Vietnam Restaurant honored as James Beard 'American Classic'

ByNatalie Jason WPVI logo
Tuesday, May 7, 2024
Vietnam Retaurant honored as James Beard 'American Classic'
After 40 years, the Vietnam restaurant was honored by the James Beard Foundation for its quality food and timeless appeal.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- After 40 forty years, longtime Philadelphia establishment Vietnam Restaurant was awarded a James Beard Foundation 'America's Classics' award.

Owned and operated by the Lai family since the beginning, their authentic outposts feature Vietnamese staples and more.

In 2008, they opened a second location, Vietnam Cafe, in University City with the family's original grocery Fu Wah just around the corner.

Nhu Lai and Thuyen Lai and their eight children fled post-war Vietnam's Communist rule in the 1970s.

Son Benny Lai, who now manages the University City location, remembers the harrowing journey across the South China Sea as a 12-year-old.

The family lived in a refugee camp in Malaysia and was finally able to come to the United States in 1979.

Three generations of the Lai family.

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Vietnam Restaurant

221 N. 11th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19143


Vietnam Cafe

816 S. 47th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19143


Fu Wah Grocery

810 S. 47TH Street, Philadelphia, PA 19143