The year was 1984 - when Reagan was re-elected for president and Prince released the masterpiece that was Purple Rain. It was also the year that brought Trung Nguyen, owner of OoLaLa, from Vietnam to The United States of America.
He was 24 and went to school for computer science. Shortly after graduating, he got into software architecture and never looked back. For the next 20 years, he built software structures for international corporations by day, but it was when he was at home in Parsippany, a town in Morris County, NJ, that his real passion revealed itself: food and cooking. He was most interested in recreating the dishes he had left behind in his youth - staples like pho (a rice noodle soup), banh mi (a unique kind of sandwich), and com (rice dishes), which were unique to Vietnamese history and culture. I remember feeling like it was Christmas every time I found him stewing up a big pot of broth, simmered for hours with fragrant spices and poured over tender meats and steaming rice noodles. In Vietnam, it would be common to eat pho every day, but in Parsippany, it was reserved only for the occasional treat.
As I was growing up, my dad liked to say it was his dream to one day open a Vietnamese restaurant. It was only until I was about to graduate from college that this dream actually became a real possibility. He finally had the opportunity and wasted no time, aspiring to do what he truly loved to share Vietnamese culture with the community. Thus, OoLaLa was born.
At OoLaLa, Vietnamese culture meets its American counterpart. You'll find the distinct and unique flavors of everything beloved in our heritage - whose culinary influences range from France to China to the ancient Cham civilization - intertwined with elements of modern America. It's our hope that you'll not only enjoy a delicious meal when you visit, but also learn something new about the richness of our culture along the way.