It's easy to overlook Minneapolis’ food scene, but Vang wants folks to know just how diverse and vibrant the city is. Located in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood, Vietnamese restaurant iPho by Saigon is a favorite of Vang’s. “It started out as a mom-and-pop place and then the kids took it over,” says Vang. As you continue on University Avenue towards the University of Minnesota, you’ll come across another restaurant that Vang frequents: Hong Kong Noodle, a staple Chinese restaurant, popular with students, which boasts an extensive menu.
For brunch, Vang recommends Black Walnut Bakery for their breakfast sandwiches, made from croissant loaves, and quiches. “I'm not a quiche guy, but that little slice of savory pie—it's so good!” If it’s burgers you’re after, Vang suggests Burger Dive for “one of the OG smash burgers. The owner was one of the original guys who did smash burgers nearly 10 years ago. The secret for their grind is putting cold frozen butter inside, so the butter grinds up with the meat and when you smash it, that butter melts and creates these steam pockets.”
If you’re still unsure, Vang recommends you try out the work of other chefs representing Minneapolis’ multicultural community, such as award-winning Ann Kim, who owns several city pizzerias plus the Mexican-Korean-inspired Sooki & Mini; or Hai Hai and Hola Arepa, run by celebrated Vietnamese-American chef Christina Nguyen.