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Mamma Hai is a term of endearment. A person who cooks for you when you’re hungry or gives you a place to stay when you’re stranded. She can be your mom, an aunt, a friend, neighbor or even a complete stranger. They are someone who gives a damn and cares about you unconditionally.
Hai means number two in Vietnamese. However, it’s also used to define the eldest family member. For example, Aunt hai is the oldest aunt. brother hai or sister hai is the oldest sibling.
Born in Vietnam, escaped to Japan, and raised in Nebraska, Ngoc Huynh learned how to cook from her mom and aunts. They owned a cafe and catering business and she helped prep and taste test.
Huynh left the midwest for college at Syracuse University and graduated with a degree in journalism. After a career as a reporter with The Post-Standard and also in refugee resettlement with Catholic Charities of Onondaga County, Huynh embraced the culinary world.
Her six-month stint as an entrepreneur at With Love, only fueled the fire for Huynh to share more recipes from her grandma, ma, and aunts with the Syracuse community and beyond.