Due to the lingering political and social oppression following the Vietnam War in the early 80s, millions of South Vietnamese people were desperate to leave their home country in search of a better life.
Kim and Syndy Vu were two of them.
When they were young girls, Kim and Syndy remember being awoken by their parents in the middle of the night and whisked away to the beaches near their home to board a boat to take them to a better life. Wading into waves so tall and strong they threatened to overtake the small girls, they were relieved when a kind man hoisted them onto his shoulders and they were able to make it to the small shrimp boat, anchored yards away. Hundreds of people were packed onto the boat, but they sailed blindly into the night, hoping to eventually make it to the United States to reunite with their older sister.
Kim and Syndy spent a dozen miserable days on the tiny boat, eating only rice powder and drinking only few swigs per day of a water and ginseng mixture that their father had sent with them.
They had no idea how long their journey would take.
After twelve days at sea however, a large ship spotted the shrimp boat and picked up Kim, Syndy and the other passengers, saving them from what would have likely otherwise been death. The boat took them to Indonesia and from there they were able to make their way to the U.S. eventually reuniting with their families and settling in New Orleans.
Syndy and Kim happily created new lives for themselves and before long they met the men who would soon become their husbands. Both Mike Hoang and Van Pham tell similar stories to Kim and Syndy’s about their terrifying journey to the US. Syndy met Mike at the skating rink, and Kim met Van at the fair. Their shared stories made both couples even more grateful to be starting families and living freely in the United States.
After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and devastated New Orleans Kim, Syndy and their husbands moved to Birmingham, AL. They decided to open their own business, so after tons of hard work and their fair share of struggles, Saigon Noodle House opened in 2009. An homage to their home country, to the flavors of their childhood, and in memory of their father’s sandwich and noodle cart back in Vietnam, Saigon Noodle House is a representation of it all.