When Ted Ngoy arrived in southern California in 1975, he had never had a donut.
Ted and his family were among the first wave of refugees to flee Cambodia's Khmer Rouge genocide in the late 1970s. They arrived in Orange County, near LA, with a few suitcases and no money.
At first Ted worked as a janitor, but then he started working nights at a gas station to make ends meet. That's where Ted saw his first donut shop.
"It's like this beacon of goodness of America," says Greg Nichols, a journalist who’s written about Ted Ngoy and the donut industry in California. "So he'd go there and get donuts and something in his mind was like, 'Donuts! I can do something with this.'"
Ted saved up money and opened his first shop (top, circa 1977). Then he opened more. Around this time, things in Cambodia got worse, and a new wave of refugees arrived.
Ted and his wife sponsored visas for refugees, set them up with donut shops, trained them in the business, and took a cut of their profits in return. By 1985, ten years after Ted arrived in California with nothing, he was making $100,000 a month.
Ted was living the American Dream. People in the community started calling him "The Donut King."
But it didn’t last. In a very short time, Ted lost it all. And then, he disappeared.
He may not be around, but Ted's legacy lives on. Today there are 5,000 independent donut shops in California, and 90 percent are owned by Cambodians.
This week on The Sporkful, we're exploring the world the donut king built -- and trying to find him.
Listen in to the full episode for those conversations, and to hear what happens in our search for "The Donut King."
-Dary and Sreyrot Chan's gourmet donut shop Sweet Retreat in Long Beach, CA
Interstitial music in this episode from Black Label Music:
- "Hang Tight" by Hayley Briasco
- "I Still Can't Believe" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt
- "Alee" by Hayley Briasco
- "False Alarm" by Hayley Briasco
- "Mouse Song" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt
- "Narwhal" by Casey Hjelmberg
Photos: Dan Pashman, FlickrCC/waltarrrrr, and courtesy of Ted Ngoy
Dan Pashman: In the 1970’s, Cambodia was ruled by a dictator named Pol Pot. In what came to be known as the Cambodian genocide, his Khmer Rouge slaughtered millions of their own citizens, often in areas known as the "Killing Fields". Millions more fled. Refugees poured into Thailand, and many eventually made it to the US. One of those people was a guy named Ted Ngoy. In 1975, he arrived in Orange County, California, outside LA, with his wife and three kids. And he decided to open a donut shop.
Greg Nichols: He was working at a gas station and he was working the night shift, like the graveyard shift. And across the street there was this lit up donut sign and in my mind, it's like this beacon of goodness of America. And he started to go there and get donuts and something in this guy's mind was like, "donut. I can do something with this."
Dan Pashman: This is Greg Nichols, he's a journalist who’s written about Ted Ngoy and the donut industry in California. Ted enrolled in a management training program at a local donut chain called Winchell’s. He learned the business and saved up enough money to buy his own place.
Greg Nichols: Opened his first shop in La Hambra, and it was called, "Christy's". It was the old school donut in the box that the cop station has everyday.
Dan Pashman: Around this time, the situation in Cambodia got worse. More refugees poured into southern California.
Greg Nichols: And all of a sudden, there were tons of people who were looking for work, looking for some kind of opportunity to create a life and Ted Ngoy saw that as a big opportunity for him as well. So he started buying up donut shops. He started scouting locations and building new donut shops. He really had a feeling now for what would make a successful donut shop, with the traffic and everything. And he started leasing them to Cambodians who were looking for some kind of employment. A lot of these people didn't have any money. They fled and he would do it very cheaply or on the promise—oftentimes a the handshake that they would pay him back or pay some percentage of revenue and that's really how it blossomed.
Dan Pashman: Ted and his wife even sponsored visas for many refugees. And the people Ted trained in the donut business then trained others. By 1985, 10 years after he arrived in California with nothing, Ted was making $100K/month from his donut shops.
Greg Nichols: He had hundreds of shops up and down the coast, all the way up to Tub Washington state as far east as Texas. I mean, the dude had dominated the donut market at this point. He was known as the donut king. Everybody knew him that way and he had this huge mansion in Vallejo—I mean, he was living the American dream.
Dan Pashman: But that dream didn’t last. Within a couple years, Ted had lost it all. And then he disappeared.
Dan Pashman: The donut king may not be around but his legacy lives on. Today, there are about 5,000 independent donut shops in California, alone. 90 percent of them are owned by Cambodians.
