Georgia Hmong New Years 2010-2011

Friday, November 26, 2010

Video of the Georgia Hmong New Years. My mom and sis are in this video. I seriously was trying to avoid being interviewed when I was wearing Hmong, hehehe.

Spoken in Hmong and English



Grief and unanswered questions for family of Jason Yang

Monday, November 22, 2010

Jason Yang's parents wait to be let into the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office

Late on Friday, November 19, Mee Yang finally saw the body of her husband, Jason Yang, who died on November 13 after a police chase from the Epic nightclub in downtown Minneapolis. Yang was allowed to view her husband's body, accompanied by a registered nurse, after obtaining a court order. She was accompanied by Michelle Gross, from Communities United Against Police Brutality who is a registered nurse, but had to stand behind glass to see the body. They were not allowed to bring a photographer.

The family of Jason Yang, along with more than a hundred supporters had rallied at the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office earlier on November 19, asking to be let in to see his body. Yang's wife, along with his siblings and parents, with the support of Communities United Against Police Brutality, asked that they be allowed to take photographs and determine for themselves whether they believe he died from jumping off a parking ramp.

Jason's wife, Mee Yang, would have been allowed to enter to see the body in the morning, with Jason's parents, but his brothers and a photographer and members of CUAPB would not be allowed in. Not wanting to see the body without supporters, Mee Yang and Jason's parents decided against viewing the body.

"I'm hoping to get some answers," Mee Yang said after the rally. "It makes me so angry. That they don't understand how hard this has been for me and my family—especially my little boys who were so close with their Dad. I just seek answers, that's all, and justice especially if there was any wrongdoing—but you know at this point I'm trying to do is seek answers for some closure."

John Yang, Jason's brother, said the HCME never asked the family to identify the body, that instead they had used his photo identification. He said they tried before to go in and see the body, but HCME refused to let them.

He said the reason the family wants to see the body is to see if there is any evidence. When asked what evidence they were looking for, he said "We're looking for anything. We don't know—we just know there's a lot of questions that need to be answered." Yang said the family didn't want the body released to a funeral home because then any evidence they found would not be able to be used in court.

According to Wameng Moua of Hmong Today, Yang had just started working at Bruce Vento Elementary School in Saint Paul. He had a college degree from Northwestern Bible College and was on the Hmong Chamber of Commerce.

Yang was a much-loved member of the community. He had had always gotten top grades, and had been a star athlete on Central High School's soccer team. "Everyone looked up to him," said his brother John Yang. He and Mee Yang had four young children.

William Palmer, Public Information Officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, said that Yang was one of the instigators of a fight at Epic on November 13. According to the police report, officers pursued Yang on foot. Palmer said Yang ran into a parking lot, then out of the parking lot onto a ramp into Highway 94, where he jumped off the fourth street exit from the barrier. The police report states that Yang was pronounced dead upon arrival by the paramedics. According to Palmer, there are two ongoing investigations about the incident: an Internal investigation by the criminal affairs unit and a criminal investigation.

Not everyone believes the MPD's version of events. Exactly what happened that night at Epic remains unclear. The Minneapolis Police Department has no report for the incident, although they do have a very limited report of the police chase leading to Jason's death, which says that he jumped from a 394 off ramp in downtown Minneapolis.

Some in the Hmong community say that the bouncers at Epic are notorious for beating up on Hmong people. A representative for Epic Nightclub could not be reached for comment.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a witness present at the Epic on November 13 said: "The police were running around, kicking young women, using racial slurs." In a comment that speaks to the level of mistrust of Minneapolis police, the witness also said that, "Everyone was convinced that he [Yang] was killed by police and thrown over."

Many from the Hmong community are still shaken and angry about the 2006 death of 19-year-old Fong Lee, who was shot by a Minneapolis police officer. Rulings in both the criminal and civil court cases surrounding the Fong Lee case have been in favor of the police.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office initially did not allow the family access to the body. "This is not a funeral facility," said Carolyn Marinan, Public Affairs Director for HCME. She said the reason the body hadn't been released to the family yet was because the family hadn't told them to what funeral home to send it. The Examiner's report hadn't been finalized, she said, so she could not say the cause of Yang's death. However, when told that the family wanted to see the body in order to see for themselves any evidence that he might have been killed in a way that was not accidental, Marinan said: "This is a highly regarded institution. They take what they do very seriously."

Marinan said the body could be released to a different facility to do another autopsy, but this would mean the family would have to pay for it.

Outside the HCME's office on Friday morning, John Yang thanked the community for their support. "This means so much to the family. There's so much support," he said. "We're in a tough time right now. We miss Jason. It hurts us." After speaking, John introduced his father, who addressed the crowd in Hmong.



Former Hmong soldier Wa Seng Ly recounts Vietnam War

Wa Seng Ly and his wife, My Thao, who together own Valley American Asian Foods on Elsie St. in Appleton, are photographed on Veterans Day. Seng Ly is a Hmong veteran of the Vietnam War and served as a forward observer (artillery spotter) on a U.S. aircraft during the war. (Post-Crescent photo by Sharon Cekada)

APPLETON — The sky over Long Chiang, Laos showed a hint of daylight as Hmong army Capt. Wa Seng Ly walked to a waiting U.S. Air Force Cessna observation aircraft with an American pilot at the controls.

Ly's watch read 4:30 a.m. that day in February 1972 as the veteran of more than 500 missions as a forward air controller readied for another flight to spot formations of North Vietnamese soldiers and equipment traveling the Ho Chi Minh trail toward South Vietnam.

Flights of American fighter bombers headed toward targets Ly and his American pilot would mark by colored smoke bombs as part of the CIA-directed secret war against North Vietnam from 1961 to 1975. In Long Chiang, Ly's wife, My Thao Vue Ly, waited in fear with the couple's four children that her husband might not return.

As Ly and four Hmong companions walked toward their planes, high above Long Chiang the pilot of a U.S. fighter jet detected movement in the jungle below. The pilot dove, firing a rocket armed with an anti-personnel cluster bomb containing 670 tennis ball-sized bomblets, each filled with 300 metal fragments.

The Hmong soldiers never heard the approaching jet before the bomblets exploded.

A one-centimeter piece of shrapnel the size of a pea sliced into the right side of Ly's head, traveled through his brain and lodged in his head just above the ear lobe, two centimeters from the left side of his skull.

