Kim Sơn (restaurant)

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Kim Sơn restaurant and headquarters in East Downtown
Kim Sơn Ballroom, East Downtown
Kim Sơn in the Southwest Houston Chinatown

Kim Sơn (About this sound listen) is a family-owned chain of restaurants in Houston, Texas, that serves both Vietnamese cuisine and Chinese cuisine. As of 2009 Tri La is the owner of the restaurant group.[1] The restaurant group headquarters is in the restaurant in East Downtown.[2]

金山 Kim Sơn was founded in Vinh Long, Vietnam, by the family matriarch Kim Su Tran La. When the Communists came to South Vietnam, Kim and her family fled Vietnam in 1979 to Malaysia. In 1980, the family received approval to join relatives already in the United States.[citation needed] On August 16, 1980, the family arrived in the United States by boat; on their way to the United States pirates had attacked their group in an area in the South Pacific.[3] The family re-established the restaurant in Houston's Downtown Chinatown in 1982. Kim and her husband Son oversee all the restaurants with their sons seven sons and daughters.[citation needed] Kim had received vocational training at Houston Community College after arriving as a refugee.[4]

Growth and popularity[edit]

The restaurant has an extensive menu of Chinese and Vietnamese dishes, serves weekend Dim Sum It and quickly became a success and In 1993, the La family opened a new $2 million, 22,000-square-foot (2,000 m2) restaurant and banquet facility diagonally across from the original location. At the time it was the largest Chinese restaurant in the state of Texas. A location existed at 7531 Westheimer at Hillcroft, but it has closed.[citation needed]

The success of the restaurant has led to the opening of two additional full service restaurants. One in Stafford, Texas, and the new 35,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) restaurant and ballroom at Bellaire and Wilcrest Boulevards in Houston. Both new locations are located in southwest suburbs that have thriving Asian communities. The company has also opened as several smaller outlets in Houston with limited menus called "Little Kim Sơn."[citation needed]. The chain has become one of the best known restaurants in the state of Texas and has received accolades from such prestigious magazines as Bon Appetit, Esquire, and Food & Wine.[5] The September 1995 issue of Bon Appetit featured Kim Sơn in an article about ethnic restaurants in the United States.[6] The October 1998 issue of Gourmet's reader's choice restaurant awards ranked Kim Sơn as having the "Best Value" in the Houston and New Orleans areas.[7] In 2003 Kim Sơn was ranked as the "best other ethnic restaurant" in the Houston Business Journal.[8] In 2002 the same restaurant ranked second place of the Houston Business Journal's rankings of the best Chinese restaurants.[9]

In 2005, the La family opened Asia in conjunction with the new L’Auberge du Lac Hotel & Casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana. In 2008, the family opened another Asia in conjunction with Boomtown New Orleans in Harvey, Louisiana.[citation needed]

In 1995 Allison Cook of the Houston Press described Kim Sơn as the most prominent "success story as the Great Houston Restaurant Parable."[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barr, Greg. "The Mint becomes first Houston community bank to open in 2009." Houston Business Journal. Friday January 9, 2009. Retrieved on October 7, 2009.
  2. ^ "Contact Us." Kim Sơn. Retrieved on September 1, 2012. "2001 Jefferson Houston Texas 77003 USA"
  3. ^ Qaddumi, Thora. "Fortune smiles on four local firms." Houston Business Journal. Friday August 27, 1999. 3-4. Retrieved on October 7, 2009.
  4. ^ "Exit Vietnam: Photo shows Vietnamese transformation". Houston Chronicle. August 16, 2008. Retrieved October 19, 2010. 
  5. ^ "About Us." Kim Sơn. Retrieved on October 7, 2009.
  6. ^ Criswell, Ann. "Two hums up for Mideast chickpea dip." Houston Chronicle. Wednesday August 30, 1995. Food 1. Retrieved on October 7, 2009.
  7. ^ Briggs, Margaret L. "Dish." Houston Press. October 1, 1998. Retrieved on October 7, 2009.
  8. ^ "Best Other Ethnic Restaurant." Houston Business Journal. Friday April 4, 2003. Retrieved on October 7, 2009.
  9. ^ "Best Chinese restaurant: P.F. Chang's China Bistro." Houston Business Journal. Friday April 5, 2002. Retrieved on October 7, 2009.
  10. ^ Cook, Allison. "Evolution of a Watering Hole." Houston Press. February 16, 1995. 1. Retrieved on October 7, 2009.

External links[edit]