Family Food Traditions
By Suzanne Vanderhoef
Julie Troung grew up hanging around her parents’ chop suey restaurant in Baden, and something must have rubbed off. Despite several years bouncing around some high-profile retail clothing stores, Julie wound up back in St. Louis opening her own Vietnamese eatry. She named it DD Mau, which means “to go quickly” in Vietnamese, given the restaurant’s fast-casual concept. But a part of her food style still comes from her mom’s kitchen table.
“When I opened my own restaurant, I was like, okay, I’m going to learn from my mom because she was the one that always cooked for us,” explains Truong. “So, I learned from my mom, gathering all her recipes and her techniques and as I opened it, I found my own technique of the way of doing it and just kind of changing the taste to my liking.”
Growing up, Truong says had a mix of different types of food. They usually ate traditional Vietnamese food, like a bowl of Pho or a bahn mi, but on Sundays they’d go out for Chinese food. But when it comes to family Thanksgiving celebrations, it’s a big melting pot of everyone’s favorites.
“Thanksgiving is typically made of regular Thanksgiving,” Thuong says. “And then we’ll have Vietnamese like turkey stuffed with sticky rice and then we’ll have all the American Thanksgiving food and then we’ll have our Vietnamese food and then some Chinese food and a little bit of everything. We have it at my aunt’s banquet hall in Michigan so it’s like, I don’t know, at least 80 people. It’s like a Chinese wedding. You have rounds and rounds and rounds of tables and then a big buffet line,” creating their own favorites and delicious, multi-cultural combinations.