Ton Ngoc Hiep, who already opened 10 Vietnamese “pho” (noodle soup) restaurants in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is planning to bring the brand to the UK and the US.
A Pho Vietz restaurant at Utama shopping mall in Malaysia
Speaking with the Vietnam News Agency (VNA)’s reporters, he expressed his hope to introduce Vietnamese cuisine to Malaysian and international friends. If the COVID-19 pandemic had not occurred, he would have opened “Pho Vietz” restaurants in the UK and the US last year.
Although Malaysia boasts a diverse cuisine, the chef has gained a foothold in the country’s food market as there are 10 “Pho Vietz” restaurants with 120 employees in Kuala Lumpur, only six years after its establishment.
Ton Ngoc Hiep (third from left) in front of his restaurant
Hiep plans to open five more restaurants this year, along with managing another in Hong Kong and promoting the brand in Manchester and New York.
When working at a five-star hotel in Ho Chi Minh City in the 1990s, he was tasked with introducing Vietnamese cuisine to Switzerland diners during a three-month programme.
That working trip kindled his pride when foreigners highly appreciated Vietnamese cuisine, he recalled.
During a trip to Malaysia, he had a chance to meet with foreign chefs who wished to introduce Vietnamese dishes in their menus.
Hiep emphasised that he spares no efforts in gathering fresh materials, in a bid to retain the “soul” of the iconic Vietnamese dish as much as possible.
To run 10 restaurants at the same time while ensuring food quality at each of them, the chef set up a centre for food processing and manufacturing./. VNA
Vietnam currently has about 30,000 chefs, with a unique, rich and highly-appreciated culinary background. The establishment of standards to rank and honor chefs will contribute to a wider presence of the cuisine in the world.
There are some 30,000 Vietnamese chefs working at two-star or higher hotels around the country, which is internationally known for its diverse culinary art.