"One of my cousins who knew I was in the area found me laying on the ground about five hours later and carried me on his back to the hospital about a mile away. It was all very scary. It was a nightmare," said Ly, 70, who now lives in Appleton and with his wife operates the Valley American Asian Foods grocery store at 930 W. Elsie St.

Ly is one of thousands of Hmong soldiers who fought in support of the United States during the Vietnam War.

He holds no anger toward the U.S. pilot who dropped the bomb that injured him.

"It was a mistake," Ly said, shuffling his left foot as he rounded a corner in the store to complete some paperwork.

Protecting their country

Ly was 13 years old when he joined the Hmong army in a generations-old battle against communist North Vietnamese forces that controlled much of South Vietnam while attacking Hmong and Royal Laotian military forces.

"We had to protect our country," Ly said.
Ly fought for years against the communist Pathet Lao, attaining the rank of drill instructor.
His work, and his partial knowledge of the English language, caught the eye of an influential neighbor, Gen. Vang Pao, commander of the Hmong military forces.
Pao, now 81, is considered a hero by the Hmong and lives in exile in California. Pao visited Ly and his wife several times during the past few years.
As a forward air controller, Ly's job was to spot targets for U.S. bombers.
Missions were restricted to Laos, which is situated between North and South Vietnam on the east and Thailand on the west. Cambodia meets the southern end of Laos while China and Burma touch its northern border.
The missions were hazardous. Ly's plane crashed several times, once from gunfire and once from a lack of gasoline.
"One time he almost drowned when his plane landed in a pond," My Thao said. "I am just lucky he is alive."
Ly spent from 10 days to three months in Thai hospitals recuperating from injuries suffered in the crashes, but always returned to duty, except for the day friendly fire ended his military career.
"I just could not go back after I was shot in the head," Ly said.
After getting shot, Ly saw a fellow soldier fall dead. The soldier was one of as many as 20,000 Hmong soldiers to die during the secret war. Including civilians, an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 Hmong died during the war, about 10 percent of the Hmong population.
When Long Cheng fell in 1975, the conquering Pathet Lao captured Hmong military records and began a hunt that continues to this day for Hmong soldiers and their families.
Ly and his family escaped first to the Laotian capital of Vientiane and then to Cambodia.
Ly's family came to the United States in May 1976 with few possessions.
(3 of 3)

"We destroyed our photographs and other personal things. If we had been caught with them we would have been killed on the spot," My Thao said.

Making ends meet

The couple and their children traveled to Wisconsin and settled in the Fox Cities with the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay as their sponsors.

They first lived in Combined Locks before moving to Kimberly. On May 18, 1984, the couple became naturalized U.S. citizens.

They purchased the grocery store in 1982 as a partnership and became the sole owners in 1987. They moved to Appleton five years ago.

"We are dependent on ourselves and need help from everyone to be our customers," My Thao said.

Ly, who doctors say is 75 percent disabled due to his brain injury, often sits on a metal folding chair while serving shoppers.

"He is not allowed to lift anything over 25 pounds," My Thao said.
Despite diagnosed difficulties in comprehending and expressing thoughts in his own language as well as troubles with math, Ly cheerfully takes care of business.

Hidden behind the counter is a framed copy of a Post-Crescent front page from 1984 featuring their conversion to U.S. citizenship.

Several other newspaper clippings, including the July 2003 death and funeral of My Thao's father, Nhia Pao Vue, rest in folders in the store.

My Thao said it would be a good thing if the U.S. and Wisconsin allowed Hmong veterans of the Vietnam War to be buried in veterans' cemeteries, but said it's more important to compensate the former soldiers financially for their support of the United States.

Ly receives $300 in monthly Social Security payments and is eligible for Medicare benefits. There is no retirement pay for his nearly 20 years in the Hmong military or his service under the CIA.

It isn't the first time Ly felt the sting of reluctance by his adopted homeland to financially commit to his care.

According to a May 1979 letter from a physician to the diocese regarding a neuropsychological evaluation possibly leading to an operation removing the metal fragment in Ly's head, the physician wrote that it would not be fair for Ly to undergo the operation and hospitalization and "that the taxpayer would be straddled with the payment of such a surgery and hospitalization."

"I have told him the cost would probably be around $6,500 for both and he would have to pay that from his own funds," the evaluating physician wrote.
Financially, Ly doesn't want much to see himself and his wife through their days.

"Our children are all grown now and moved away. The last one moved to Milwaukee in 2009," Ly said. "We have enough food in the store to support us with rice and noodles, which we eat every day."
It's the $300 a month that bothers him.

"I've talked to many of my friends and they receive $600 or $700 a month in Social Security payments. I don't understand why I get $300 a month," Ly said.

But Ly isn't about to challenge the government of the land that sheltered him from persecution and even death in his Laotian homeland.
"I am happy living here," Ly said.


Hmong Cup 2011

Friday, November 19, 2010

I got this from my mom, which was forwarded to her. If you know any  Hmong soccer players, please have them fill this out! Thanks!

Hi folks,

My husband, Blong, has a vision for a Hmong Cup in 2011. This will be different from the other Hmong soccer tournaments, including the Fourth of July one, in that it will be on regulation-sized fields, 90-minute games with certified referees. The purpose is to find the best Hmong teams in the nation. There are several outstanding questions for him (how much should the prize money be? how much should the registration fee be?).

You can help by taking this 10-min survey: It's easy and painless.

Please let me or Blong know if you have any questions or concerns.

Many thanks!

Mai Neng

Dear Friends and Family Members:

I have thought long and hard about putting on a Hmong soccer tournament in Minnesota. At the moment, I am in the research phase. If all goes well, the tournament should happen in August of 2011.

Please take a few minutes to answer the survey below. It will help me to have a better understanding of what I need to do.

I'd appreciate you sending the survey out to your contacts, especially your Hmong friends and family members. They don't have to be soccer players, but if they are, that's great. Just send them the Survey Monkey link and they should be able to access the survey.

The deadline to answer the survey is December 17, 2011 at midnight. Thank you.


Blong Yang


Laos: UNPO Presidency Condemns Persistent Persecution Of Hmong People

Thursday, November 18, 2010

From across the world, UNPO Presidency Members have joined together to express their dismay at the disregard being shown to the lives and rights of Hmong communities in Laos, where military activities threaten thousands of people

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) has been monitoring developments in the Phou Bia region of the Lao People's Democratic Republic with deepening concern over the past months as reports have grown in number – and graphic detail - of the crimes being perpetrated against the indigenous Hmong ChaoFa population.

