TikTok video saves struggling Vietnamese pho restaurant

By Hong Hanh   February 20, 2023 | 12:29 am PT
One month ago, Jennifer Le’s parents looked over their deserted California pho shop in heartbreak.

"It makes me so sad to see my parents wait for customers to walk through the door to eat at their Vietnamese restaurant," reads the caption of a video Le posted on Jan. 19. Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup dish (broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat) that has become popular across the world.

The 7-second clip shows her father Vuong Le, owner of Lee’s Noodle House in Santa Rosa, waiting with an expressionless face at the counter of the empty eatery.

Underneath the 7-second video, Jennifer issued an emotional plea that touched the hearts of many:

"TikTok do your thing and help support my parents’ Vietnamese restaurant. My parents haven’t been having that many customers and been feeling stressed dealing with financial issues."

The video was posted on TikTok by Jennifer Le on January 19, 2023, describing her parents’ forlorn pho restaurant.

"I wanted to share the video because their food is so good and put in a lot of work for it, very authentic," she said in an interview with KRON4 on Feb. 12.

The video now has over 1.2 million views and droves of people are visiting the restaurant.

"There are so many phone calls, that when you pick up the phone, it’s still ringing on the other side," Le said.

Le said her parents are now working 12 hours a day and running out of ingredients just trying to keep up with demand.

Le has since posted to thank people for their generosity. "The comment section has brought my parents and I to tears. We are so grateful for all the support, and for everyone who is coming out."

In an interview with local press, Vuong talked about the moment his daughter captured with her smartphone.

"She surprised me a lot. I didn’t know she did that. But it’s a fact. How come at nighttime nobody dines in? It’s so stressful. We usually close at 9, but now we close at 7:30 because you can’t afford to pay PG&E gas and electric and all that and you cannot wait for customers," he said.

Jennifer Le posts videos about Vietnamese noodle soup and thanks TikTok users who have supported her family.

The restaurant opened in 2003 with Le’s mother as head chef. Le’s father served customers and helped in the kitchen. Business was ok until the Covid pandemic hit, Fortune reported.

Over the last two years the family’s eatery has struggled to stay afloat.

But the 7-second video changed their lives forever. "My dad is so happy, so grateful," Le said.

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