Appetites: Eric Pham of the Quang Restaurant legacy forges his own path

Person makes food in kitchen
Eric Pham checks on meatballs cooking at his restaurant Khue's Kitchen at Bar Brava in Minneapolis, where he has a year-long residency.
Courtesy photo

The end of 2022 brought the closing of several beloved Twin Cities restaurants run by Asian immigrants, including Khyber Pass on Grand Avenue in St. Paul and Keefer Court in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Even as these community cornerstones shut their doors, the next generation of cooks is making its mark.

One of them is chef Eric Pham, who grew up in a restaurant family. His mother Khue Pham and her relatives are the family behind Quang, a Vietnamese restaurant that has become an institution in Minneapolis. While Quang is still going strong, Eric Pham is branching out.

Meatballs and sauce in a pot
Eric Pham's pork meatballs in a marinara sauce (he follow's his mother's recipe) for his bánh mì xíu mại.
Tom Crann | MPR News

We met up with him at Bar Brava, which is housing the restaurant he’s named after his mother. Khue's Kitchen will operate in the space until the end of 2023. During the visit, he showed us how he makes his favorite dish: bánh mì xíu mại, a Vietnamese take on the meatball sandwiches.

To hear the full conversation with Eric Pham, click play on the player above.

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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment‘s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.