Vietnamese restaurant owner, Nguyen Phuong, was recently in charge of a Black owned restaurant in Columbia’s capital city of Lumphini.
However, he claims that Black owners were denied a fair share of business due to their colour.
“We are a community restaurant, and we want to open a restaurant that is different from what the Vietnamese community is accustomed to,” he said.
“But we have to work hard to be able to do that.
And we have been discriminated against by our Vietnamese neighbours.”
According to Phuongs restaurant owners, Columbian Black owners had to undergo a background check to get a licence, but Vietnamese restaurant operators were not able to get one either.
“For us, Vietnamese is a colour of identity, not a colour,” he added.
“Vietnamese people don’t understand our culture, we don’t know how to talk to them, we can’t understand their language.”
Columbian Restaurant Owners Association (CPOA) secretary, Mr Nguyen Thi Thanh, said he had received complaints from Vietnamese owners who were unhappy with the fact that Vietnamese restaurants were not being given the same amount of business.
“The Vietnamese restaurants are not doing as well, they are getting a lower amount of money than the Black-owned restaurants,” he told Al Jazeera.
“It is not fair that Vietnamese people who are a part of our community are discriminated against because of their colour.”
Thanh said he hoped that the CPOA would take up the issue with Columbians government and work with the Vietnamese government to improve their business climate.
“They need to start working with Vietnamese people,” he continued.
“If we can help them to work together, we will be able for Vietnamese people to open their own restaurants and be able, with a little bit of money, to open our own restaurants.”
The CPOA had previously received a number of complaints about the situation, including one from Vietnamese restaurant patron Khong Nguyen who claimed that his Vietnamese restaurant had been told by its Vietnamese owner that it would not be allowed to open for three weeks because it was not black owned.
“I am very angry.
I was very happy to open my restaurant,” Khong said.
“But the owner told me that my Vietnamese restaurant was not permitted to open until I have given a satisfactory explanation.
But, Nguyen said, he hoped the CPoa would work with Vietnamese authorities to help solve the problem.””
It was very upsetting.”
But, Nguyen said, he hoped the CPoa would work with Vietnamese authorities to help solve the problem.
“Columbia is not a country of one nationality,” he explained.
“There are so many Vietnamese people in this country, so I hope that Columbias government and the CPOs government will work together to improve the business climate for Vietnamese restaurants.”
Thi Thanhlong, CPOA secretary, said that he hoped for an “equal opportunity” for Vietnamese businesses.
“There are some restaurants in the city that are not allowed to be open because they are not Vietnamese,” he concluded.
“We hope that Vietnamese businesses will have equal opportunities to open in Colombias city, as well as other Vietnamese businesses that have been affected by the situation.”