Who are we?
At North Saigon, we serve fresh, healthy, and quick contemporary Vietnamese meals with soul. Our dishes are created to give you more energy so that you can get back to your day feeling energized, alive, and happy.
Vietnam is a vibrant, cosmopolitan, and healthy country that is making notable strides in the global culinary scene with its abundance of fresh and nutritious ingredients, as well as ‘cravable’ flavours that make you want to come back for more.
We believe that Vietnamese food is a lot like wine – it’s inherently democratic. Although Vietnamese food culture is somewhat influenced by differences in regional topography, you’ll notice that everyone essentially eats the same dishes. For example, no matter your class or status, everyone seems to enjoy eating the same bowl of pho. For that reason, we’ve created a menu borrowed from all walks of life in Vietnam; recipes shared directly with us by Buddhist monks, rice farmers, chefs from Saigon and Hanoi’s restaurants, and friendly street food vendors – just to name a few.
We've sourced local and fresh Canadian ingredients to mix with our Vietnamese flavours in order to create a rotating seasonal menu that is healthy, quick, and delicious. We want to create food that nourishes the body and soul, and showcase our interpretation of what we think Vietnamese food is today. Happy eating!
“With a little help from friends."
Meet Kim. She's behind North Saigon.
Kim was born near the warm waters of The Gulf of Thailand, in Vietnam’s beautiful Kien Giang province. Her parents were rice farmers in the Mekong Delta and her father was also a fisherman who made seasonal trips out to the sea with his brothers on their family fishing boat.
After the fall of Saigon, with political and economic uncertainty a threat to their security, her family decided to leave Vietnam on her uncle’s boat. They arrived at a UNHCR refugee camp in Malaysia in the early ‘80s and were sponsored to Canada a couple of years later by The Mennonite Church of Manitoba.
Kim arrived in friendly Manitoba when she was only four years old. She quickly adapted to Canadian life, while doing her best throughout the years to hold onto her Vietnamese cultural identity. Kim spent most of her Sundays as a child and youth learning Vietnamese in a trailer at the back of a modest fifty-person congregation church, The Vietnamese Mennonite Church. She owes her full fluency and professional command of the language to the kind and patient volunteers who gave up their Sundays to teach her how to read, write, and enunciate Vietnamese like a native. Although she does not currently identify with any religion, she is forever thankful for the kindness of The Mennonite Church for all that they have done for her and her family.
During university, Kim worked at The Vietnamese Women’s Association of Toronto. It was there where she developed a further appreciation for Vietnamese culture; she built tight-knit relationships with not only members of her team but also with clients who were newcomers and recent immigrants, exchanging recipes and even attending temple together where they would share in communal vegan meals. Kim is deeply in love with her Vietnamese heritage and finds great joy in being able to share that love with others.
Having spent the last few years working on agricultural manufacturing projects in Vietnam, Kim came across a soft spot for the human face of Vietnamese food – the passion lab workers had for precise measurements, rice farmers knee-deep in mud, ladies selling fresh noodles on the streets, and even her aunts laughing away while scaling fish together as a team... It is this inspiration that has led her towards her journey into Vietnamese food production, on both a commercial retail and service level. Kim's love for sharing Vietnamese culture through food while creating jobs and meeting members of the community is her reason for launching North Saigon, a fast-casual healthy spot for fresh take-out.
Although not a chef herself, her curiosity and drive has enabled her to forge invaluable relationships with industry professionals and community members who have been exceedingly kind and generous; equipping her with the proper knowledge base and tools to succeed. She counts some of the top chefs and restaurateurs in Toronto and Vietnam as close mentors. In addition to North Saigon, she is currently working directly with suppliers and manufacturers in Canada and Vietnam to bring healthy and sustainable Vietnamese food items to grocery store shelves in North America. Her organic and fair trade rice products and vegan sauces will be available in stores and online in the next coming year (www.seedsvietkitchen.com). She still has a long way to go but with her determination and a little help from friends, she hopes she will be able to share her Vietnamese delights with as many people as possible.
Our mobile pop-up hits the streets of Toronto this Summer 2017.
Check back soon for updates on our food truck and restaurant!