Military operations, jointly carried out by Lao and Vietnamese troops, appear to be verging on crimes against humanity. But with limited access to the region preventing the scale of the military operation and its human cost from being known the international community is standing by as men, women and children are encircled by what are reported to be four Lao and one Vietnamese battalions.

The UNPO condemns without reservation Vientane’s and Hanoi’s persistent persecution of innocent Hmong people in the LPDR – a people that have previously been the targets of poisonous gas, rocket grenades, machine guns and denial of access to food

American Congressmen have called for a stop to coerced return to the LPDR of Hmong ChaoFa refugees, but the international community must begin – because nothing has been done to date – to stabilise the area, address and investigate gross violations of basic Hmong human rights and to make those acting in the name of the Laotian and Vietnamese governments responsible and accountable for their actions.

The UNPO calls upon Lao authorities to fully implement the recommendations it accepted following the UPR process of the UN Human Rights Council in May 2010 to "[a]dopt and implement the measures necessary to grant the Hmong the same rights and freedoms as the other members of the Lao population in accordance with international human rights standards, including through genuine engagement with the international community on the issue".



Home invasion sends one man to hospital; unidentified suspects threatened to kill family

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

family is left to piece their lives back together after six armed men robbed their Eureka home early Thursday morning, lining up family members on their knees against the wall and threatening to kill them in the process.

The home invasion landed Neng Yang, 51, in St. Joseph Hospital with a two-inch laceration on his head after he was hit with a handgun by one of the suspects who demanded cash from the family. In an interview with the Times-Standard, Yang said the suspects arrived at the house around 5 a.m. on Thursday, taking a slew of items including his wallet, car keys, cell phone and $5,000 in cash.

The suspects, whose identities remain unknown, burst through the front door of the home and yelled “Sheriff's Department,” said Yang's son Trong Yang.

Neng Yang was still asleep when his bedroom door was flung open and a gun was pointed in his face.

”They wanted money, and I said, 'You're gonna to have to kill me because I don't have any,'” said Neng Yang, who was knocked unconscious when one of the suspects, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and bandana, hit him over the head with a handgun three times.

”I was scared,” said Neng Yang, who needed six staples to close the wound. “I've never seen something like that.”

When he regained consciousness, Neng Yang said, the first thing he remembered was his 10-year-old daughter being dragged outside as the men threatened to kidnap her if they didn't get money, at which point Neng Yang directed the suspects upstairs and told them where to find the family's savings.
The rest of the family, meanwhile, was being held on their knees facing the wall at gunpoint in the living room, including Trong Yang, 26.

”They just kept demanding money,” Trong Yang said, adding that he didn't know what was happening to his father when he heard him being beaten because the suspects wouldn't allow him to turn around. “I wasn't sure if they had shot him.”

While the suspects were searching the bedroom for cash they found a couple of stray bullets, Trong Yang said, which were from his newly purchased Colt AR-15 style .22 caliber rifle. At that point Trong Yang said he told them where to find the gun, as well as his father's .32 caliber handgun.

Neng Yang said he and his wife are unemployed, and the family's only source of income is Social Security checks. The couple is originally from Thailand and moved to Eureka in 1991.

Of the $5,000, Neng Yang said $3,000 was money from a car his oldest son just sold, and $2,000 was money that Neng Yang said it took the family years to save.

”Everything's gone,” said Neng Yang, who has lived with his wife and three children on Progress Street for more than 10 years. “I don't know what to do.”
Along with their savings, the suspects stole three video game systems and a laptop computer, and at one point poured water on the TV in the living room, telling the family that if they could not take the item because of its size, the family “couldn't watch it either.”

The suspects then broke into the family's garage, where Neng Yang had 11 small marijuana plants, for which he said he had a Proposition 215 card. The men then fled the home and the family called the Eureka Police Department, which responded a few minutes later.

EPD Detective Terry Liles said he believes that one or more of the suspects must have known the family had cash in the house, and that they were probably not seriously interested in kidnapping the young girl.

”This was definitely not random,” Liles said, adding that the small marijuana grow did not appear to be the main motive for the crime. “They were obviously just starter plants.”

EPD officers later checked for fingerprints left behind throughout the house. The suspects are described as all males in their early to mid-20s, wearing hooded sweatshirts and navy blue or black bandannas over their faces, and ranging in height from 5 feet 2 inches to 5 feet 8 inches.

Because of the bandanas, family members could only offer conflicting further descriptions, something that Liles said complicates the situation.

”It always makes cases like this a little more difficult,” Liles said. “Sometimes it takes a little while to figure this stuff out.”

By noon Thursday, the family had begun cleaning up the mess the suspects left behind, and Neng Yang's oldest daughter Yee Yang -- a 28-year-old certified nurse's assistant at Pacific Healthcare and Rehabilitation -- was home to help.

”We're just going to support each other and try to recover,” said Yee Yang. “There's nothing else we can do.”

The investigation into the case is ongoing, and anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Terry Liles at (707) 441-4032.



UNPO Presidency Condemns Persistent Persecution of Hmong People

From across the world, UNPO Presidency Members have joined together to express their dismay at the disregard being shown to the lives and rights of Hmong communities in Laos, where military activities threaten thousands of people

UNPO Presidency Condemns Persistent Persecution of Hmong People

The Hague, 17th November 2010 – The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) has been monitoring developments in the Phou Bia region of the Lao People's Democratic Republic with deepening concern over the past months as reports have grown in number – and graphic detail - of the crimes being perpetrated against the indigenous Hmong ChaoFa population.

Military operations, jointly carried out by Lao and Vietnamese troops, appear to be verging on crimes against humanity. But with limited access to the region preventing the scale of the military operation and its human cost from being known the international community is standing by as men, women and children are encircled by what are reported to be four Lao and one Vietnamese battalions.

The UNPO condemns without reservation Vientane’s and Hanoi’s persistent persecution of innocent Hmong people in the LPDR – a people that have previously been the targets of poisonous gas, rocket grenades, machine guns and denial of access to food

American Congressmen have called for a stop to coerced return to the LPDR of Hmong ChaoFa refugees, but the international community must begin – because nothing has been done to date – to stabilise the area, address and investigate gross violations of basic Hmong human rights and to make those acting in the name of the Laotian and Vietnamese governments responsible and accountable for their actions.

