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“Before Lido opened, the district only had a couple pho shops and a few mom-and-pop restaurants, not the kinds of businesses that bring in non-Asian diners,” Ba Luong says. “This was before pho became huge, of course. Lido brought fresh, West Coast-style Vietnamese food to Oklahoma City, and people responded. It was the first restaurant in the district to start pulling in lunch diners from downtown and the Capitol.” The Lee family bought Lido in 1990. Tri Luong himself put in the call to friends who were then living in Southern California. The restaurant and the center Vermicelli bowl from Lido in which it’s located have been an anchor in the district ever since. The menu is expansive, but its diversity allows for beginning and experienced diners alike to find dishes they love. Vermicelli bowls and spring rolls remain popular choices, but deeper into the menu, Vietnamese comfort foods such as Salt and Pepper Squid and Thit Kho To (caramelized pork in a clay pot) bring in Vietnamese diners and non-Asians who know their way around the cuisine. The center, originally called Little Saigon, has a new tenant, too, and it’s one of two national, Vietnamese-themed chains in the metro, the other being Lee’s Sandwiches. Bambu started in San Jose, California, in 2008 and has since expanded around the country. The concept is focused on chè, which are dessert drinks made with coconut milk or coconut water, but also offers coffee, tea, smoothies and juices. “It’s a dessert concept,” Ba Luong says, “so you can eat spicy at Lido or Tsubaki Szechuan and then go cool off at Bambu.”

“[my father] made the push to be more inclusive, to be an Asian district, not a Vietnamese district.” - Ba Luong -

Super Cao Nguyen co-owner Ba Luong

SEPTEMBER 2018 405 MAGAZINE

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Profile for 405 Magazine

405 Magazine September 2018  

405 Magazine is the definitive city and lifestyle magazine of central Oklahoma, featuring people, places, events, dining and culture.

405 Magazine September 2018  

405 Magazine is the definitive city and lifestyle magazine of central Oklahoma, featuring people, places, events, dining and culture.

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