In 1982, The Vietnam War's aftermath in Saigon had been so bad and often violent that The Nguyen/Le family, like many of their fellow citizens,
had to find a way to escape the country. Anh Le, her brothers Danh Le & Sang Le, and of course her 5-year old daughter Trang (Candice) Nguyen, left one late late evening at 3am, and boarded a boat chartered by her husband, Trang's father Tam Nguyen. Trang's father and older sister, Trinh Nguyen were to meet them at the dock in Vuong Tau, but due to the urgency of escaping the country did not make it on time to board. The small 15 meter long, 3 meter wide fishing boat had a total of 115 passengers set out to sea with no map and only the stars to guide them. The rocky boat ride lasted 6 days and five nights, with everyone extremely seasick, dehydrated, and very uncertain of their fate. After much hard labor bucketing out the water pouring in, and dumping everything thing they had in their possession on the boat, including the engine, they drifted off that final night toward one minuscule black dot they spotted in the horizon before sunset. Fatefully they were found by Pirates near the Indonesian Coast of tiny Pulau Ut. They were naturally pirated of what little was left of their jewelry and belongings but given an escort to land and were taken to a refugee camp called "Sedenau, then transferred to another small camp on Kuku Island before eventually settling in the widely known Galang Refugee Camp. Their total stay was 18 months, after repeatedly declining sponsorship that would separate the family. A very kind Nun named Sister Lan from Oakland eventually sponsored the whole family which led them to their arrival in Alameda, California on November 1983.
Anh's reputation as a great cook began early in Vietnam as a master of soups and stews. Her brothers took after her knack for culinary when they settled in The Bay Area having worked, cooked and eventually run and operated various early Vietnamese restaurants in the East Bay. After all these decades, Trang dreamt of opening a restaurant to showcase her mother and uncles' culinary success. It is here in the beautiful Richmond Marina Bay that she and husband Gio were able to find this dream spot.