The UNPO calls upon Lao authorities to fully implement the recommendations it accepted following the UPR process of the UN Human Rights Council in May 2010 to "[a]dopt and implement the measures necessary to grant the Hmong the same rights and freedoms as the other members of the Lao population in accordance with international human rights standards, including through genuine engagement with the international community on the issue".



Judge dismisses some charges against men accused of trying to overthrow government of Laos

Saturday, November 13, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in Sacramento has thrown out parts of the case against 12 men accused of trying to overthrow the communist government of Laos.

U.S. District Judge Frank Damrell Jr. said Friday in a filing that prosecutors had failed to include enough information in some parts of their indictment to allow each of the men to defend themselves. Damrell also found that some of the charges were not supported by the evidence prosecutors provided.

Among two of the five counts that were dismissed was a key contention of prosecutors that the men violated the federal Neutrality Act.

The act prohibits people while in the United States from taking part in a military or naval enterprise against the government of another nation with which the U.S. is at peace.

Damrell said the U.S. Attorney's Office had failed to clearly show that such a military expedition existed, nor did it say specifically what role each defendant is accused of playing.

The government also had to show that the military effort began at some point, which Damrell said it had not.

"The Act requires more than the attempted purchase or transportation of arms and ammunition to a foreign country," he wrote.

The defendants still face charges of conspiring to violate the act.

The men are accused of plotting to send fighters and weapons, including machine-guns and explosives, to Southeast Asia to attack Laos. In his ruling, Damrell also dismissed some of the weapons charges.

A call and email to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento seeking comment on Saturday were not immediately returned.

The defendants include retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Youa True Vang and 11 members of California's Hmong community, many of whom fought for the U.S. during the Vietnam War. All 12 have pleaded not guilty since their arrests in 2007.

Prosecutors are expected to drop the charges against Vang.

The charges against another defendant, Vang Pao, were dropped last year. Pao was a national Hmong leader and former Laotian general.



COEHS honors alumnae with ‘Professor for a Day’

Thursday, November 11, 2010

COEHS honored alumnae, Maiyoua Thao ’01, MSE ’09 and Marjorie VandenBoogaard MSE ’90 (front and center), with Professor for a Day awards.

The College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh takes pride in the achievements of its graduates in both their chosen careers and civic activities.

Each year, through its Professor for a Day program, the college honors two of its alumni who have made significant contributions to their profession and provides a day for them to interact and share their experiences with the college’s students.

This year’s honorees, Maiyoua Thao ’01, MSE ’09 and Marjorie VandenBoogaard MSE ’90, were recognized Nov. 10 during a ceremony at the Pollock Alumni House.

From refugee to community leader

Born in Laos, Thao came to the U.S. in 1988 as a refugee. Thao, of Appleton, earned a bachelor’s degree in human services from UW Oshkosh and set a goal to help the Hmong community. She later earned a master’s degree in counseling with the same goal in mind.

Thao first started helping the Hmong community by coordinating a UW Extension cooking class that taught Hmong women how to cook “American” food and teaching nutrition and food safety. She also hosted a cable TV cooking show called the “Bridging Hmong Show.”

“Maiyoua is very good at maintaining elements of her Hmong heritage while connecting with things that are uniquely American,” said Annette Larie, director of the office of field placement, who recommended Thao for Professor for a Day. “She has a great way of balancing the two cultures and continues to seek out ways to bring the two cultures together across Hmong communities.”

Today, in collaboration with her husband Chungyia Thao ’01, she continues to help the Hmong community through their businesses in Appleton, Universal Translation, Tongxeng Personal Homecare, Thao Properties and Harmony Counseling Center. These businesses have had a significant impact not only on the Hmong community, but the communities in which they operate.

As proof, the Thaos were honored with the 2007 Wisconsin Minority Business Good Citizen award from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce and as the 2008 Business of the Year by the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce.

Thao is also very active within the community. She helps organize the annual Hmong Educational Conference hosted by the Appleton Area School District; serves on a committee to assist new refugees settle in the Fox Cities; serves as a board member for several organizations including Kaleidoscope Academy, a charter school in Appleton; and Good Business, a program of Goodwill of northeast Wisconsin.

“Maiyoua embodies the whole idea of human services,” Larie said. “She is humility with a capital ‘H’. Her first question is always about what she can do to help.”

Compassion and caring for others

For more than 30 years, VandenBoogaard, of Oshkosh, has worked in the “trenches” of elementary education, helping transform students’ lives. She is currently an elementary counselor at Emmeline Cook and Webster Stanley elementary schools, a position she has held for 20 years, and has a master’s degree in counseling from UW Oshkosh.

During her tenure with the Oshkosh Area School District, VandenBoogaard has served on action teams to develop an anti-bullying program, incorporate restorative justice and sponsor school wellness activities. In addition, she helped Webster Stanley become a SAGE (Student Achievement Guarantee in Education) school, a program that seeks to improve student achievement by lowering teacher-student ratios in early grades while increasing community collaboration.

VandenBoogaard also helped develop a collaborative partnership with the college’s Professional Counseling Department, where its students provide weekly developmental guidance lessons in Webster Stanley’s Lighted School House after-school program. In addition, she has served as a site supervisor for the college’s practicum students for 15 years.

“We wanted to honor Margie as a Professor for a Day because of her consistent support of the counseling program and how much she contributes to our students’ learning and development,” said Kelli Saginak, associate professor of professional counseling. “We couldn’t do our job without people like her in the field who are willing to take on and host our students.”

VandenBoogaard is perhaps best known for providing a listening ear, words of advice and advocacy for her students. “I want students to know that entering the counseling profession is more than just a job. Showing up each day is not enough. They will have the power to let others know that it matters that they, too, show up each day. I want them to know that their words and actions impact someone’s life, each and every day,” VandenBoogaard said.

“Margie is a good site supervisor because she is just a really great listener and I know she cares about me,” said Kathy Schoofs, who is completing her school counseling practicum under Margie’s leadership. “She is concerned about where I am as I put what I’ve learned into practice, and she always provides great feedback. I feel very comfortable and very supported working with her.”



