SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)- Construction on the Salt City Market is underway on South Salina Street in Syracuse. The project is on time to be completed by November. It will include apartments, a grocery store and a food hall featuring food from around the world. Nine chefs were selected to showcase their unique cuisine at the market. One of those chefs is Ngoc Huynh who will prepare Vietnamese cuisine.
“One of the reasons I want to do Vietnamese food is mostly because in the United States I think a lot of us have adapted our recipes to make it a little more Americanized,” said Huynh. “I prefer a lot of these dishes very traditional or very home style and I want to introduce that side of Vietnamese cooking,”
Other options that will be at the Salt City Market include American soul food, Jamaican food and Burmese cuisine. The competition to earn a spot at the market was intense, especially for Huynh who in addition to cooking has a full time job at Advanced Media.
“It was brutal because were competing
with colleges and we were timed with our cooking…We had to make a meat dish a vegetarian dish and a dessert…then we had to transfer the food,” said Huynh.
Huynh was born in Vietnam before escaping the war and coming to the U.S. with help from Japan. She was stuck at sea for a week, which almost cost her her life.
“We were out of water, we were out of food, I was extremely sick and my cousin and I think everyone thought we were going to die,” said Huynh
Huynh went on to study journalism at Syracuse University. She learned to cook from relatives, but came to realize getting Vietnamese cuisine was not easy in Syracuse. Far East and Asian Grocery store owner Loni Truong opened her store for that reason.
“In Syracuse they didn’t have a store so my friend, my husband now, we decided to open a grocery store to help our people,” said Troung.
Now, Huynh wants to use her cuisine to bring people together. According to Huynh, she is tired of Americans always associating Vietnam with the war.
“There’s so many other aspects of our culture and one of the best ways to show it is through food.” said Huynh.