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A Vietnamese Family Selling 10,000 Chicken Wings a Week Is Opening a Little Saigon Restaurant

Sweet buttery, garlicky sauce covers crispy chicken wings at Mama Hieu’s, which debuts soon in Westminster

An aluminum tray lined with checked paper filled with fried chicken wings with a side container of pickles.
Vietnamese chicken wings and pickles from Mama Hieu’s in Little Saigon.

After losing their jobs during the pandemic, Nho Thi Le and her son Jimmy Le thought long and hard about what their options could be. Seeing the success that their Vietnamese-style chicken wings had become at family gatherings, in 2021, they decided to sell them out of their Garden Grove home to the public through a venture called Mama Hieu’s.

For the better part of two years, Nho Thi Le (lovingly referred to as Mama Hieu) and Jimmy have served up thousands of Vietnamese-style chicken wings a week, anywhere from 10,000 to more than 13,000, out of their Garden Grove home to myriad fans, including Los Angeles Times’s fried chicken aficionado Jenn Harris, who first wrote about the wings for a wider audience. Now, getting those wings will get much easier when Mama Hieu’s opens its first restaurant in Westminster in late January in the heart of Little Saigon. Currently, the Les are waiting on an inspection and will open once they receive final approval from the city.

This storefront won’t be their first foray into the restaurant business. Before losing both of their restaurant jobs during the pandemic, they had more than 35 combined years of experience in commercial kitchens. Nho Thi last worked as head chef at Pho 88 in Fullerton and Jimmy was most recently a cook at Ballast Point Brewing in Long Beach.

Two men and their mother hold chicken wings in front of their soon to open restaurant.
Jimmy Le, Nho Thi “Mama Hieu” Le, and Phu Le of Mama Hieu’s.

As for the wings, they’re crispy, garlicky, and packed with umami, meaning it would be unwise to compare Mama Hieu’s to big chains like Wing Stop or Buffalo Wild Wings. The flavors here are steeped in the Le’s Vietnamese heritage and flavor palate.

“What makes Mama Hieu’s wings so special is the thoughtfulness and care involved in each ingredient and step in the cooking process,” explained Harris via email. “From the eight-hour marinade to the specific combination of starches in the coating, to the way the garlic tossed in with the melted butter sauce is sauteed, but only slightly, contributes to these being some of the most satisfying wings I’ve ever tasted,” says Harris.

Mama Hieu’s current flavor options include original garlic or spicy garlic served with scoops of white rice, fried onions, sweet chili sauce, and pickled vegetables. The Les promise an expanded menu when the restaurant opens, such as a new fish sauce glaze, but it won’t stray too far from what has brought it success thus far. Even though they sell thousands of wings out of their home right now, they could make even more with this commercial kitchen. “Party trays have been our biggest sellers so far,” says the younger Le. The 1,300-square-foot space also offers 24 seats for folks to enjoy the wings and other dishes on the premises.

The Les are grateful to be taking part in this venture together. “I’m working with family and we’re used to working hard. Six to seven days a week from 9 in the morning to 9 at night,” says Jimmy. “My mom loves to feed people, so this means a lot.”

Mama Hieu’s is located at 9090 Bolsa Avenue, Westminster, CA, 92683. The Les will continue to operate out of their home until the restaurant opens either later this month or in early February, pending permits.

Wings and rice in a brown box.
Wings with rice, sweet chili sauce, and pickled vegetables in a takeout box.
Asian chicken wings with white rice in a takeout box at Mama Hieu’s in Los Angeles.
Split serving of wings with rice at Mama Hieu’s.

Mama Hieu's

9090 Bolsa Avenue, Westminster, CA 92683 Visit Website