The Story of How SAAP Kitchen Began…

By Cliffton Douangdara

Hi friends: As we begin the new year, I wanted to reflect a little bit and tell you a story of how SAAP Kitchen began.

This may seem far-fetched but SAAP began as a conversation among cousins during Christmas Eve of 2015. That passionate, beer-fueled conversation turned into a New Year’s resolution for 2016 (one of very few resolutions that I was actually able to keep, I might add). We shared our dream of what we want Lao food to be in America and how come we aren’t doing anything to make that vision into a reality. We all agreed that no matter what, we need make it happen in 2016. What began as a promise to have one pop-up before year-end turned into a viable business with several events under our belts. I think we all underestimated what our collective dream and collective effort can accomplish in one year. To say that it has been a wonderful and unexpected ride is an understatement, for sure!

However, our story just didn’t start on Christmas 2015. It has been going on for generations. Our grandmother and mothers found their purpose in cooking. When not in school, our mothers would help our grandmother work the food stands at the day market back in Laos. They’d cook up delicious foods for patrons doing their daily shopping. Our moms brought that tradition and knowledge to America where they would cook wonderful feasts for our family to enjoy. Memories of family gatherings, where there was so much food there would be leftovers for days even after everyone took several tupperwares back home with them, dominate my childhood. In fact, our childhood was literally shaped by food and our life-long dream was always there in the background waiting for the right moment to spark that entrepreneurial spirit in all of us.

Fast forward to today and we are 6 cousins pursuing this dream with every fiber of our being. We want, so badly, to share this love and our family’s food with the world and we are extremely grateful that we now have an opportunity to do it.

In the coming weeks and months, I will write a little bit more about our story. I will tell you how our mothers shaped our lives and the fundamental “why” of our project. It is our hope that our story inspires others to follow their passions because life is better spent when you have purpose.

I just know that 2017 will bring even more great opportunities for our family and I sincerely hope you join us for the ride.

Until next time. Cheers, friends.


Maggie Kennedy