Vietnamese-American Women Move to Vietnam to Discover Their Culture in New Series ‘The Take Over’
By Bryan Ke
September 28, 2018
Meet Celina Huynh and Vanessa Le, the stars of a new series called “The Take Over,” which features two Vietnamese-American women who move to Saigon, Vietnam to explore their culture firsthand.
“The Take Over,” a documentary-style series published by Thuy Nga Productions, follows the experiences of Le, 30, and Huynh, 23, who are both from Orange County, California.
Le is a entrepreneur and model with a diverse background in several business industries including restaurants, fashion, real estate, and entertainment.
Huynh graduated from NYU in 2017 with dreams of working in media, but flew to Vietnam when a family member became ill. She has been in Saigon since acting, modeling, and DJing for fun.
Both women have moved to Vietnam with no plans to leave for the time being.
In the first episode of the show titled “Banh mi Babes,” which first aired on Thuy Nga’s YouTube channel on September 23, Huynh and Le set out to learn how to prepare traditional Banh Mi, which is a type of a baguette sandwich popular in the country that comes with vegetables, meat, and different kinds of sauces.
But before they could go and do that, they first have to shop for the ingredients that they will use.
Once done with their shopping, the ladies begin their study on how create a traditional banh mi under the guidance of a seasoned street vendor, who they call their “banh mi teacher.”
The two stars then go on to prepare their very own versions of the sandwich that are also popular in California.
“First of all, it was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be,” Huynh said nearly halfway through the episode. “When you’re on the other side ordering a banh mi they make it look so easy, so simple. They just throw the pickles in, throw the pate, throw the meat, wrap it up, and give it to you.”
“But when you’re on the other side, it’s just so chaotic. You have crowds of people around you, and you have all the cars and scooters; it’s a very high-stress environment.”
“The struggle was so real, if you noticed, the cheese has already melted before I even put it on the banh mi,” Le said. “You can imagine how hot and sweaty I felt standing there, trying to make this banh mi, this amazing creation, but it was so super hot that I could barely focus.”
After showcasing their creations, both Huynh and Le moved on from making the sandwich to selling them to potential customers.
And just like that, people flocked to their food stall to try out their banh mi.
It seems like the public really liked what Huynh and Le created.
Le told told NextShark that the inspiration for the show came from the great and late Anthony Bourdain and his similarly-styled “Parts Unknown” series. It was after filming their first episode that news of his death had reached them.
So far, Le’s experience in Vietnam has opened her eyes to the power of perspective. “Some people have so much and they are unhappy while others can be happy with so little,” she told NextShark.
“People at banh mi carts are very happy selling banh mi although they are in the hot sun and making close to $12 a day. It’s all perspective.”
Both Huynh and Le hope to share more of their experiences in “The Take Over” with other Asian-Americans.
So far, the duo has filmed four episodes with hopefully more to come. Episodes are released every Sunday at 7 p.m. Pacific Time on the Thuy Nga YouTube channel.
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