Saigon Rex, located in Country Hills Boulevard N.W., is a high-end Vietnamese restaurant. In this seemingly ordinary dining place, the owner has his own rags-to-riches success story, in which he has put in plenty of effort to ensure that the quality of his business is able to stand out from the rest.
Moving from Vietnam to Calgary in 1979, the owner started out from scratch without anything but his strong determination to open his own restaurant. Without much knowledge in English, he started his journey as a dish-washer, which paved the way for his future in the beverage industry. Through years of training and learning, he climbed up the ladder to become a chef, by then his cooking, management, and English communication skills greatly improved. However, instead of continuing to find success in the Western food scene, he humbled himself and chose to work as a busboy and bartender in order to gain experience before being able to start his own business. This hard-working attitude shaped him to become an innovative and creative person so he could achieve and maintain the top-notch quality of his business.
“In this industry, we have to learn every day and think every day, surfing online to know more about what the customers like and dislike then adapt to the changes.”
As a Vietnamese person, the owner has always dreamt of opening a Vietnamese restaurant. Despite being a manager at a Chinese restaurant for eighteen years, he wanted to go back to his roots as he saw Vietnamese food being his ultimate goal, believing that he can make Vietnamese cuisine even better and tastier.
The veteran cook also knows how to operate a business and cater to customers’ needs well. Understanding that a good team is just as important as the food quality, he manages his staff skillfully and uses high-quality ingredients such as lobsters for Saigon Rex’s signature dish, the curry lobster noodle soup!
The overall environment at Saigon Rex is also neat and clean, with a sleek design that enables diners to enjoy both their meals and the luxurious environment. The owner is always striving to provide a high-end Vietnamese cuisine experience, wanting to make it different from other restaurants.
Being one of the few high-end restaurants in Calgary that have ensured the quality of food, Saigon Rex is definitely worth the time for you to try it out. For now, they are still accepting both takeout and delivery orders. The health of both their staff and their customers are their top priorities! By supporting local businesses together, we can all get through these tough times!
Address: #520 5149 Country Hills Blvd NW
Hours: 11AM – 9PM daily
Author, interviewer and photos: William Leung
Producer: Brian Wong