CLIP (PERSON 1): When you think of Vietnamese, they own nail salons or Pho restaurants. Then the Koreans own the dry cleaners. So you associate with Cambodians owning donut shops.
CLIP (PERSON 2): Whether their parents owned a donut shop, or they used to work in one, or they still do...
CLIP (PERSON 3): They would say, "Oh ya, donut shops are all Cambodians." When you hear that, it's like, yes. It's that pride. It's like, yes, Cambodians are coming up.
Dan Pashman: All that traces back to Ted Ngoy. But where is Ted Ngoy? Today on The Sporkful, the world the Donut King built and our attempt to find him. Stick around.
Dan Pashman: This is The Sporkful, it’s not for foodies, it’s for eaters, I’m Dan Pashman. Each week on our show we obsess about food to learn more about people. And this is another installment in what’s become a series. Call it the "Searching For series". We did "Searching for Rosa Parks Pancakes", "Searching for the Aleppo Sandwich", and now, "Searching for The Donut King". A couple years ago, I was driving around L.A. and that's when I noticed it. There are so many mom and pop donut shops. And I'm a sucker for a good old fashion glazed donut. But when I think of food in L.A. I think of great Mexican food, great Asian food, and beyond that...wheat grass shots. I know, I'm sure there's more than that but the point is, I definitely don't think of donuts. But I began looking into it and my initial search for some basic information turned into an attempt to solve a mystery. Now, when you drive around L.A. and see all these shops, the connection between them is not immediately obvious. Most of them have different names, different branding, and the donut are, like you heard, just really good versions of the greatest hits.
Dan Pashman: Now, let me give you one stat to drive home just how many of these places they have in southern California—in most of America there’s an average of about one donut shop for every 30,000 people. In LA, there’s one donut shop for every 7,000. In fact Dunkin Donuts found it so hard to break into the LA market that in the late 90’s they gave up. Closed all their stores there. Only in the last couple years have they decided to give it another try. And the main reason why it’s so hard—the Cambodians have that market on lock.
Frank Shyong: donuts are everywhere here. It seems like there's one in every strip mall. And a big part of that is the sort of entrepreneurial spirit of Cambodians.
Dan Pashman: This is Frank Shyong, from the LA Times. He covers the Cambodian community and the Long Beach area, where a lot of the community is centered.
Frank Shyong: They come from such chaos and in the aftermath of a civil war and a genocide and so they—the safest thing to do is usually to open their own business because that's something that they can control. So everyone wanted to have their own business. Many of these are sort of mom and pop operations that through sort of this endless chain of family linkages all originated with Ted Ngoy.
Dan Pashman: If we wanted to try and find him, what would you recommend that we do?
Frank Shyong: Well I think he has some relatives around. And maybe some people who he helped open a donut shop with them. That's where I'd start. I'd check to see if he has any relatives.
Dan Pashman: But, as Frank explained, getting those relatives to talk with me wouldn’t be easy.
Frank Shyong: Cambodian immigrants, a large majority of them have a experience of trauma. For that reason, talking about the past is really difficult. During the time of the Khmer Rouge, basically having any personal information out there about yourself was dangerous. Being invisible was a survival strategy. And so they can see no good from participating in a story. It's difficult when you just kind of are walking around Long Beach and knocking on doors as I have for stories in the past. And I haven't had a lot of success that way.
Dan Pashman: So we'd need someone in the community to help open some doors for us. But things were already getting more harder, because as we kept digging, it looked more and more like Ted was probably back in Cambodia. We needed to find someone here who might help us reach Ted there. Frank Shyong put us in touch with Sandy New, who’s very active in the Cambodian community in Long Beach. It's where she grew up. She’s 27. Her dad escaped the Khmer Rouge and settled in the area in the mid 80’s. He was a donut baker for years. But Sandy didn’t feel comfortable asking her father to discuss anything about Cambodia or even those early days in the US.
Sandy New: Even to their families, to their own children, they don't even share whole stories. I mean, my father had 13 brothers and sisters and they were all murdered. All thirteen of them. That's all I know. He did not tell me what happened during whatever that they went through. He just doesn't want us to have that feeling where it's like, "Oh my God, I feel bad for my parents."
Dan Pashman: So Ted’s family, and the older generation of donut makers, the people who knew Ted, were probably not going to talk me, a stranger with a microphone and I get that. Sandy said she’d keep asking around for us, to try to find us a connection. In the mean time, I wanted to explore Ted Ngoy’s legacy. In particular, I was curious to understand the role these donut shops play today for the younger generation of Cambodian-Americans.
