How Vietnamese Refugees Turned a New Orleans Bakery Into a James Beard 'American Classic': Season 2, Episode 6 of 'Let's Go Together'

A return to travel is closer than you think.

Vaccines are up, hotels are getting booked out for summer, and borders are opening once again. We're celebrating all this with new episodes of our podcast, Let's Go Together, which highlights how travel changes the way we see ourselves and the world.

In the first season, our pilot and adventurer host, Kellee Edwards, introduced listeners to diverse globe-trotters who showed us that travelers come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. From the first black woman to travel to every country on Earth to a man who trekked to Machu Picchu in a wheelchair, we met some incredible folks. And now, in our second season, Edwards is back to introduce you to new people, new places, and new perspectives.

In the latest episode, Edwards chats with Linh Garza, whose family opened Dong Phuoung Banh Mi & Baked Goods in New Orleans in 1982 after arriving in the city as refugees.

"We arrived in late 1979, 1980. My dad's best friend was the one that sponsored us, and he was living in New Orleans at the time," Garza explains. "That's how we chose New Orleans or New Orleans chose us."

Garza adds, her family quickly became a fixture of the community, settling into a place that just felt like home.

"We came over here with no money, no knowledge of the English language, really no skill sets that would translate into making a living in a sense," she says. To make ends meet, Garza's mother started to bake. "She started making these little cakes and pastries, and she brought it to the local markets to sell. That's how it got started."

Those "little cakes" have now been named an "American Classic" by the James Beard Foundation.

"It was such an honor to be awarded the American classic. It's unbelievable how much that means. It just means that we're accepted. Our food, our cuisine is being accepted," Garza says.

Hear more from Garza and Edwards about food, New Orleans, and the future of travel on Let's Go Together, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Player.FM, and everywhere podcasts are available.

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