When Ngoc Huynh would prepare the food of her native Vietnam it was always done from memory. “I never cooked with recipes. Everything was by word of mouth. It was a sprinkle of this and a little of that. I recently realized how important measuring really is!”
Huynh is sharing her native food as the new entrepreneur in residence at “With Love,” Onondaga Community College’s teaching restaurant located at 435 North Salina Street in Syracuse. “With Love: Vietnam” opened for business in late January.
Her journey to running a restaurant in Central New York was a lengthy one. Huynh was born in Tra Vinh, Vietnam. Her father and uncles served alongside Americans during the Vietnam War. When the war ended she and her family escaped by boat. They ran out of food and water at sea but were rescued by the Japanese. After living in Japan for a few years they were granted asylum and moved to the United States.
Despite being half a world away from Vietnam her native food was always with her thanks to her mother and grandmother’s cooking. Taking over at With Love gave Huynh the opportunity to document the recipes which she had in her head. “It was hard to preserve their old recipes. I’ve enjoyed writing everything down and having the opportunity to teach people and teach my siblings.”
Huynh constructed a menu which she says is representative of the best of what her families region of origin has to offer. “There’s a dish called Bun Mam. It’s a seafood noodle dish and it’s very authentic to my mother’s hometown which is one of the 13 provinces in the Mekong Delta. The Noodle Soup is a blend of Vietnamese and Cambodia cuisine. We have a lot of mixed communities and it shows in our food.” You can view the entire menu here.
With Love: Vietnam is open Tuesday through Friday from 12pm to 2pm and from 5pm to 8pm. The restaurant was recently featured in a story on WSYR TV, Newschannel 9. You can view the story here.