Dan Pashman: Alright, should we open these donuts up?
Chad Fong: Yeah, sure man.
Dan Pashman: I met Chad Fong at King’s Donuts in Hawthorne, which is about halfway between LA and Long Beach.
Chad Fong: Aw man, look at these glazed coconut.
Dan Pashman: This looks ridiculous.
Chad Fong: Oh yeah, look at this sugared donut, right here.
Dan Pashman: I'm just gonna let you keep listening to Chad and me talking about donuts until you're starving.
Chad Fong: Some more chocolate and some of the fillings are bavarian cream. You get strawberry. You get lemon, raspberry, blueberry, and on and on.
Dan Pashman: And you specifically said we needed the butter milk, right?
Chad Fong: Oh yeah, the butter milk is always the number one thing to go to because that's the first donut that you make when you step into the donut shop. Every baker, that's their first donut that they make when the open the shop.
Dan Pashman: Chad didn't eat donuts as a child in Cambodia, but he learned a lot about them growing up in the U.S. Chad's father didn't make it out. He was a military police officer, who was executed by Khmer Rouge. Chad fled with his mother and his uncle on foot.
Dan Pashman: How far did you walk?
Chad Fong: Oh man, that's a good—about a couple hundred miles.
Dan Pashman: And how old were you?
Chad Fong: I was about maybe six but I walked half of the way. But, you know, I mean, I was really really young and my uncle he helped carry me.
Dan Pashman: What are some of your specific memories from that walk?
Chad Fong: From that walk was with actually food. There was really nothing to eat and we scavenge for fruits. Like we saw wild mangoes. We saw bananas and I remember going to a little rice patty and we didn't have a lot of stuff to eat. So what we did we picked out these grass. And these grass had like small little roots. So they gave us nourishment from the little roots that they had. So they are my fond memories was mostly food but also with—we got stuck in the jungle during the middle of the night, there was people shooting. Snipers. We didn't know if they were Viet Kongs. We didn't know if they were Khmer Rogue or they were Thai because we couldn't see. And that memory when there was RPG that almost hit me and luckily there was a cow that was in front of me so I was a few feet away from it. And then you know when people talk about war and bombs and stuff. You get that high ping sound and it throws off your equilibrium. So that's what threw off my equilibriums so I let go of my mom's hand and she didn't know where I was because there was shooting. There was grenades going off, machine guns. So that was a very very frightful moment for my family and for a lot other people that were sleeping in the jungle that night.
Dan Pashman: Chad was reunited with his mother later that night, but he never forgot that moment.
Dan Pashman: Did you have siblings walking with you?
Chad Fong: No. My sister and brother, they stayed behind with my other aunt, who were watching my siblings because they were so small. They would cry or people would hear us. They would rob us, or something. So she was really afraid of that. So she told them they would come back later for them.
Dan Pashman: And did they? Your siblings made it here?
Chad Fong: Yeah, they made it here. So I have two brothers, two sisters. They didn't here to the states until 84'. That's when we reunited with my siblings, with my brother and my sister.
Dan Pashman: What was that like?
Chad Fong: It was cool because I haven't seen them for a while, like a good 5 years just to see my sister, my brother, just like I remembered them. And we gave each other hugs. Like we've been reunited but in a different country and getting away from—and we felt blessed because we didn't have to worry about food. We didn't have to worry about guns or taking sniper fire or you know changes. The uncertainty, you know?
Dan Pashman: As they settled into life in Long Beach, Chad’s mom opened a sweatshop. His uncle started baking donuts. Sometimes Chad would visit his uncle in the donut shop.
Chad Fong: And I would go at night to get some ice cream. I would help him dip the different glazed that he finished just to give him a hand. And when we did that we learned different types of donuts, how to handle it, how to make the dough. And that set a stage because when I finished high school, the only job that I could find, being that we're second generation, we didn't have a role model or anybody because our parents were too busy trying to survive, trying to make a living. So we didn't really have a lot of guidance. So my first job was being a donut baker.
Dan Pashman: That first job in a donut shop allowed Chad to save money for school. He studied computers and taught himself to build computers. Then he switched careers, now he’s an operating room technician. Today Chad’s 45, and he doesn’t make donuts anymore. But he does have a food business on the side. He sells Cambodian sauces and other staples online. He also helped launch a group called Chefs Off the Boat, a collective of Cambodian-American chefs that do various kinds of food events. And all of that started with that first job at a donut shop.
