When Noobtsaa Philip Vang (GRD ’16) moved to Washington, D.C., from Minnesota for his MBA program at Georgetown in 2014, he found himself craving his mother’s home-cooked meals. But as a Hmong-American, Vang had trouble finding anything resembling his family’s cuisine in the District’s restaurants.
According to the 2010 census, D.C. has the sixth-largest Asian-American population in the United States. However, Vang said the restaurant scene did not fairly represent that demographic.
“I thought, ‘Why am I not able to right now, go down the street and find somebody who’s maybe Southeast Asian or has foods that are similar to my upbringing — find an aunty or grandma who’s making up some food and buy some food from them?’” Vang said.
Inspired by this idea, Vang recognized the potential for a food-sharing business that would empower immigrants to offer their cuisine to customers wanting a taste of food from back home or desiring a new culinary experience. Vang developed the idea in business classes. Last week, he launched Foodhini, a startup that connects customers in the D.C. area to home-cooked meals made by an emerging immigrant chef.
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