The Buddhist celebration of Vu Lan falls on the seventh full moon of the lunar calendar or today, and is a time for Vietnamese to express filial piety and appreciation to their parents. Many restaurants in HCMC take the opportunity of this great festival to prepare vegetarian food for Buddhists and non- Buddhists to enjoy a vegetarian buffet dinner with their families.
In accordance with the spirit of the festival, Van Canh Restaurant puts on daily buffet dinner the food theme of “Gratitude to Parents” until September 14 this year after it attracted a more-than-expected number of diners in previous years. The choices of some 63 Vietnamese vegetarian dishes at the restaurant under the Que Huong hotel chain are Vietnamese specialties like goi cuon (rolls of tofu and vegetables), cha gio (spring rolls), rice pancakes, curried tofu shrimp, beef and goat, hot pots in various types, dried rice, various types of che (sweet soup) and many more.
The buffet with drinks is VND 72,000 for adults and VND 39,000 for under-12-year-olds. The restaurant in downtown Ho Chi Minh City also prepares a-la-carte lunch of nearly 70 vegetarian dishes. The prices range from VND 2,000 to VND 30,000 each from Friday to Sunday and on September 13 and 14.
“We expect that Van Canh will attract nearly 10,000 diners to the fifth-year buffet and a-la-carte lunch from August 13 to September 14,” Nguyen Kien Tri, deputy marketing director of Que Huong hotel chain, told the Daily yesterday. Tri added the annual “Great Vegetarian Dishes of Saigon” buffet at Van Canh lured 3,000 diners in 2000, 4,000 in 2001, 6,000 in 2002 and 8,500 last year.
The Mangostine inside the Bong Sen Hotel is another restaurant in downtown HCMC where locals and expatriates can find vegetarian food until September 13. Placed in bamboo baskets, buffet lunch and dinner comprise sausages, fresh bamboo shoots and mixed vegetables, and Guangdong fried mushroom and rice, and a variety of Vietnamese, Chinese and Spanish vegetarian dishes.
This is the first vegetarian buffet at the Mangostine as the eatery has this year replaced its “Buffet Ganh” where ready-to-eat dishes were laid on bamboo baskets instead of serving counters in many restaurants in hotels in HCMC. The price of vegetarian buffet there is VND 53,000 for lunch and VND 87,000 for dinner.
Diners can find vegetarian food at eateries not only in downtown HCMC but also elsewhere in this city. In District 5, A Dong Tuu Lau Restaurant has a daily buffet dinner of more than 30 Vietnamese and Chinese vegetarian dishes until September 14. The highlights are spring rolls, orchids fried with ginger, fried taro cakes, curried tofu beef and more.
What attracts diners to the restaurant on Hai Thuong Lang Ong Street is that dishes are prepared on stalls which look like hand-carts that sell food and are commonly seen in that district. The ambience of the restaurant is also warmed by red-lit lanterns. The price is VND 48,000 for adults and VND 28,000 for children.
VNA - (01/09/2004)