director@kapisanan: eating inspiration

Jeff and Nuit poses in their restaurant A view of Sukho Thai's interiors

Friday night date night with my husband. We’ve been trying to hit this restaurant Sukho Thai on Parliament St. for a while. We finally went in last night. It’s run by a young couple, a Thai woman named Nuit, and a Filipino-Canadian dude named Jeff. They met in Thailand fell in love with each other over food. She’s the amazing chef, he runs the floor. If you check out their site, the reviews are crazy amazing. And the food is just plain crazy stupid. I mean that in the best way possible. Really. This is the only Thai food you should be eating in the city.

He gave us the dish that people apparently go there for, Khao Soi:  Chicken or beef with yellow noodles in curry gravy with green onions, coriander with crispy noodle topping..  Jeff said that it’s a specialty from Northern Thailand, influenced by Burmese cooking. I am not a foodie at all, so I am not going to even try to use my very limited food vocab to try and describe it. Party in your mouth. Just go.

a bowl of khao soi from Sukho Thai

The place is doing amazing. They only have like, nine tables. Always busy. Awards, great reviews. And Jeff said the restaurant doesn’t even have a Facebook page, what?! We chatted with him for a minute to talk about business. His parents are also partners in the business. He talked about how it was scary at first, and we got to talking about how Filipinos just aren’t very entrepreneurial.  Well, Jeff and his wife and family are doing amazing. In fact they are thinking about opening up a new place (they only opened two years ago). I congratulated him for the amazing success and the amazing food.

It’s inspiring for me to see a young Filipino dude run a business.

According to Statistics Canada (2006) only 4% of Filipino-Canadians are self-employed or own businesses—that’s across Canada. I can safely say that we are probably the least entrepreneurial out of all the Asian populations. We don’t have a Filipino-town or business district. I feel like we are invisible because of that. Vietnamese, Koreans, and Chinese people kill it with the restaurants.  It’s one of those things I talk to the young people at the K about. Many say it’s too scary. It’s not stable. Their parents wouldn’t approve.

There’s been a great push for entrepreneurship as part of the city’s larger economic development plan to mitigate the recession. Nothing is stable or secure out there anymore, really. We have made it part of our mandate at KAPISANAN to support and encourage Filipino youth, particularly creative young people (being an arts organization and all) to be entrepreneurial about their creativity.  The thing is, all entrepreneurs have to be creative to be successful.

For me, thinking like an entrepreneur comes naturally, perhaps because I grew up with my mom always trying to make that extra buck running several businesses. Though at the end of the day being a successful entrepreneur is just about, as Jodee (K’s Programs & Outreach Manager, and owner of Pretty Freedom) says, “never having to write a resume again.”

Amen to that.