Hai Man

Hai Man-10

Left – “We were living in Saigon for 7 years and we wanted to get married so we needed to come to California. It’s very hard to get into the US from Vietnam. He didn’t have any family here so they turned him down. We tried going to Canada and Mexico city and no luck. Finally, we found out we could get married in South Africa. We got him a tourist visa and got married there. Then as a couple we could get into Europe, then finally…finally into the US. It was 5 year process of getting here.”

Hai Man-11

Right – “We have a food blog called Eating Saigon. My goal is to open a restaurant in the USA. That cost hundreds of thousands of dollars so we start learning about pop-ups. While searching we find Josephine. Working with them 8-9 months now. I love working with them, why? Because I can introduce vietnamese food to my neighbors. Now they treat me so good. So good. They give me the presents because they like food so much. One woman, 74 years old, she never travel outside USA. She eat only raw vegetables. But once a week she come here to eat my food!”

Hai Man-1

“My grandmother had a small business cooking food, then my father follow her, and then I follow my father. My family’s restaurant was #9 out of 1100 in Saigon. I went to school to learn how to cook and then I worked in a lot of different restaurants. I learn to cook Italian food and French food and of course I know exactly what going on with Vietnamese food.”

Hai Man-8

“What’s special to you about Vietnamese food?”

“In my country we use fish sauce, very good. In USA they put ketchup on everything. When western food use rosemary we use ginger. Also, China has been involved in my country for more than 1,000 years so we know a little from Chinese cooking. We know how to make the baguette. In Vietnam they have all types of food: sour, bitter, sweet. Very strong flavors. They make it by love. In the middle of Vietnam is very cold so people like to eat very spicy food because it’s warms them up. In the north of Vietnam they make pho.”

“Is there anything special about the way you make pho?”

“Well it very important to clean the beef bone, very important. Then we cook it for more than 12 hour. Then we add ginger, cinnamon, cloves, a few other sauces and then fish sauce.”

Hai Man-9


May 30, 2016