Hmong Chef Yia Vang

From his very first appearance on Twin Cities Live, Chef Yia Vang has made his mark.  He is an award winning chef creating memorable meals for Minnesotans.  Now he’s opening a brand new restaurant called Vinai.

Vinai got its name from the Hmong refugee camp in Thailand that Yia’s parents met at and he was born.  The restaurant represents the past, present and future of Hmong cooking.  It is set to open the spring of 2021.

Until Vinai opens, you can get Chef Yang’s great food via takeout at Union Hmong Kitchen, just outside Sociable Ciderwerks in Northeast Minneapolis or get catering for your next event, too.  Click here for more information.

Lemongrass Ginger Sauce


1/2 cup lemongrass, finely chopped (from about three lemongrass stalks)
3 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped shallots
1 cup scallions
⅓ cup neutral oil
1 tbsp salt
½ tsp of MSG (we use Aji-No-Moto)


  1. Combine lemongrass, ginger, garlic and shallots in mortar and pestle and finely mash until pureed.
  2. Heat oil over medium heat just until smoking, then turn off heat and add mixture from mortar and pestle. Add scallions and stir constantly so it doesn’t burn.
  3. Add salt and MSG and stir to combine.
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