The charity noodle shop, located at 16A Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street in the district, opens its doors from 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm on weekdays.

Act of Kindness

When the reporters from Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper visited the noodle shop in early November, it was clear that Cao Thi Hoa, a 62-year-old resident of the district, was the busiest person there.

Hoa used to run a food stall, but now she volunteers to cook for the less fortunate. She finds joy in helping others.

Many people, including gig workers, sanitation workers, and lottery vendors, flock to the small shop to enjoy a bowl of noodles that Hoa prepares. Some are so hungry that they ask for a second serving.

Hoa is not alone in her efforts. Dozens of volunteers take turns preparing ingredients, washing dishes, and clearing tables. It is hard work, but their spirits remain high because they find joy in helping others.

One of Hoa’s customers that night was Le Nho Yen, a 65-year-old lottery vendor from Quang Nam Province.

“A bowl of noodles like this usually costs between VND35,000 [US$1.44] and VND40,000 [$1.64],” Yen said.

Le Nho Yen enjoys a bowl of noodles at a charity noodle shop on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, November 2023. Photo: Thuy Duong / Tuoi Tre

Yen shared that before he found the noodle shop, he could only afford a single bundle of sticky rice for VND10,000 ($0.41) after a long day of selling lottery tickets.

He expressed his gratitude to the people who run the shop and said, “There are still many good people in the world.”

Hai, a 28-year-old deliveryman for Shopee, an e-commerce platform, was also at the shop that night.

“The shop brings warmth and positive thoughts to workers like me,” Hai said.

“I will recommend it to others in need.”

He added that he was in a tough situation that night and would have preferred to leave the opportunity for those who were less fortunate.

The person behind this free noodle shop said that the idea came to him after seeing weary and downtrodden individuals eating meager meals at bus stops at night.

“Anyone facing tough times or in need of warmth is welcome here,” said the anonymous shop owner.

Ho Tien Huy, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of Da Kao Ward in District 1, praised the shop as a charitable act to help those in need.

“The ward will provide full support,” Huy stated.