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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

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ORAL HISTORY

Linh Garza


Dong Phuong Bakery

“Everything that’s savory has to have a pinch of sweet and everything that’s sweet has to have a pinch of savory,” that is motto of Huong Tran. She opened Dong Phuong Bakery in the early 1980s, after a short run of cooking and selling classical Vietnamese baked goods out of her home. She operated out of the professional kitchen of her mother-in-law, owner of Dong Phuong Oriental Restaurant, one of the first Vietnamese eateries in the Greater New Orleans area. Tran’s father ran a bakery in Sóc Trăng, Vietnam, where she learned the art of making moon cakes, flakey pastries filled with mung-bean paste and a salted duck egg yolk. A few years later, her husband, De Tran, tinkered until he came up with the perfect bánh mì loaf, the traditional Vietnamese French-style bread. That loaf launched the Bakery’s sandwich counter, which now offers seventeen different types of sandwiches, stuffed with everything from French cold cuts (#1) to barbecue chicken (#9) and Chinese sausage (#17). More recently, Dong Phuong has become regionally known for their king cakes, the brioche-style pastry ring served throughout the Carnival season. The traditionally-sweet cakes come slathered in cream cheese, here: sweet with a pinch of savory.

Date of interview:
2015-02-18

Interviewer:
Rien Fertel

Photographer:
Rien Fertel

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