Vietnamese-born TikTok chef whips up real-life Los Angeles restaurant after virtual success


In a world reshaped by the pandemic, where virtual connections often take center stage, one talented Vietnamese-born chef, Tue Nguyen, has managed to turn her digital success into a vibrant reality. From the confines of her kitchen, she rose to TikTok stardom by sharing her love for Vietnamese cuisine. Now, she’s taking a leap into the bustling culinary scene of Los Angeles, opening her own restaurant after a whirlwind journey of creativity and determination.

From TikTok Stardom to Restaurant Reality

Tue Nguyen, a dynamic 25-year-old chef, found herself catapulted from the virtual realm to a brick-and-mortar restaurant near Los Angeles, aptly named Di Di. Her TikTok videos showcasing the art of crafting traditional Vietnamese dishes struck a chord with viewers during the lockdowns. Now, as the world reopens, Nguyen has transformed her dreams into a reality that delights both her followers and local diners.

Cooking from the Heart: Embracing Heritage

Nguyen’s culinary journey began with a yearning to connect with her Vietnamese roots. While she attended culinary school to grasp the fundamentals, it was her deep-rooted heritage that truly ignited her passion for gastronomy. Reflecting on her upbringing, Nguyen explains, “I genuinely didn’t learn how to cook until… I really looked back at what I grew up with. And that’s the taste of my mom’s cooking.”

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Nurturing a Culinary Legacy

At the heart of Nguyen’s culinary adventure lies the influence of her mother and stepfather, who imparted not just cooking skills, but also a profound appreciation for flavor and tradition. Their guidance echoes in her ears each time she steps into the kitchen, reminding her to create dishes that are both delicious and heartfelt.

A Digital Evolution: From Mukbangs to Cooking Delights

Nguyen’s online journey began with mukbangs, a trend where people live-stream themselves eating. However, it was her cooking videos that truly resonated with audiences on platforms like TikTok. As viewers’ appetites expanded beyond just watching, Nguyen saw an opportunity to educate and inspire, sharing recipes that demystified the art of Vietnamese cooking.

Crafting a Unique Culinary Identity

Unlike traditional paths to restaurant fame, Nguyen’s approach was unconventional yet successful. She first introduced her online creations through pop-up restaurant events, gauging the response of eager diners. Her digital presence, with hundreds of thousands of followers across social media platforms, only fueled the anticipation for her real-world culinary venture.

Bringing the Digital to Reality: Di Di’s Debut

Di Di, adorned with oversized armchairs, golden accents, and lush greenery, officially opened its doors to the public. The name, which translates to “Let’s go” in Vietnamese, encapsulates the essence of Nguyen’s culinary journey. Her meticulous attention to detail is evident in every corner of the restaurant, creating an inviting space that welcomes patrons to experience the flavors she holds dear.

A Harmonious Fusion of Tradition and Technique

Nguyen’s culinary prowess is a harmonious fusion of the skills she honed in culinary school and the cherished recipes passed down through generations. Her dishes carry a distinct essence, bearing the mark of her personal touch while rooted in the rich culinary heritage of Vietnam.

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Embracing a Personal Brand

Nguyen’s foray into the competitive gastronomic scene of Los Angeles is driven by her unique story and heartfelt passion. Di Di isn’t just a restaurant; it’s a celebration of the culture that raised her and the journey she’s undertaken. Nguyen’s vision is clear: “I have my story. I have my heart. That is really what makes this place special,” she says. “This restaurant is about just celebrating the culture that raised me and a picture I’m really proud of.”


In an age of digital connectivity, Tue Nguyen’s trajectory from TikTok sensation to restaurant owner exemplifies the power of passion, heritage, and determination. As she continues to craft culinary delights that pay homage to her roots, her story serves as an inspiration to aspiring chefs and food enthusiasts alike. Di Di not only offers a delectable dining experience but also stands as a testament to the fusion of virtual creativity and real-world success.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How did Tue Nguyen rise to TikTok fame? Tue Nguyen gained popularity through her TikTok cooking videos, where she shared her expertise in crafting Vietnamese dishes.

2. What inspired Tue Nguyen to open her restaurant, Di Di? Tue Nguyen’s dream of opening a restaurant was driven by her passion for cooking and her desire to celebrate her Vietnamese heritage.

3. How did Nguyen’s upbringing influence her culinary journey? Tue Nguyen credits her mother’s cooking and her stepfather’s guidance for shaping her culinary skills and appreciation for flavors.

4. What sets Di Di apart from other restaurants? Di Di offers a unique blend of traditional Vietnamese recipes and modern culinary techniques, all curated by Tue Nguyen’s personal touch.

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5. How has Nguyen’s digital presence impacted her restaurant’s success? Tue Nguyen’s substantial online following has contributed to the excitement surrounding Di Di, showcasing her ability to bridge the gap between virtual and real-world culinary experiences.