03.06.2021, 11:46

Cooking to help fight against COVID-19 in Ho Chi Minh City

Despite his own business running into trouble because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a man who owns a restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City still wants to help the community in the battle against the pathogen.

Just one month after opening, Pham Minh Hien’s restaurant was struck by the epidemic.

The restaurant is based on Le Duc Tho Street, Go Vap District, which is now the hotbed of the fourth wave of infections in the southern city.

It is just allowed to sell takeaway food under the guidelines from city authorities.

Confronting a lot of challenges, Hien still felt he could lend his hand to the community with his own resources.

Yen Anh and Pham Minh Hien carefully prepare each donated meal. Photo: Cong Trieu / Tuoi Tre

On May 29, the restaurant became more energetic than normal because all the staff focused on preparing 101 meals instead of a small quantity as usual during the pandemic.

They called them '101 special orders' for fun as those would be donated to the staff in the local task force fighting against COVID-19.

More than one hundred meals were made, not for sale but to be gifted to people who were working around the clock to curb the coronavirus in various parts of Go Vap.

While one person cleaned vegetables, another prepared pork bologna, and another cooked the rice.

Each of them concentrated on their own tasks and it would take them less time to complete over 100 meals.

Apart from 20 kilograms of pork bologna donated by Yen Anh, a resident of Go Vap, Hien chose to buy the rest of the ingredients for the meals by himself.

Each meal had cooked rice, stewed pork bologna, fried chayote vegetables, and a meat soup.

All the dishes were cooked in the characteristic style of the restaurant.

“I won’t cook tomorrow as there is another group that will take over the task," said Hien.

"But the day after tomorrow, I will cook free meals again,” said Hien.

“In addition to rice, I would also prepare fruit juice to serve the health workers and functional forces."

Tables and chairs must be stacked neatly as Pham Minh Hien’s restaurant just sells takeout during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Cong Trieu / Tuoi Tre

Hien’s restaurant just launched a month before all the food services were required to switch to takeaway. Hien had to lay off more than 70 percent of his staff.

Despite various hardships, according to Hien, he would maintain the free meals as long as he has enough strength and resources.

“There are several obstacles after four waves of the pandemic, of course, but everyone has to fight against the difficulty too,” said Hien.

“I try my best to help others when I am able to, in the hope that the pandemic would fizzle out eventually, so my business would be able to be back to normal.

“My customers are also from the community."

Stewed pork bologna is the main dish in a meal Pham Minh Hien prepares for the staff working on the front line against the pandemic in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Cong Trieu / Tuoi Tre

Yen Anh, 33, a resident of Go Vap District, prepares pork bologna she contributed to Pham Minh Hien’s initiative of making free meals for frontline workers. Photo: Cong Trieu / Tuoi Tre

Ready-to-eat meals are received by a police officer working in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Cong Trieu / Tuoi Tre

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Kim Thoa - Cong Trieu / Tuoi Tre News