Her Mom Sold Rice Cakes in a Refugee Camp. Now She Sells Her Mom’s Hot Chili Sauce in Gourmet Grocery Stores. Her Mom Isn’t Impressed… Yet.

Her Mom Sold Rice Cakes in a Refugee Camp. Now She Sells Her Mom's Hot Chili Sauce in Gourmet Grocery Stores. Her Mom Isn't Impressed... Yet.

Nothing leaves a mark on the heart quite like rejection. “I still remember the first time somebody tasted one of our sauces and said, ‘Ugh, not for me,’” Lisa Tran says. “She just left the sample on the counter, didn’t even throw it in the trash can. I went to the bathroom and cried. People can be so blunt, and I didn’t know how to not take it personally because our family — well, the sauces we make are so personal.”

Her Mom Sold Rice Cakes in a Refugee Camp. Now She Sells Her Mom's Hot Chili Sauce in Gourmet Grocery Stores. Her Mom Isn't Impressed... Yet.Courtesy of Lisa Tran

Fifty years before Tran, 39, stood behind a demo counter in a gourmet grocery store in Portland, Oregon — watching a woman wrinkle her nose at her mom’s hot chili sauce — Tran’s grandparents were selling pho on their stoop in the Southern Vietnamese village of Soc Trang. “It was a way to make a living during the war,” Tran says….

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