Chad Fong: It's a very very important industry in the Cambodian-American history. And it's here today and it's still thriving and strong and is reaching to other communities outside California. So it brings me a lot of pride being a baker, too. And having aunts and uncles and and friends that still own donut shops, now a days.
Dan Pashman: Is there any specific culinary reason why Cambodian-Americans ended up making donuts? Is there some special connection to Cambodian food? or is it just that happened to be the thing that people caught on to.
Chad Fong: It just happened to be the thing. I mean, we got a couple guys who own the donut shop taught their friends and family how to be bakers and they work hard. They saved that money and they bought the donut shops in sales. And they had a really really good relationship with the neighborhood that they were in. So when they created that relationship with their community, it was really hard for the big donut business to make it here in California, especially.
Dan Pashman: What do you know about Ted Ngoy?
Chad Fong: Oh man, he's a like a donut legend. He's the king of donuts. I remember that one of my uncle used to bake for one of his shops. And when you bake donuts, you get compensated by the quart. Quart meaning the amount of dough that you have to make so many donuts. So usually like a small mom and pop, Cambodian owned donut store would be be 15-20 quarts. That's a good amount of donuts to be sold in a day. But man, some of his shops they were cranking 30, 40, 50 quarts. But Ted, he's a legend. I mean, everybody knows him. He took care of his community. He took care of people. He lend them money for them to succeed. Man, he helped so many people, so many family to get their foot in the door int he business. He had a really really good heart of helping his community.
Dan Pashman: Chad didn’t have new info on Ted’ Ngoy's whereabouts today, but he had heard some rumors about what went down all those years ago. I checked back in with Sandy. Remember, she’s the one who’s very active in the Cambodian community in Long Beach. She was gonna do some poking around for us. And the rumors Chad had heard about Ted Ngoy—they lined up with what Sandy told me.
Sandy New: This guy is like one of the richest Cambodians at that time. But that horrible habit that he picked up with gambling made him lose everything to the point where he had to come back to those who he has helped loan money and everything to start up their business—their donut shops and everything. He's now asking them for loans.
Dan Pashman: At the height of Ted's gambling addiction, every time he went to Vegas, he’d lose another donut shop.
Sandy New: I mean, everyone kind of shut their doors. I mean, just like us. Someone having a gambling problem and they're asking us for money. It's a risk, you know? And most of those who he helped didn't want to take that risk.
Dan Pashman: So Ted had a falling out with the community that he helped build. They didn’t want to loan him money because they knew he was gambling. And Sandy says that after everything Ted had done for people, he took that very personally. All of which helped explain why maybe some people in the community didn’t want to talk about Ted, or help us find him.
Sandy New: I know he's back in Cambodia in a village, where no one can get in touch with him.
Dan Pashman: Do you think you could get work to Ted Ngoy, through one of those family members?
Sandy New: I mean, for us to get in reach of him? Yeah, it's kind of impossible but for the family members to get in touch with him, I think it's possible if we were to send him a message.
Dan Pashman: So Sandy agreed to reach out to Ted’s family in LA on our behalf. That was last November. It was March before we got any kind of response and it wasn't the response we expected. Stick around.
Dan Pashman: Welcome back to The Sporkful, I’m Dan Pashman. Now back to the show. So, all indications were that Ted Ngoy, aka the Donut King, was back in Cambodia. He’d had a falling out with the community he helped build. Sandy New, a Cambodian-American based in Long Beach, was helping us look for him. She agreed to try to get word to Ted, through the family he still had in the LA area. Meanwhile, I kept thinking about the future of all these Cambodian donut shops as the original generation of owners gets older. They came here with nothing, no education, donuts were the only option. But a lot of their kids have gone to college and can now make a lot more money working a lot fewer hours at other jobs. I asked Sandy, what’s gonna happen to these donuts shops? In response, she took me to a place called Sweet Retreat, in the heart of Cambodian Long Beach.
Dan Pashman: From the outside, Sweet Retreat looks like a pretty standard place but as soon as you walk in, it’s pretty clear this is not your Cambodian grandma’s donut shop. They have donuts with fruity pebbles and cocoa puffs on them, maple bacon bars, red velvet, and a whole variety of vegan donuts with things like rose bud and matcha green tea. Then there’s the décor. The old school places look kinda like off brand Dunkin Donuts, functional, but not beautiful. At Sweet Retreat, the walls are bright yellow, with a huge hand painted mural.
Sreyrot Chan: It has some pictures of some donuts or some jokes. Other than that, it has a story of us. Like when I say, "Yes or baba". "Baba" is Dary calling me, always Baba, Baba. It's like short for like babe and then he became lazy calling me baba.
