An odd coupling leads to the first Vietnamese restaurant in Miami

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Lyn Nguyen (left) remembers peeling carrots as a child at Hy Vong, the restaurant started by her mother, Tung Nguyen (center) and Kathy Manning (right), who she refers to as her second mother. Photo courtesy of Lyn Nguyen.

“I began to crave those complex and fiery scents and flavors that I had spent my childhood scorning,” writes Lyn Nguyen, who grew up in Miami at the knees of her mother Tung Nguyen, a Vietnamese refugee, and Katherine Manning, an Iowan who traded in cornfields for palm trees. A chance meeting led the elder women to open Miami’s first Vietnamese restaurant — Hy Vong. In “Mango and Peppercorns,” the three women write about their personal memories, from Tung selling soup on the streets of Saigon to Kathy whetting Miami’s appetite with “Vietnamese hot dogs.”


Kathy Manning (left) signed up to resettle Vietnamese refugees. Manning was paired with Tung Nguyen, who was pregnant with her daughter. The trio is seen here in 1980. Photo courtesy of Lyn Nguyen.


“Mango and Peppercorns” tells the story of unlikely friends who opened Miami’s nationally acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant, Hy Vong. Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books.

Credits

Host:

Evan Kleiman