HIFO film screenings

Hmong International Filmmakers Organization and Center for Hmong Studies at Concordia University-St Paul will hold its first “Hmong International Movie Stars and Singers Celebration” November 27, 2010, 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. at Concordia University, 275 Syndicate Street N., St Paul, MN 55104. This event is free and open to the public

Local and national filmmakers, actors, actresses are expected to attend. Special guests will include Cha Herr and Sai Yang from Thailand, the stars of “The Legend of Cha Fa” which premiered at the Asian Film Festival in Minneapolis on November 3-13, 2010. The two will perform scenes from the movie on stage and will be available to meet fans in person for photos and autographs.

This special event is significantly created to embrace the talents and skills of Hmong filmmakers, actors, actresses, and musical artists. It will articulate the values and importance of these arts and encourage our youth to be more engaged and our community to be more supportive.

For more information contact Kang Vang at 651-331-8331 or email Also contact HIFO Board Secretary, Kao Chang at 612-220-4727 or email



STYLE | Fresh Traditions IV celebrates Hmong designers

High fashion couture and traditional Hmong design intermingled at the ├╝ber-chic Fresh Traditions IV fashion show Sunday night at the Varsity Theater.

A celebration of community and culture was in full swing. A capacity crowd in formal attire watched a high-energy runway showcase of six Hmong-American fashion designers. The event was a fundraiser for the Center for Hmong Art and Talent.

CHAT Board member Jeff Xiong said the fashion show was like a Hmong New Year (an event that actually arrives in a few weeks).

The designers had been working on their collections since spring in preparation for Sunday's show. Fabric is vital in Hmong culture, and that fact wasn't lost in the collected works.

Each designer was given a challenge by the show's creators: one outfit must contain all five fabrics used in traditional Hmong clothing—hot pink chiffon, neon green chiffon with gold print, deep blue satin, black satin and black velvet—and must be in the same style as the rest of their line.

According to CHAT's website, the history of Hmong art is "rooted and sewn into the fabrics of traditional Hmong clothing where the unique combination of vibrant colors and textures makes the Hmong identifiable."

Effervescent color was undeniably the theme of Fresh Traditions. Professional-looking volunteer models proudly displayed the creative talents of the designers.

All of the pieces are original and are drawn, constructed, and sewn by the designers. The fabric for the challenge pieces came from traditional Hmong stores, said CHAT Executive Director Kathy Mouacheupao.

Designer Chong Moua, 27, of Minnesota, started sewing when she was nine years old and specializes in graphic arts and graphic design. "I'm excited. It's been a really long day," she said. "I love the audience and the guests and the models' energy about Hmong arts."

Her collection, called "Hlub Hmoob," focused on Hmong youth and custom. "I was really heartbroken when I realized that our youth are really idolizing other East Asian cultures and going after other cultures, which I think is great that we can celebrate and be excited about other Asian cultures or other people in countries, but I really wanted to inspire our youth to come back and realize what our heritage and history is and be happy that they are Hmong," she said from a screen onstage.

Backstage, a little girl, Pemola, waited to model Moua's pleated patterned skirt with her graphic designed t-shirt that read in Hmong: I Heart Rice with Water.

Oklahoma designer Khamphian Vang, 31, was attending her first show in Minnesota and applied after she heard about Fresh Traditions from friends. "I am originally from Wisconsin," she said. "I just live creatively. Fabric is my passion." She said she had thought about auditioning for the Project Runway reality show, but heard that it was a very intense environment.

Vang's collection, called "Sparrow," focused on shapes, ease, and comfort. Most of her models wore their hair in an up-do with intertwining braiding. "I knew I wanted their hair up in a bun, and the braids were added for texture."

St. Paul designer Xee Vang's line, called "Refined," was described as "modern with vibrant colors and embellished designs." She said her mother is her mentor and inspired her to design. "She is very supportive of me. I learned a lot of sewing and tricks from her." She said that coming from the Hmong culture she has seen how Hmong people do their embroidery and incorporate all the different colors.

Xee Vang's challenge piece was a contemporary outfit with a puffy, ballerina-style skirt and the top had the required five traditional Hmong fabric attached to the sleeves. It was a clever blend of traditional and modern.

Kathy Mouacheupao started Fresh Traditions four years ago and said the event has gained a reputation as people have discovered it.

"There is more of an interest in it for the models and the designers," she said. "After the first year, we realized that there was actually a need for it because there are a lot of people within the Hmong community that are interested in fashion and so that's why we decided to continue doing it. It's been a really effective way to showcase the different designers and the different talent that's in the community."

The featured designers of the show were Lylena Yang, "Embroidered Elegance"; Chong Moua, "Hlub Hmoob"; Seelia Vachon, "Midnight Fantasy"; Khamphian Vang, "Sparrow"; Xee Vang, "Refined"; and Nonmala Xiong, "Lady in Red."

Funds raised go back into the show, which is entirely run by volunteers, said Mouacheupao. Some of the other volunteers included a model coordinator, make-up artist, hair coordinator, stage manager, and design consultants. CHAT is a Twin Cities based non-profit that "exists to nurture, explore and illuminate the Hmong American experience through artistic expressions."

According to St. Paul's Hmong Cultural Center's "Hmong 2000 Census Publication: Data & Analysis," among U.S. metropolitan areas, "by far the largest Hmong population lived in Minneapolis-St. Paul (40,707)." The analysis also found that the 2000 Census data showed that the U.S. Hmong population is skewed very young. "The Hmong are the only ethnically based population in the 2000 Census to have a median age under 20." This fact was reflected in the predominantly young crowd at Fresh Traditions.

At the end of the show, all the traditional Hmong pieces were highlighted together on the runway, the stage, and a media showcase. "If you look like [the models], you'll get married for sure," Jeff Xiong told the audience.

(Above and below). Minnesota designer Chong Moua specializes in graphic arts and design. Her collection, called "Hlub Hmoob," featured Hmong youth and heritage.

(Above) The crowd started gathering at the Varsity Theater hours before the show began. The event was created and supported by the Center for Hmong Art and Talent.

(Above) Models wait in the dressing room after getting hair and make-up done by volunteers in the industry.

(Above) A model waits his turn for the runway.

(Above) Oklahoma designer Khamphian Vang said fabric is her passion.

(Above) A piece from designer Khamphian Vang's collection, which she calls "Sparrow."

(Above) Models with up-do hair and braids added for texture wait in the dressing room to showcase Khamphian Vang's collection.

(Above) Detail of a model's hair and make-up. Volunteer hair and make-up artists spent hours attending to the models for the show.

(Above) The finished look takes to the runway, in a piece by Khamphian Vang.

(Above) The audience and models enjoyed the high-energy show.

