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Humble Vietnamese diner becomes popular in Seoul

A Vietnamese diner-style restaurant, opened in South Korea's capital Seoul over a year ago, has become a big hit.

From its signboard and menu to plastic tables and chairs, the eatery looks uncannily like it is in Vietnam.

Humble Vietnamese diner, popular in Seoul, Vietnamese diner-style restaurant, big hit, plastic tables and chairs, Vietnamese cuisine

Hieu Tu restaurant in Yongsan District, Seoul, July 26, 2020.

Owner Nam Joon-young fell in love with Vietnamese cuisine when he visited Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Lat a few years ago. He wanted to serve those foods in his city and opened the restaurant.

Quan com binh dan Hieu Tu, as it is called in Vietnamese, has since become very popular, getting 400-500 customers a day. Quan com binh dan is an epithet that refers to a cheap restaurant popular among office and manual workers in Vietnam.

People typically queue up in front even before the restaurant opens to get a good seat. Dinner is the peak business hour. Some people come just to take photos.

Humble Vietnamese diner, popular in Seoul, Vietnamese diner-style restaurant, big hit, plastic tables and chairs, Vietnamese cuisine

Vietnamese dishes at the restaurant.

Customers can either sit in an air-conditioned room or outside in the yard or balcony on plastic or cane chairs. The interiors are adorned with Vietnamese-style posters, newspapers and leaflets.

The bestselling dishes are fried chicken in coconut, chicken pho (Vietnamese traditional noodle soup), fried pho, seafood vermicelli, grilled pork served with noodles and fish sauce, and fried spring rolls.

Some Vietnamese customers have told Nam Joon-young that the food tastes different from home but is very tasty since he uses many spices and herbs from Vietnam.

Humble Vietnamese diner, popular in Seoul, Vietnamese diner-style restaurant, big hit, plastic tables and chairs, Vietnamese cuisine

Nam Joon-young (left) brings tables, chairs, dishes etc. from Ho Chi Minh to Seoul.

While he buys some of the spices locally, the beers, wines, mineral water, condensed milk, chili sauces, and fish sauces are imported from Vietnam.

"I started cooking because I wanted to earn money to help my parents. So I dreamed of opening a restaurant first to help them," he said.

The restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays with a break from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. On weekends it closes at 9 p.m. Prices range from $4 to $14.

The success of the restaurant has enabled him to open another, this one called Nampark Pho Bo.

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Source: VnExpress

Humble Vietnamese diner, popular in Seoul, Vietnamese diner-style restaurant, big hit, plastic tables and chairs, Vietnamese cuisine
 
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