THE owner of a long-established Chinese restaurant has explained his decision to reopen as a vegetarian eatery.

Nhan Lieng, who ran the Guide Village Cantonese Restaurant in School Lane, Guide, with wife Sui for more than three decades, has now set up at the same site as To Be Vegetarian.

The restaurant, which still centres on Chinese food, opened in its new guise on Friday, with Mr and Mrs Lieng determined to spread the word about healthy eating.

Mrs Lieng, 48, is a full-time Buddhist vegetarian, while Mr Lieng, 47, still eats meat but intends to renounce it.

The couple pondered or years before deciding to take the plunge. Mr Lieng said: “It is something we had thought about doing for the last four years.

“My wife has given up meat and she really wanted to get the message through about healthy eating.

“The trade had been going down and the vegetarian restaurant will be a better alternative to promote better eating.

“Throughout the years we have tried to make the meals a bit healthier by reducing sugar, salt, oil and other things.”

Regular customers were surprised when the Liengs announced their decision. The eatery shut for about three weeks to allow for refurbishment.

Mr Lieng said: “It is not easy. It’s about the friends we have made throughout the years. Some people have been upset and we do not know what is going to happen.

“It’s early days and it’s going to be a long journey but it’s not all about making money. We wanted to promote healthy eating.

“We hope some of the friends and customers will give us a try.”