Food

How Yia Vang became the leading voice for Hmong cuisine and culture

The chef-owner of Union Hmong Kitchen in Minneapolis tells the story about this food movement through his cooking, podcasts, TV shows and more.

Yia Vang did not set out to be a restaurateur, but after his Hmong food popup took off in Minneapolis, he realized this was his mission.

Yia Vang

Yia Vang

Vang emigrated to the U.S. from Southeast Asia with his family as a young child, seeking refuge among other Hmong people in Minnesota. His popup found a home in a trailer and eventually started operating as Union Hmong Kitchen in Minneapolis’ Graze Food Hall. He is now working with partners to open a full-service brick-and-mortar restaurant called Vinai in 2024. Vinai is named after the refugee camp in Thailand where his parents ended up after the Vietnam War and many of the restaurant’s ingredients will be sourced from his parents’ farm.

Vang is spreading the word about Hmong culture and cuisine through his cooking, his podcast called “Hmonglish” and TV appearances on the Food Network, Iron Chef and the Outdoors Channel. Listen as the James Beard-nominated chef describes the culinary influences that make Hmong cuisine so unique and how he’s honoring the legacy of the Hmong people through their food.

Subscribe to Menu Feed on Apple Podcasts.

Subscribe on Spotify.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Multimedia

Exclusive Content

Financing

In California, jobs are up, but traffic is down

The Bottom Line: Limited-service restaurants have not cut jobs in California, despite the $20 fast-food wage. But that doesn't mean it hasn't had an impact.

Technology

First-party catering emerges as a new frontier for restaurant tech

Tech Check: As catering booms, more tech companies are offering restaurants the tools to do it themselves.

Food

Applebee's upgrades chicken sandwiches with new techniques and flavors

Behind the Menu: VP of Culinary Shannon Johnson introduced hand breading, a larger chicken breast and craveable flavor profiles to elevate the platform.

Trending

More from our partners