(Above) A model pauses at the end of the runway.

(Above) Designer Cho Moua wants to "inspire Hmong youth about their history and heritage."

(Above) Some audience members viewed the show from Varsity Theater's upper level VIP lounge.

(Above) The Varsity Theater has been the venue for Fresh Traditions the past two years. Here, a couple after the show enjoy the leather seating.

(Above) A model and designer relax after the show.

(Above) A model gets ready to go on the runway.

(Above) Designer Chong Moua's grand finale on the runway.

(Above) A model backstage checks the time.

(Above) Fresh Traditions opened with a hip-hop act.

(Above) Designer Khamphian Vang (middle) poses backstage with her models.


Correction: This article previously misidentified Khamphian Vang as Lylena Yang in several places.



Lakeshore update: Library to show work by Two Rivers filmmaker

Library to show work by Two Rivers filmmaker

MANITOWOC — The Manitowoc Public Library will offer a screening of "My Way Home" by Two Rivers filmmaker Dao Chang at 6 p.m. Monday in the Balkansky Community Room on the second floor of the library, 707 Quay St. Chang, a Hmong-American, will present her award-winning film and discuss her journey to discover her Hmong roots. Born in Laos but raised in Two Rivers, Chang sought answers to questions about her family, the war and her cultural identity. She could not find those answers here, so she traveled halfway around the world to the country her family was forced to flee two decades earlier.

"My Way Home" was produced by docUWM, a documentary media center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Chang created the film with fellow students Jessamy Meyer, Joe Sacco and Meg Strobel.

The film, in English and Hmong with English subtitles, is the winner of the Golden Badger for Student Filmmaking at the 2010 Wisconsin Film Festival. It is the first in the library's Cultural Conversations series of programs. For information, call (920) 686-3036 or e-mail

Reedsville festival set for Sunday

MANITOWOC — The Reedsville Fall Festival is set for 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Reedsville High School.

The Preservation of St. Mary's and Reedsville Lions and Lioness Club are hosting the family event that includes craft vendors, a silent auction, music from an elementary school choir and a lunch.

Adults and high school students will be charged an admission fee. Attendees may bring a canned or non-perishable food item as admission. For more information, call Theresa Worachek at (920) 754-4370.
Felician Village to open new parking lot

MANITOWOC — A new parking lot will soon be available to all visitors of Felician Village, 1635 S. 21st St. The 21st Street parking lot, scheduled to open Monday, will serve as the primary lot for the campus with direct access to the receptionist in the Village Square.

The lot features 69 spaces, including five for handicapped parking. Patients of HFM Lakeshore Family Practice will find designated spaces close to the main entrance. This lot also is available to employees, who will be parking in the spaces farthest from the main entrance.
For more information, call (920) 684-7171.



Hmong Village in St. Paul: 25 Tastes

The newly opened Hmong Village shopping complex in St. Paul makes no apologies: as you walk among the literally hundreds of U-Store-It-style stalls that fill its warehouse-sized space, you quickly become aware that many, if not most, of the buyers and sellers are first-generation Hmong immigrants. Your English will be of only limited use. Even getting into the building is a challenge; it has cryptic entrances labeled with letters, all of which drop you seemingly at random into a steel and concrete labyrinth. (Once you’re in, wander at random until you hit the wall that’s nothing but restaurants — you’ll know it when you get there.)

“Do you have a Hmong guide with you?” asked the avuncular counterman at Kad’s Deli. “Most people, when they come here, have a Hmong guide to do the talking, and explain,” he added, hoping, I think, that perhaps I did have a Hmong guide somewhere whom I’d simply forgotten to introduce.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
When you come to Hmong Village and dine at one or more of its 17 similar food court stall-style restaurants, get ready to:

a) Pay cash
b) Visit some restaurants that only identify their dishes by number
c) Not necessarily know either exactly what you ordered, or whether you got it

Also get ready to:

a) Eat some terrific food for cheap
b) Be charmed by friendly, homespun service
c) Learn to enjoy new stuff

If you’ve eaten adventurously up and down Nicollet Ave. in Minneapolis or University Ave. in St. Paul, much of what’s served at Hmong Village will be familiar to you. But there are a number of surprises hiding among the eateries, and the sheer number of restaurants in such a confined space makes the Hmong Village food court a real (if figurative) trip.

The man at Kad’s Deli explained that the restaurant hours are generally 11am to 7pm. That said, when we arrived at 6pm, a couple restaurants were already shut down (no pig uteri for us, alas), and some of the restaurants stayed open until almost 8. “11am to about 2pm is the best time to come,” he said.

Another vendor exhorted us to come on the weekend, when the place was stuffed wall-to-wall with people and we would feel like we were truly in another country. To our mind, even on a Wednesday night: Mission accomplished.

– James Norton

Maja Ingeman, James Norton, Elizabeth Mead Cavert Scheibel, Nick Scheibel, and Jason Walker contributed to this feature.

Blueberry: Mango Passionfruit Boba Tea ($3)

By the end of the evening, we’d filled three tables with the assorted bits and pieces of about 25 different items from around 15 different restaurants. The mango passionfruit boba tea from Blueberry was the one item we ordered twice, owing to its bright fruit kick, great balance between tart and sweet, and overall unassailable deliciousness. – JN

Fue’s Cafe: Pad See Ew ($6)

Actually having a printed menu, unlike most Hmong Village stalls, makes Fue’s Cafe stand out for the first-timer. Its food does, too, based on its vegetarian Pad See Ew, made as you order with Chinese broccoli, eggs, and delectably wide, hearty noodles. The dish’s special Thai soy sauce was the key, as it elevated a simple noodle-and-veggie concoction into a well-balanced sweet-and-salty delight that was inhaled by our testers, including a 2-year-old, and was worth the trip itself. It didn’t hurt that Fue’s Cafe had samples of the dish out for all to try; after the sample it was a done deal. – JW

Papaya Salad ($5)

This papaya salad had three heat versions. The woman who made ours with a giant mortar and pestle, grinding the peppers before preparing the dish, said ours had “medium” heat. This is disputable, and for Minnesota standards, a flat-out untruth. The “hot” version must be an absolute fireball, yet with all the heat this papaya salad did not lose its flavor. Hot, yes, but the burst of flavors from loads of sweet shaved papaya, garlic, and Thai eggplant still emerged. Papaya salads are relatively common at Hmong Village; Fue’s likely sets the standard. – JW

