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 (VNA) - 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,” Tran Thi Tinh, 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 such as fake instant pork or chicken porridge and processed meat. Fake beef, fish, pork, eggs and pork-pies sell for around 20,000 VND (1 USD) for 200 grams.

The companies Au Lạc, Vissan, SG Food, Cau Tre, Xuan Hong, Ngoc Lien and Song Huong 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 20,000 – 55,000 VND.

Along with local products, imported goods are plentiful with vegetarian duck and pork chicken from Malaysia, seaweed and spice from the Republic of Korea and Japan, and rice cakes, cereal powder and nutritious fruit juice from the US. Imported products are more expensive, about 100,000 – 500,000 VND.

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

Instant vegetarian soft noodles, vermicelli and pho 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 percent,” a staff at the AL vegetarian food shop in District 1 said.

Hong, a trader in Binh Trieu market in Thu Duc district revealed that this month, she had ordered double the vegetarian food in comparison with other months.

Right now, she can sell around 1 million VND of vegetarian food each day. Mushrooms and tofu are considered the most popular fresh vegetarian foods.

One tofu-making shop in Thu Duc 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.

Dang Huan, marketing manager of Bo De Tam vegetarian restaurant chains in Hanoi, 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 Huan.

There are many vegetarian restaurants operating in Vietnam but not all of them have understood the value of vegetarian food and culture as well. To compete with other restaurants, Huan said Bo De Tam had focused on the food’s quality and diversification. Besides its farms of safe vegetables and mushrooms in Hanoi, Son Tay 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 Huan.

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 Trieu restaurant in the Reverie Saigon hotel on Nguyen Hue and Dong Khoi streets has introduced a vegetarian menu with “royal” food at a price of 198,000 VND per dish without VAT and service fee.

The Ngan Dinh restaurant in the Windsor Plaza hotel in District 5 has also launched a vegetarian menu for 68,000 VND each dish.

The Co Noi in the Bong Sen hotel on Hai Ba Trung 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 149, 000 VND per customer for lunch and 169,000 VND for dinner.

Smaller restaurants in the city are offering a variety of dishes, some of them up to 15 different dishes, for 15,000 - 50,000 VND per dish.-VNA