Cooking with parents: Peli Peli owner makes Vietnamese dish with his mom

HOUSTON – If you haven’t had Vietnamese spring rolls yet, you’re missing out. They’re the perfect starter dish for the summer season, and we’ve got the perfect recipe for you to try. Peli Peli Co-owner Thomas Nguyen shares his family’s take on the staple, plus some insider secrets from his mom, Lan Nguyen.

Thomas Nguyen, Co-owner of Peli Peli, shares his mother's recipe for Vietnamese spring rolls and memories of mom and food from his childhood. (KPRC)

“This is actually the first time in 40 years I’ve been able to cook with my mom,” said Thomas. “I know that sounds terrible.”

Thomas admits he didn’t full appreciate his mother’s cooking until he grew older. As a child, and as with most children, he disliked vegetables and spicy foods. Lan says Thomas often preferred the American food he would get at school lunches over her home-cooking.

Thomas Nguyen, Co-owner of Peli Peli, shares his mother's recipe for Vietnamese spring rolls and memories of mom and food from his childhood. (KPRC)

“When he was young, he was really picky, and he didn’t want to eat the Vietnamese food, but I made him eat it,” said Lan. “And now he eats everything.”

Both Lan and Thomas laugh at these memories, noting the irony that Thomas is now in the restaurant industry. Looking back, Thomas realizes now how significant an act his mother’s cooking actually was for others.

Thomas Nguyen, Co-owner of Peli Peli, shares his mother's recipe for Vietnamese spring rolls and memories of mom and food from his childhood. (KPRC)

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