Nguyen was born in Vietnam and settled in the USA at the age of 13. As he grows older, Nguyen established a club on Vietnamese-American cinema and literature to study his native country. After that, he realized food seemed to be more attractive and did not face any barriers.

Hence, he formed a group named Viet Taste Buds. Then, he organizes a dinner on Fridays for around 25-40 group members at a Vietnamese restaurant in California. He held that regardless where they come from and what positions they hold, all can join this activity.

Stefan Nguyen (third from left) and his friends in Viet Taste Buds enjoying Vietnamese dishes

Nguyen remembered that he recommended his friend a dish with fish sauce. It was the guest’s first experience, so he advised her to just try a little first. But she ate the dish in full and she loved it. He said: “I underestimated her palate and her sense of smell. What I learned is that you can never underestimate people's ability to explore or their willingness to try things.”

Tim Le, a mechanic in Riverside city of California, stressed that thanks to Viet Taste Buds, he has been befriended by other Vietnamese Americans.

As people grow older, at least for him, they have kind of think about your roots, he added.

For Stefan Nguyen, Vietnamese cuisine is further popular in the USA, particularly since the appearance of some Vietnamese restaurants like Afters Ice Cream and Loop Handcrafted Churros.

Meanwhile, Shaun Nguyen Ly, co-owner of the Nguyen's Kitchen restaurants, said that he is "not at all" surprised that Vietnamese food is now gaining popularity among the local community.

Vietnamese cuisine’s flavors are very peculiar but not heavy. They do not use much oil or batter while using more ingredients, vegetables, fresh meat, and fish sauce as well, he concluded.

Translated by Van Hieu