A popular pho restaurant in Vietnam has closed its doors for good, leaving its owner devastated and customers in shock.
Lao Tien, the owner of Pho Tien in Da Nang, told The Jerusalem Mail that his PhoHoa restaurant was the only place left open in the city of 2 million, where it had been open since 2015.
“We don’t have bread, we don’t cook with bread, and we don’ eat the ingredients,” he said.
“We can’t find enough bread and ingredients.
We lost so much business in this year.”
He said that because of the closure, the restaurant had had to close for good.
“The restaurant was full, but I’m still selling bread and I’m selling other ingredients,” said Lao.
“I’m losing a lot of money.”
The restaurant, which had been serving pho and beef pho for more than 40 years, closed last week after a local group accused the owners of failing to pay the rent, said Liao Tien.
The restaurant’s owner, who is originally from China, told the Mail that he was in the process of paying the rent of around $500,000.
He added that the local group was responsible for the closure of the restaurant and had “made a big mistake”.
“I don’t want to give a reason but it’s obvious that the landlord was responsible.
They are taking advantage of people, the people are losing their livelihood,” he added.
“People don’t like this.
I will pay the entire rent.”
He added: “The landlord should pay the full rent.
I’m not paying it.”
The owner of the PhoTien, which he described as a family-owned business, also told the Jerusalem Mail he was left devastated by the news.
“I’m sorry, the only thing I can do is keep doing what I’m doing,” he told the newspaper.
“But the city council has told us to shut it down because of rent.
But I have no money.”
Lao said that he had lost almost all of his business to rent.
“It was only the last month when I lost my livelihood,” Lao told the Hebrew-language daily Haaretz.
“There were no customers in the first days, and they couldn’t pay the bill.
We had to give up the whole restaurant to pay rent.”
Luan Tien said he would pay the remaining rent to cover the cost of food.
“If I can’t afford to pay this rent, then I’m going to give it up,” he warned.
Liu Tuoi, the director of the Da Nampo-based nonprofit Food for the Hungry, said the situation had “become very difficult”.
“The situation has deteriorated since the last few days,” he was quoted as saying by the Jerusalem Post.
“The local government has closed the doors of the business to make room for the government.”
He told the paper that many of the local residents were suffering from food insecurity.
“They’re desperate, they’re feeling very vulnerable and they’re struggling to pay their rent.
It’s very difficult for them,” he claimed.
Luan said the government had “fooled” locals by closing the restaurant, and called on people to donate money to the organization.
“Food for the hungry is a group of people who are fighting to support each other,” he stated.
“Their support is needed to help others and help our country recover from this tragedy.”
PhoHoA restaurant in DaNang, Vietnam.
Source: Haaretz/Al Jazeera English