Mama La's Story


Kim Su Tran La (known affectionately as “Mama La”) founded Kim Son Restaurants in Vinh Long, Vietnam, but fled her home country in 1979 to Malaysia with her husband and seven children after the Communists overtook South Vietnam. After receiving approval to join relatives in the United States, the family journeyed by boat over the South Pacific enduring rough seas, inclement weather and even a pirate attack before arriving in Houston, Texas on August 16, 1980.

In 1982, Mama La re-established her Kim Son restaurant with her husband, Son, in Houston’s Chinatown. With more than 250 recipes committed to memory, she tapped into her extensive knowledge of restaurant operations and traditional Vietnamese cooking passed down from her mother-in-law to put her new restaurant on the map.

Kim Son quickly became an institution serving thousands of patrons and earning accolades from some of the toughest food critics in the United States in top publications like Bon Appétit, Esquire, and Food & Wine.

Today, Kim Son continues to thrive and Mama La is grateful to her thousands of fans and guests who have enjoyed her cooking since 1982. Now she is happy to share the warmth, tradition and culinary treasures of her Vietnamese culture with even more people through the Mama La’s line of products. All prepared with care and available at a retail store near you.