Have you ever gone to something with all the good intentions in the world, not realising you’ve stumbled on a remarkable miracle that happens right in your backyard?  I felt like I was part of a miracle today…

Vinh Nghiem is a local temple, one of over 20 in the area.  Like many of these temples, a few times a year, they put on a vegetarian lunch to raise funds for the temple and for charitable works.  And I know by the traffic chaos they usually cause that these lunches are very popular.

Vinh Nghiem Temple Singing

So today, noodlies Sydney food blog decided to pop along to Vinh Nghiem for a vegetarian lunch. The place was literally crawling with people, hundreds and hundreds.  The video probably captured it best – the place was buzzing with people.

But then I noticed an amazingly wonderful atmosphere of goodwill, when there’s a crowd like this in Asia, it’s usually urgent, frantic, bordering on dangerous.  Not so at Vinh Nghiem, everyone seemed to flow with good spirit and a great amount of compassion.  Everyone said hello to each other, strangers found seats for other strangers, despite the noise, fun (yes it was fun) and the people, for me it was bordering on serene.

There weretwo ways to support the fundraising:

  • buy the takeaway vegetarian food both savoury like noodles and sweets like xoi sticky rice, Vietnamese orange cake
  • eat lunch

Vegetarian Goi

And I couldn’t believe the Buddhist generous and trusting spirit, you just go in and eat the three courses of Vietnamese vegetarian:

  • vegetarian bun bo hue, which was amazingly flavoursome and spicy hot
  • goi, Vietnamese spicy salad and fried noodles
  • Vietnamese lotus seed almond dessert

Vegetarian Bun Bo Hue

After feasting on lunch you pay on the way out and you pay whatever you’re comfortable with, even not at all if you choose, there’s no one particularly interested in policing compliance.

To me it’s a miracle of love and sacrifice, of the abbot, nuns and volunteers who made such a wonderful event possible to allow people like me to enjoy a sublime meal and have an opportunity to contribute to a good cause.

This has to go down as one of the best and most fulfilling meals I’ve had.

Nun and Thang