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Veggie eateries boom in Vu Lan

Update: August, 17/2016 - 10:09
Consumption of vegetarian food significantly increases just before and on the full-moon day of the seventh month on the lunar calendar.— Photo vietnamnet.vn

HCM CITY — Consumption of vegetarian food significantly increases just before and on the full-moon day of the seventh month on the lunar calendar.

“Vegetarian food is available everywhere now,” Trần Thị Tính, a customer in HCM City, said, adding that her family especially enjoys the non-meat dishes that are less salty.

They have complete vegetarian meals for two days each month, one on the first and the full-moon or 15th day on the lunar calendar.

Most people choose vegetarian food because of either religious or health reasons.

When says it is easy to choose food at the market and cook meals at home for her family. 

For the seventh month on the lunar calendar, known as Vu Lan month, her family will eat vegetarian dishes for the entire month.

Besides fresh food like vegetables, fruit and mushrooms, there are more products like fake instant meat porridge, chicken porridge and processed meat. Fake beef, fish, pork, eggs and pork-pies sell for around VNĐ20,000 (US$1) for 200 grams.

The companies Âu Lạc, Vissan, SG Food, Cầu Tre, Xuân Hồng, Ngọc Liên and Song Hương are famous local brands for vegetarian food.

The local vegetarian food industry is developing and dominating the domestic market thank to hygiene and quality. Their frozen, dried, instant, spiced and canned products include salted shredded mushrooms, vegetarian fake codfish with tomato sauce, and canned fruit at price of VNĐ20,000 – 55,000.

Along with local products, imported goods are plentiful with vegetarian duck and pork chicken from Malaysia, seaweed and spice from South Korea and Japan, and rice cakes, cereal powder and nutritious fruit juice from the US. Imported products are more expensive, about VNĐ100,000 – 500,000.

“This month is the peak season for vegetarian food and our turnover for this kind of product is sharply increasing,” Hố Quốc Nguyên, communication director of Big C said.

Instant vegetarian soft noodles, vermicelli and phở are the most popular product at Big C, following spices and vegetarian canned foods at stable prices.

Lotte Mart has prepared well for Vu Lan month with a huge quantity of vegetarian food.

Along with processed, dried and fresh food for customers who cook themselves, Lotte Mart has also provided cooked vegetarian food for their customers.

“Since early this month (of the lunar calendar), our shop’s turnover has increased 50 per cent,” a staff at the AL vegetarian food shop in District 1 said.

Hồng, a trader in Bình Triệu market in Thủ Đức District revealed that this month, she had ordered double the vegetarian food in comparison with other months.

Right now, she can sell around VNĐ1 million  of vegetarian food each day. Mushrooms and tofu are considered the most popular fresh vegetarian foods.

One tofu-making shop in Thủ Đức District reported that the shop now can sell 50 kg of tofu each day, double that of normal days. The quantity might increase soon.

“Vegetarianism is not only practised because of religion but also for health. So after Vu Lan month, vegetarian food will continue to be consumed more,” a representative of one supermarket said.

Đặng Huấn, marketing manager of Bồ Đề Tâm vegetarian restaurant chains in Hà Nội, said the number of customers visited his restaurants increased rapidly, especially during the Vu Lan month.

“We predicted about 4,000 customers will visit our restaurants during the month, about 1,000 higher than that of the same month last year,” said Huấn.

There are many vegetarian restaurants operating in Việt Nam but not all of them have understood the value of vegetarian food and culture as well. To compete with other restaurants, Huấn said Bồ Đề Tâm had focused on the food’s quality and diversification. Besides its farms of safe vegetables and mushrooms in Hà Nội’s Sơn Tây town, the restaurants also import quality food from foreign countries.

“Modern life is trending towards vegetarian food. I am sure that the food will deeply enter into every family because of people’s health and environmental protection,” said Huấn.

Popular Vegetarian restaurants

Restaurants and hotels along with supermarkets and markets have introduced new vegetarian buffets, from budget to high quality, to serve customers during the season.

The Long Triều restaurant in the Reverie Saigon hotel on Nguyễn Huệ and Đồng Khởi streets has introduced a vegetarian menu with “royal” food at a price of VNĐ198,000 per dish without VAT and service fee.

The Ngân Đình restaurant in the Windsor Plaza hotel in District 5 has also launched a vegetarian menu for VNĐ68,000 each dish.

The Cỏ Nội in the Bông Sen hotel on Hai Bà Trưng Street in District 1 provides its vegetarian buffet with 40 different dishes each day. All dishes are made from natural raw materials. The prices are VNĐ149, 000 per customer for lunch and VNĐ169,000 for dinner.

Smaller restaurants in the city are offering a variety of dishes, some of them up to 15 different dishes, for VNĐ15,000 - VNĐ50,000 per dish. —VNS

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