Dan Pashman: And is that a Cambodian flag I see there as well?
Sreyrot Chan: And that yellow wall, why is it yellow? Because it's Sreyrot. Sreyrot in Cambodian been sunflower girl, that's my name. Yeah. So it tells a lot. The shop tells a lot about me and Dary.
Dan Pashman: This is Sreyrot Chan. She and her husband Dary were both born in refugee camps in Thailand. Sreyrot’s family spent 12 years in three different camps before they came to Long Beach. Dary was much younger when his family arrived here. He doesn’t remember coming, but he does have lots of memories of spending time in his family’s donut shops, playing in the back, napping on sacks of flour. Dary and Sreyrot met in college. They graduated, got office jobs in the healthcare field. But they dreamed of owning a café together, with Dary as the baker and Sreyrot running the front of the house. In 2015, they bought an old donut place, redid the inside, and opened the area’s first gourmet donut shop.
Dan Pashman: So your parents and your extended family, they saw a donut shop as a way to get a foothold in America to sort of move up the socio-economic ladder to get new opportunities. What did they say when you told them you wanted to open your own donut shop?
Dary Chan: Are you nuts? You've been a donut shop all your life and now you want to open up a donut shop?
Sreyrot Chan: Especially, when you have a career, why did you decide to go back to what we—well, that's according to my dad. He's like, "What were you thinking? You already have a career. You already have a degree." Both of us already have a degree. Why did you decide in going this? But if you want to, then we will support you.
Dary Chan: I was thinking, we're still young. I always wanted a business and this opportunity opens up. It was a vacant building and I was thinking, "You know what? Give it a try." At least there's no regret. If everything all fails then you could always go back to healthcare. And we that's why we took the place and then we put all our savings into it and see how it goes. But we figured it out together. We're thinking, "Okay, we have to do something different because there's donut shop around the corner," and I remember the first week that we opened we make like, what? Fifty bucks a day. And we look at each other like, "Are we gonna survive?"
Dan Pashman: Dary and Sreyrot say despite the warnings they got from their families, they were still surprised by how much work it is. 12-16 hour days, 7 days a week, and they have two small kids. Plus, making so many varieties with such high standards, it’s painstaking.
Sreyrot Chan: I grew to love donut, even more with the fact that I know how hard it is to make a donut. Back then, I just thought, "Oh, there's a donut on a table in a pink box," where my dad normally took it from his work place after he baked and everything. He brought it over. So it wasn't like amazing to me until now, when I had my own shop. Seeing my husband, baking. He has a lot of pride in making donut. Everything he always tells me, "It's timing babe. Come on, come one. It's timing." Okay, I would sometimes help him here and there. Sometimes I don't know how to do certain thing. I feel frustrated just unable to help him out.
Dary Chan: Most old school baker, they eyeball it. Kind of like, "I guess..." They pull out within 45 minutes or something like that. But for me, I have a lot of timers. The thing about donuts is that, you have a certain amount of time that donut rise. So you have to take it out in a certain amount of time. So if you leave anything longer, it'll rise too much and it'll soak oil and it'll get really heavy and greasy. And every time you take a bite it's really horrible. So everything is just time and temperature and plus you have to kind of adjust what the outside is too.
Dan Pashman: And what kinds of reactions have you gotten from the local community that grew up with those old school donut shops?
Dary Chan: They're like, "Wow, this is different." This is something that they're not used to. I mean, people here, they don't travel outside too much. So they never got the gourmet style. It's like, okay now we bring it here to Long Beach and they're like, "Oh this is something like I've never tasted before." And we've got customers come back every single day for them.
Sreyrot Chan: I'm actually feel proud too. The fact that like we see the Long Beach community donut, they're starting to bring more gourmet into their shop.
Dary Chan: They're several in LA that came here and was like, "Hey, I'm copying your shop."[laughs] I was like, "Oh great."
Dan Pashman: Dary says those other shops are even copying their yellow wall and mural.
Dan Pashman: What can you tell me about Ted Ngoy.
Dary Chan: He's pretty much the donut King. He's the one who introduced everyone—like the Cambodian community to donuts.
Dan Pashman: What would you say to him, if he were here?
Sreyrot Chan: Hi, sir. If he's here, like, "Hi, sir. Thank you for introducing the Cambodian community into the donut world here. Without you, we probably don't know what is donut. We wouldn't be having a donut business to start our life."
