Lieu Nong fled Vietnam for Australia in 1980, with her eldest son, Linh. Before being reunited with Linh’s father, Lieu and her son stayed in a refugee camp run by monks, having lost all their possessions to sea thieves on the long journey.
According to Lylah Hatfield, Lao cuisine is reflective of a culture that’s based on community and village life. As such, the food is prepared simply and the tastes are spicy and earthy, with lots of fresh herbs.
In 1976, as a 4 year old, Thida Lao boarded the first Qantas plane load of refugees from South East Asia to Australia. Along with her family of six, she first lived in a hostel in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs and later settled in St Kilda.