Vietnam War refugee recounts escape from Saigon
Sept. 7, 2017
There are 10,000 Vietnamese immigrants living in Arizona. Among them is Chan Tieu, the owner of the Vietnamese restaurant, unPHOgettable.
Tieu escaped Vietnam at 10 years old after the fall of Saigon in 1979. He and his family and 420 other refugees battled through difficult times, “We left in August… unfortunately, that’s monsoon season. We went out to sea and got caught in a typhoon. We were pirated four times on the ocean. They took everything we had. They broke our engine, they broke our navigation system and they just let us float into the sea.”
After two years, Tieu and the others were eventually rescued and relocated to Allentown, Pennsylvania. He would graduate college, marry and have two children. Tieu relocated to Phoenix for his work in IT. He opened his restaurant in 2009. Tieu says he is grateful for his parents’ sacrifice, “My dream is not just my dream anymore. In terms of the American dream, I believe in it.”