An odd coupling leads to the first Vietnamese restaurant in Miami

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“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.



Evan Kleiman