms. Kim Khanh in packaging food, and others come in the afternoon to peel vegetables and prepare food for the next day. There are always young people with generous hearts ready to help inside Grandma and Grandpa’s house.(Source:

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