Fried Black Sesame Cookie ($1.75 for several)

Light, exceedingly crispy, and delicate in flavor, the Fue’s Cafe sesame cookies are as pleasant to look at they are to eat. Reminiscent of an Italian pizzella, and almost exactly like a Norwegian rosette cookie. — JN

Dragon Express: Sesame Chicken with Fried Rice ($5)

Dragon Express didn’t have much to offer — just two entrees and rice, as well as fried bananas and egg rolls. Let’s hope we caught them on an off night, because the sesame chicken was fine, but certainly no better than your average China buffet. Not overly battered and well-seasoned, it didn’t scream MSG and was probably pretty darn good when it was fresh. But with the array of offerings elsewhere at Hmong Village, you’d be hard-pressed to justify this order, unless you were simply dying for an old standby. The fried rice was decent but forgettable. – JW

Famous Deli: Chicken Feet ($4)

An impulse purchase of chicken feet from Famous Deli offered a pungent hit of five-spice and scallion. Though the strong flavors provided a nice balance to the sticky texture, the visceral presentation of bone and chewy skin enrobed in the cold, seasoned gelatin leaching from the feet may prove too adventurous for the average Western palate. – MI

Spicy Chicken ($5)

A more approachable use of the flavors in the Famous Deli chicken feet can be found in the restaurant’s Spicy Chicken. A steaming plate of chicken wings loaded with scallions and hot chili oil, the dish sparkles with contrast — from the crispy deposits of sweet-spicy glaze to the moist, juicy meat underneath. We were sold on the first bite — despite many dishes to taste in one sitting, no wing was left uneaten. – MI

Her Kitchen: Pho Fawm ($6)

You get a lot for your six bucks at Her Kitchen. Yes, the bowl of pho is huge, like bowls of pho all over the city. But it’s really, really huge. And it contains more sources of protein than your tiny brain can accurately assess. From one order, we pulled pieces of beef, fish cakes, shrimp, meatballs, and tripe. (I was fairly sure I didn’t like tripe before trying this dish; now I’m positive. The rubber-band texture was its undoing.)

But tripe aside, the other elements of this dish are, as a whole, delightful. Garnished properly (with judicious scoops of chili paste, MSG, lime juice, and peanuts), the flavor explodes. And the dish’s thin, delicate noodles serve as a wonderful base for all the hot jazz going on up top. – JN

Hmong Bakery & Deli: Roll ($1)

This one is attributable to writer error. I tried to order a taro roll; they were out; somehow they gave me a non-taro roll. It tasted like a roll. If you found yourself at Hmong Village wrestling with, say, a skewer of meatballs or a skewer of lacquered chicken (both reasonable scenarios), rest assured — you can dash over to Hmong Bakery and make that skewer into a sandwich. – JN

Houa Phanh: Pho ($5)

In a pho showdown, the deciding factor is almost exclusively the broth. What Houa Phanh’s beef, shrimp, and meatball version lacks in complexity, it makes up with good, honest flavor. Prior to seasoning, each bite of broth fills your mouth with a mild, pleasantly beefy flavor which dissipates almost completely the instant you swallow — perfect to soothe a sore throat or hangover. Interestingly enough, these rice noodles seem to hold their own the next day — despite having been soaked in broth overnight, they didn’t become the glutinous, saturated mass that day-old pho noodles often devolve into. – MI

Tricolor ($1)

Among all of the stands serving tricolor, there is an excellent chance that no two serve the same version. If you have enough of a sweet tooth to withstand all the coconut and sugar that goes into that cup, one of the no-holds-barred, noodle-pearl-tapioca combinations may be your best bet. Houa Phanh’s smaller cup layered with red, green, and white pearls doused in the coconut-sugar water combination was a more restrained rendition — despite the sweetness of the liquid, the rice pearls offered a neutral, almost salty flavor which mitigated the sugar rush. — MI

Kad’s Deli: Mango Sticky Rice ($3)

This is right up there with Blueberry’s Mango Passionfruit Boba Tea in terms of being the correct way to end a meal. Generously dolloped with mild coconut cream and numerous pieces of fresh mango, the Kad’s Deli mango sticky rice is a simple, literal execution of a classic and essentially foolproof dessert. Worth seeking out and savoring every mildly sweet, bright, and creamy bite. – JN

California Rolls ($6)

Kad’s Deli sells sushi (questionable!) but restricts itself to non-raw fish varieties such as avocado rolls, cucumber rolls, and California rolls (wise!). The California Rolls are not going to put Origami out of business, but for the amount you get, they’re really not too bad — they’ve got a creamy cucumbery snap to them and very mild imitation crab meat — the overall balance is good. Hmong Village is not really the place to be hunting down sushi, but if you for some reason feel the need, you will be neither thrilled nor horrified by the offerings at Kad’s Deli. — JN

The Kitchenette: Hmong Sausage ($2)

“It’s kind of like a brat, but different.” So said our server at The Kitchenette of the long sausage which evoked images of Kobayashi going to town in a hot dog eating contest. Despite the slightly wrinkled, reddish exterior that prepared me to expect a sweetish Chinese-style sausage, this tasted instead like a Swedish potato sausage: mild, meaty, and bursting with juice that, upon biting through the sausage’s skin, could easily dribble down your chin. Pair it with some white or fried rice, and you’ve got a hearty meal of comfort food. – MI

Chicken Kebab ($2)

The moist, tender chicken kebab at The Kitchenette offers a kick of soy first and foremost, rounded out with a bit of garlic. Kept in a hot pan in a display case, each thin piece of gristle-free chicken is carefully threaded on a skewer, glazed, and grilled, keeping the moisture and garlic-soy flavor intact. – MI

K-Pho: Grilled Meatballs ($4)

These two skewers of four meatballs weren’t bad, but they didn’t stand out in any way; a fairly sweet meatball dipped in a fish sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar sauce was reminiscent of an average egg roll without the roll, and the rather pale color doesn’t do them any favors. The meatballs are also offered in a vermicelli noodle salad, and that would probably be a more satisfying choice. Or, get them into a bun for a sandwich — a couple of good-sized rolls, like those at Hmong Bakery & Deli (see above), with these meatballs, and you’ll have a quick, decent, and cheap lunch for two. These meatballs just aren’t what meatballs can be, so they’re better not left to themselves. – EMCS

Mai’s Kitchen: Papaya Salad ($5)

Procuring this papaya salad didn’t start out so well. I looked at the menu, noted some $8 dishes (the most I had seen anywhere else was $6), and just blurted out an order. The woman who took the order started making it, with a large mortar and pestle, and then asked me what I wanted. I stupidly replied, “I don’t know,” to which she replied, “you don’t know?!” I mumbled something about “trying stuff.” She handed the pestle off to another woman, who kindly endured constant questions about what she was putting in. Despite my initial reservations about the prices, $5 gets you a thick, big cup of salad, with lots of ingredients, including cherry tomatoes, another larger variety of tomato, lime, long green beans, Thai eggplant, fish sauce, shrimp paste, and a tamarind sauce. I had plenty of time to ask questions, because each batch is made to order, so be prepared to wait.

