Trip Details

Food Shop Volunteer in Ho Chi Minh Vietnam

Can you chop an onion? Grate a carrot? Great! If you enjoy working around food and want to do something really rewarding with your culinary skills, join the TRU team as a Food Shop Volunteer in Ho Chi Minh Vietnam. Here, you will be making a huge contribution to the community, getting into stuck food preparation, serving and cleaning up, as you bring smiles and affordable hot meals for all who need it. And During your time on this worthy project, you will also have the opportunity to explore this stunning country and make friends with other volunteers who will be staying with you at our accommodation.

Chop, Fry, Clean and Smile as you help at the Smile Food Shop!

The Smile Food Shop provides low-cost lunches (2000 VND/6p per meal) and is run by an NGO together with passionate locals who understand the great need that the shop fills. During your project, you will prepare lunches and serve these meals to a group of around 500 people (elderly, local workers, person with disabilities, students and children) who come for low cost, good quality and well-prepared meals each day! Importantly, this programme is beneficial on two counts: not only are you helping to feed people on low incomes, but by booking this project, you are generating income for the wider community too!

Explore the Sights and Sounds of Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh is a fascinating city, busy, loud, exciting and yet with areas of great beauty. Head down to Bui Vien Street, for backpacking tourists in Vietnam, where you’ll find lots of cheap restaurants, bars, souvenir shops. Or if you’re into architecture, Landmark 81 is the tallest building in Vietnam and well worth the view! And if you’re in for some true entertainment, you can’t miss Suối Tiên Amusement Park in District 9. Through the week, however, you can simply kick back with your buddies in our dorm-style accommodation at the local college.

Why be a Food Shop Volunteer in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam?

  • Generate income whilst helping out in the local community
  • Gain experience in food preparation and working in a charity
  • Get to know locals and spend time with other volunteers during your stay
  • Explore Ho Chi Minh City and its lively streets, shops and markets
  • Stay in our college accommodation with meals and beverages* included

*tea, coffee and drinking water

Get in touch to find out more or browse through our many other volunteer experiences.

Trip Itinerary

Each day, you will enjoy breakfast at your accommodation before departing for the food shop! Once on-site, your activities will revolve around the smooth running of the premises. For example, this could involve cleaning the premises, preparing and cooking food and any other necessary tasks required. You’ll be working with a group consisting of locals and volunteers, so you’ll have plenty of chat about as you help out on this worthwhile project!

Please be advised that the Food Shop programme continues to function even when the NGO run facility is closed (including a month-long closure around the Tet Holiday). Food Shop volunteers will then prepare food on-site at our accommodation kitchen and those free meals will be distributed at a local hospital to patients and local workers.

Mandatory Orientation Day

On the Monday of your first week as a volunteer here in Vietnam, you will join our orientation day, to familiarise yourself with the surroundings as well as local culture. Your program will continue as usual from Tuesday onward throughout the rest of the week.

Orientation Day Schedule

  • Introduction meeting, House rules, Setting Expectations, Health and Safety Advice and handling of documents.
  • Vietnamese Do’s and Don’ts, Vietnamese Culture Lessons and Vietnamese Language Lessons.
  • Tour around the compound and local area; where to find local shops, and arrange a sim-card if necessary.
  • Lunch
  • Activities with local students and more

Food Shop Volunteer – Schedule

Monday to Friday

  • Breakfast
  • Depart for the food shop
  • Assist in the preparation of food, working in the kitchen, cleaning the area and serving food, etc.
  • Lunch at the food shop
  • Head back to the accommodation
  • Free time during the afternoon
  • Dinner

Evenings and Weekends

At the end of your day as a volunteer, you can choose to explore the area or simply relax with new friends back at your accommodation. Many of our volunteers enjoy mixing with their new volunteer friends or others, backpacking in Vietnam and plan their weekend adventures together!

Please note: This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

Activities and Events

Football is arranged for volunteers every Wednesday together with the local coordinators.

