La presented at Tender Table on Sunday, March 18, 2018 at High & Low Gallery in Portland, OR.
La Vang-Herr is a former executive who left that world after 18 years to launch a Hmong food business and movement in the PNW through @La’s, a Hmong Food Cart, @La’s Hmong Sausages, and Herr’s Little Farm.
One sentence to describe yourself and where you came from: I'm a proud Hmong woman with roots from the mountains of Laos who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand because my people played an integral role aiding the Americans during the Vietnam War.
What will you be presenting on? I'd like to educate the people of metro PDX and beyond about the Hmong people, our roots, our history, our involvement with the US during the Vietnam War, our reason for being here and why after 40 years people in metro PDX knows nothing about who we are let alone our food. And that Hmong food truly is a humble people's food that has been mixed with those whom we lived amongst.
Best piece of advice you ever got about cooking: Don't burn your rice!
If you could only eat one meal forever, it would be: Pasta
Favorite food: Sweets
Recommended reading: Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the Americans, and the Secret Wars for Laos
Best meals: Anything I don't have to cook!
Food you’d like to try: All the world's food before my journey ends
Additional comments: Oregon's Hmong population is estimated to be about 3000 and the community has been making OR home since the late 70's. Yet, after all this time the Hmong community has not been as active in OR as I'd like in promoting who we are and our contribution to American history. When I moved here from WI 2.5 years ago, I noticed the food desert for my people and the lack of awareness of my culture and cuisine in the broader community. Thus began my journey to introduce and create a Hmong food movement through my business which I launched in September 2017 with the first phase being my food cart (@La's, a Hmong Food Cart). I'm also proud to say that this is the first time in OR's Hmong history that a woman is leading the charge in this endeavor. I should also note that I am bringing community together through Hmong women leadership via a network that I launched in October 2017, Hmong Women Today Oregon. Also, a first in OR's history for the Hmong people.