The Vietnamese community is concentrated mainly in large cities such as Warsaw, Krakow, Szczecin, Łódź and Gdańsk. Currently, the vast majority of Vietnamese work in catering and trade. In the capital, there is a large network of oriental bars and restaurants where one can have Euro-Asian dishes or traditional Vietnamese food. Among the Poles the most popular are spring rolls, which are similar to Polish croquettes.
The second area of activity of the Vietnamese in Poland is trading, mainly in the Stadion Dziesięciolecia (Stadium of the Decade) and Wólka Kosowska. Shoes and clothes are mostly sold.
People who come to Poland are very different. There are migrants both from large cities and the countryside. One can also meet university professors, artists and political activists. It is estimated that the largest group are the residents of northern and north-central Vietnam.
The oldest Vietnamese organization in Poland is Towarzystwo Społeczno Kulturalne Wietnamczyków (The Social and Cultural Society of Vietnamese), which was formed in 1986. Their main aim is to integrate Vietnamese elite, to support Vietnamese culture and to promote it among the Poles. The organization was founded by Polish university graduates. Currently it boasts around 200-300 members.
In the Vietnamese Cultural Center 'Thang Long' (near the Stadium of the Decade) there is a Buddhist pagoda, which is visited by Vietnamese on the occasion of religious feasts and rituals. Various cultural events are held here from time to time.
One of the most avidly read newspapers by the Vietnamese is a pro-democratic magazine called 'Dan Chim Viet' (Vietnamese Flock of Birds), which in Poland has a circulation of 100-200 copies. In Warsaw alone, there are six different titles emitted regularly, which one can buy at the Stadium of the Decade.
Most Vietnamese plan their future in their own country. A return to their motherland is led by a desire to spend their ‘sunset days’ among family and friends, to find a well paid job after graduating with a European diploma etc.
The situation of Vietnamese immigrants has been evolving. The younger generation brought up in Poland is more willing to live here and start a family. Their way of thinking and their attitudes change along with the adaptation to Polish culture, which over time becomes more and more familiar to them.
Text by Thu Ha Mai
Translated by ate