|Owners of the "Come here" porridge pavement restaurant in District 6, HCM City, help poor people to have good meals. Photo: plo.vn
HCM CITY — "Come here" porridge pavement restaurant in District 6, HCM City, has helped poor workers and students have warm meals with a bowl of hot porridge priced at VNĐ1,000 (about 4 cents) for nearly 20 years.
The porridge pavement restaurant’s owner is Thái Công Minh, 66, and his wife, Nguyễn Thị Kim Phượng.
For nearly 20 years, while maintaining the job of selling "super cheap" porridge to workers and students, the married couple has raised two daughters.
Previously, Minh's main job was as a bricklayer. The work was hard, and he didn't make much money.
When his wife gave birth to their second daughter, the family faced many difficulties. Minh's income was not enough to pay for the family’s life, so the couple decided to open a porridge restaurant to earn extra money.
At first, the restaurant was empty, there were days when porridge was not sold out, and his whole family had to eat porridge instead of rice.
But both Minh and his wife never thought of quitting and told each other to try their best to maintain the restaurant.
“How much hardship can be endured! Customers began to know our low-price porridge pavement restaurant, which got more crowded every day because the price was so cheap, but its taste liked by many customers,” Minh said.
When it first opened, the price for each bowl of white porridge was VNĐ500, but in 2012 the price increased to VNĐ1,000.
White porridge bowls were sold with accompanying spices and eggs.
Food, vegetables, and eggs were mainly purchased from the countryside for low prices and fresh quality.
The profit from the porridge restaurant was not much, but Minh said that he and his wife opened this low-price pavement restaurant because they wanted to help poor workers and students.
"In the past, because of difficult circumstances, we started to make money with a pavement restaurant. Today we maintain it to help many others in difficult situations," Minh said.
"Now my two daughters are grown up and can support their own lives.
"My wife and I just need the joy of living through the day with the greatest joy of being able to help those in difficult circumstances."
Minh's neighbour for 30 years, Nguyễn Thị Kiều Thanh, 60, said: “I am also a regular customer of the porridge restaurant. A bowl of hot porridge here is delicious and cheap. I enjoy it two or three times a week.”
Minh’s wife said: “I sell bowls of hot porridge mainly to poor workers and students, they eat well at a low price, so I'm pleased.”
“I will try to maintain the restaurant until my health cannot allow me to stand selling anymore, and then I will close it to relax.” VNS