Dan Pashman: At this point I had to get going, but not before I picked out a couple dozen donuts to bring back to Stitcher LA Headquarters. I got peanut butter Oreo, a caramel bar, apple fritters, which are my favorite…
Dan Pashman: Could I please have the two apple fritters that are to your left. The ones that are a little darker?
Sreyrot Chan: Okay.
Dan Pashman: I like them a little bit darker.
Sreyrot Chan: A little bit crunchier.
Dan Pashman: Crisp, crunchy...yes.
Sreyrot Chan: Good.
Dan Pashman: Yes, exactly—you know?
Dan Pashman: Then I got a variety of chocolate themed donuts. But still, there were so many options, I was feeling a lot of pressure.
Dan Pashman: What kind of a ratio—I want to make sure we're getting a good ratio of yeast to cake donuts to please everyone in the office.
Dan Pashman: I added a vegan blueberry and matcha green tea.
Dan Pashman: Oh, I think I've been neglectful of the buttermilk section. Could we please…
Dan Pashman: Finally I got it all worked out. Before I left, I had one last question for Sreyrot.
Dan Pashman: If your kids comes to you in twenty years and say, "Mom, we want to open our own donut shop. We have some ideas of our own.", what would you think of that?
Sreyrot Chan: I'm like, "Oh, it's gonna be a hard work," just like my dad say. "Are you sure about it?", just like my dad say but I will support him throughout.
Sreyrot Chan: If things doesn't work out, it's okay. It's a learning process. Failure make you stronger.
Dan Pashman: Dary and Sreyrot Chan own Sweet Retreat Donuts in Long Beach, CA. It is definitely worth a visit, the donuts are amazing. After talking with Dary and Sreyrot, it was clear to me that Ted Ngoy’s legacy is safe. But what about Ted himself? Well that trip to Sweet Retreat was taped back in November – nearly six months ago. For months we waited for word from Sandy. We even offered to edit together clips of all the nice things the younger generation was saying about Ted so she could try to pass it on to him. But after a while we stopped hearing back from her. It felt like we were at a dead end. Finally, I said, "Okay, well, we gotta finish this episode," I guess the end of the story is that we couldn’t find Ted.
Dan Pashman: Then we decided to try just one more thing. It was a long shot to be sure. Frankly, it’s a maneuver that only the most seasoned journalists even attempt. We looked on Facebook. And guess what? Ted’s on Facebook...in Cambodia. And at the top of his feed was a message:
“Can’t wait to see everybody on April 8th, Long Beach Cambodia Town Khmer Culture Festival Day. See you again America.”
Dan Pashman: We literally found this a week before the festival. So, there was really only one thing to do…
CLIP (DAN PASHMAN): Alright, thanks. You must be the donut king.
Dan Pashman: Next week, in the second and final part of our story…
CLIP (TED NGOY): Well my name is Ted. Ted, last name Ngoy, Ted Ngoy.
CLIP (PERSON 1): Ted's got some demons.
CLIP (PERSON 2): I stood by him for so many years. He'll be broke if he don't have anything, moved to Cambodia. So, okay. I go with him to stand by him, hoping all the time that he's changed.
CLIP (PERSON 3): I think he may still even owe people money here and there. So there's some animosity there but I think he's done a lot more good than bad. That's for sure.
Dan Pashman: That’s next week. In the meantime if you’re looking for more Sporkfuls, make sure you listen to last week’s show, all about cooking, and eating, in prison. As you’ll hear, food in prison is a valuable commodity, and a source of comfort.
CLIP (PERSON 4): We would sit there and have these burritos with this older gangster dude. And he was like Grandpa, you know? He had stories for us. He would discipline us, talk to us like we were his kids but at the same time, you know, this guy murdered so many people. And it was hard to register that.
Dan Pashman: That episode includes an incredible story about the role food played in a prison riot. You got to hear this show. It’s up now, it’s called "Prison Ramen Saved My Life", check it out. Please make sure you subscribe to this podcast in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you listen. And please follow me on Instagram, @TheSporkful. In the first half of this episode, we heard from Chad Fong, if you want to buy his Cambodian sauces, look on Facebook for his page, Cambodian Cuisine, we’ll also link to his site on Sporkful.com. Special thanks to Greg Nichols and Frank Shyong. Check out Frank’s LA Times story about how a younger generation of Cambodian-American artists and business owners is changing Long Beach. And you can find Greg’s profile of Ted Ngoy in the California Sunday magazine. It’s called “Dunkin and the donut King.”