I asked for mine medium spicy (“What do you mean by medium spicy?” another employee laughed), and at first bite I wished I’d gone bigger. A minute later, the heat was building in my mouth, and within five minutes I was desperate for some boba tea — so I ended up just right. Compared to the papaya salad at Fue’s Kitchen, this salad was oversauced — less sauce would have let the flavors of the various ingredients come through more and would have resulted in a crisper texture. Still, with the varied ingredients, I found it more satisfying than Fue’s offering, and you can’t disregard the time and elbow grease that goes into this fresh product. – EMCS

Moon’s Kitchen: Tricolor ($2)

For a mere two bucks, you can have probably the most colorful and unusual dessert you’ve ever ingested: three kinds of colored noodles, tapioca pearls, a sweet creamy base, and a few extremely ass-kicking drops of almond and banana extracts. Suck it through a giant straw and brace yourself for the flavor and texture onslaught. (We somewhat preferred the Moon’s Kitchen tricolor to the Y-T Express version that came in a bowl, but the sweet-salty complexity of the Houa Phanh version was probably the consensus favorite.) -- JN

Mrs. Papaya: Congee ($3)

Mrs. Papaya was the first of the restaurants that we visited, and also perhaps the most enigmatic: There were pictures of three different meals posted, labeled #1, #2, and #3. They were out of #3, so we went with #1, which turned out to be a comforting bowl of congee (rice porridge) with fried onions, chicken, cilantro, and a hard-boiled quail’s egg. We were advised to add chili paste, which added a crucial flavor kick to an otherwise quietly soothing dish. -- JN

Nang Kwak: Pho Roll ($5)

The woman making Nang Kwak’s signature pho rolls was pulling the noodles out of a giant bowl that must’ve contained four or five gallons of the soft, pillowy things. An order of pho rolls consists of a long, ghostly white noodle rolled up into tube containing mild ground pork and scallions, cut into six pieces. The underseasoned meat makes sense in context, however; the pho rolls come with a dipping sauce that is hot and funky, containing fish sauce, peanuts, and hot chili peppers. The overall effect is wonderful: tender texture, bright hot flavors, and soothing noodles. – JN

Thai Ginger Deli: Beef Lab with Sticky Rice ($5 for the lab, $2 for the rice)

If you haven’t had lab (or larb or laab), the first thing to know is that it’s made to be eaten with your hands, by grabbing some lettuce or rice and then scooping the rest in. You can get by with a fork, but the fork will never construct a bite as well as your hand. If you have had this dish at a Thai restaurant, this rendition probably won’t wow you. This lab was mild — given another chance, we would have mixed in some chili sauce, because it needed heat. That said, it makes a suitable entree, with a mix of cilantro and minced beef and tripe (at least, we’re pretty sure it was tripe) atop of a bed of lettuce, with a pleasing flavor from toasted rice powder and lime. Do not skip the rice. It was very sticky and with some practice, you can scoop up a bite with all the tasty components with little mess left on your fingers. And don’t fear the tripe on this one; it adds an excellent chewy texture to the minced beef. – EMCS

Yang’s Cuisine: Steamed White Bass ($5)

Asking the man at Yang’s Kitchen, “What’s good?” we ended up with “the fish.” What turned out to be steamed white bass comes on a styrofoam tray wrapped up like a pork chop. Peeling back the plastic wrap, we encountered a pungent odor of rotting fish. Naturally, there was some trepidation. Our fears were unfounded. The smell emanated from the fish sauce used in the delightful pesto-like paste stuffed into the fish’s cavity, and the fish itself was warm and fell from the bone. Inquiring at Yang’s, we learned that alongside fish sauce, the stuffing mixture contains mint, kaffir lime leaves, green onions, chilis, and MSG, as well as other ingredients lost in translation. The fish is wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed whole. Its moist and oily flesh was resplendent with the flavors of the spice mix, and though a bit of a mess to eat, was certainly worth the effort. – NS

Fried Bananas ($1 for two pieces)

If you’re looking for a really fine treat, you should probably skip these. If you just want a cheap, quick snack that will be fairly tasty and take the edge off of your hunger, these fried “bananas” will do the job. Despite being called bananas by a Yang’s employee, they were suspiciously plantain-like in color and sweetness. The taste of the batter was too strong and masked the banana / plantain more than is desirable, and some kind of sauce or topping, for a little more interest to the taste, would have been better, but these made a good appetizer to other, more exciting dishes. Share one of the two pieces; otherwise you’ll be too full to properly enjoy the rest of Hmong Village’s offerings. – EMCS

Y-T Express: Spring Rolls ($2)

Described as fresh-made and certainly tasting that way, Y-T Express’s pair of spring rolls is a bargain. With rice noodles, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, pork meatloaf, shrimp, and crab, the rolls were jam-packed and served with a fantastic sweet peanut paste. As spring rolls go, pretty standard, but for $2, nobody’s complaining. — JW

Chicken Curry ($5)

This dish’s preparation and price was key. For $5 comes a bowl of made-when-you-order noodles packed with giant bamboo shoots, carrots, Thai, eggplant and a small chicken thigh bone, prepared by a woman who quite possibly has prepared curry the same way for 60 years. A simple dish, the flavor of parsley, mild curry, and chili oil dominated into a not-thrilling but certainly acceptable meal. It’s easy to imagine this as a workday lunch throughout the Hmong community. And after learning a valuable lesson from Fue’s, the Y-T’s curry we tried was ordered “mild.” The counter girl said, “If an Asian says it’s not hot, don’t believe them. It will be.” Good advice. – JW

Hmong Village

1001 Johnson Pkwy
St. Paul, MN 55106
11am-7pm (may vary)
BAR: None