Places to Visit

Here are some interesting places to visit in your free time:

Backpacker street

Bui Vien Street is the main street, it is called ‘backpackers area’ of Ho Chi Minh City. You’ll find a wide variety of inexpensive restaurants, here, as well as bars, souvenir shops and hotels/hostels.

Landmark 81

Landmark 81 is the tallest building in Vietnam, Southeast Asia and is well worth the view!

Bitexco tower

There is an observation deck, Saigon Skydeck, open to the public daily and offering 360˚ panoramic views of Ho Chi Minh City. From floors 50 to 52, there are further F&B and entertainment offerings, including a fine dining restaurant and bar/nightclub.

Suoi Tien Amusement Park

Suối Tiên Amusement Park is a great place to visit in Hồ Chí Minh City. The park includes several entertainment areas – something to suit everyone!

Trip Accommodation

During your time as a volunteer in Vietnam, you’ll be staying in Ho Chi Minh, commonly known as Saigon, which is located in the southeastern region of Vietnam and is the country’s largest city.

About the Accommodation

Back to college! Your accommodation is located on a campus in a college dorm with each room sleeping 4-6 people, in single-gender accommodation. This is a great way to make friends and get to know fellow volunteers, but you will have to follow campus rules, such as the 11.30pm curfew!

If you need a little peace and quiet, we have a room reserved as an ‘office’ where you can spend some time, catch up with family online or read some of the books and magazines we have available. The following are available at our accommodation:

  • Wifi in public areas
  • Safety box
  • Lockable rooms
  • Hot showers
  • Private bathroom
  • Air conditioning

Nearby, there is also a great local cafe, with fresh juices, snacks and other treats!

Food Arrangements

Basic Vietnamese meals are provided on campus and generally include lots of noodles, soups, rice, chicken and beef. Vegetarians can be catered for, but do let us know prior to your stay. Western foods are also available, such as sandwiches, spaghetti and bread for those who might be a little picky! Lastly, please note that on weekends, we serve brunch instead of breakfast and lunch.


You can easily catch a taxi from the main road just outside of the campus to get to your chosen destinations. Further, you’ll find several ATMs nearby, around 10 minutes’ walk from the campus. All other essentials can be easily found – we are, after all, in the country’s capital!

Trip Country Info


Population: Approx.92 million
Capital: Hanoi
Language: Vietnamese
Currency: Vietnamese dong (VND)
Time zone: UTC +7

Vietnam is currently the world’s 13th most populous country and occupies 331,211 square kilometers. Today, although scarred by its past, Vietnam is a fast-growing economy helped by tourism that its interesting history and beautiful sights draw in.

One frequent thing to hear is that it has not yet been subjected to the western influence that Thailand and, to an extent, Cambodia have been. The Vietnamese still tend to prefer their traditional cuisine to the fast food chains that seem to be taking over the world.

Aside from the beautiful countryside of the north, rice fields and beaches, Vietnam is a country that is very much on the move. Roads are being upgraded, new hotels are opening everywhere and its cities are fastly developing.

If you are planning to work & travel in Vietnam there are a number of fulfilling opportunities available from volunteering with children to Hospital Out reach projects. As an experienced gap year travel company we have helped many people enjoy the delights of Vietnam during their gap year so if you are looking for an adventure in South East Asia you should add Vietnam to your shortlist. Few countries in the world can offer such a diverse range of culture, history, natural wonders and excitement.

Vietnam offers ravishing coastlines, emerald-green mountains and dynamic cities. The breathtaking National Parks continue to yield new species and are teaming with exotic wildlife. With outstanding cultural interest and one of the world’s best cuisines, Vietnam has it all. If you are looking for a Volunteer experience in Vietnam have a look at our latest experiences below.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

Under 18, Parental Consent is Required
Travel Insurance

Additional Requirements

No requirements have been provided.

What's included

  • 24/7 support in case of emergencies
  • Accommodation
  • Airport Pick up
  • English speaking coordinator
  • Meals
  • Orientation

What's not included

  • Airport drop off
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccination
  • Visa