Union Hmong Kitchen Brings Bold Flavors to Minneapolis

At Union Hmong Kitchen, located in Minneapolis, Chef Yia Vang employs contemporary culinary methods to enhance traditional Hmong tastes, resulting in distinctly vibrant and unforgettable cuisine. The establishment is more than a mere eatery. It’s an embodiment of cultural immersion presented via its communal dining approach. Experience the unique offerings of Yia Vang’s kitchen that mark Union Hmong Kitchen as an essential destination for those who appreciate gastronomy.

Key Takeaways

  • Union Hmong Kitchen blends traditional Hmong flavors with modern culinary techniques, offering an exciting and unique dining experience in Minneapolis.
  • Chef Yia Vang, the visionary behind the restaurant, brings his rich heritage and personal journey into every dish, earning national recognition, including a James Beard Award nomination.
  • Union Hmong Kitchen not only excels in food but also fosters community and cultural awareness through family-style dining and events, making it a beloved local gem.

Union Hmong Kitchen Brings Bold Flavors to Minneapolis

union hmong kitchen north loop location
This is the location in the North Loop. (Inside Graze Provisions Food Hall.)

At Union Hmong Kitchen, nestled in the vibrant food landscape of Minnesota, you’ll experience an uncommon culinary journey. Its menu is a celebration of traditional Hmong dishes transformed through contemporary cooking methods to produce pronounced flavors that resonate with diners throughout the Twin Cities. This distinct establishment captivates both locals and visitors alike by reimagining customary fare into something thrillingly new yet comfortingly familiar.

This restaurant’s commitment extends beyond exceptional cuisine. It fosters a sense of unity and shared experience rooted in its Hmong heritage. Embracing communal dining traditions, Union Hmong Kitchen encourages gatherings where every meal becomes an opportunity for connection—bringing people closer over plates rich with cultural significance and flavor-packed delights from the heart of their family-centric hmong kitchen.


Union Hmong Kitchen’s journey began as a pop-up experience on the East Side of Saint Paul. It was a humble start, designed to introduce the local community to the rich flavors of Hmong cuisine. Since its opening in 2016, the restaurant has grown exponentially, now operating two locations in Minneapolis and serving patrons a unique blend of traditional Hmong dishes with contemporary twists.

The diverse and flavorful dishes reflect the Hmong cultural heritage, making Union Hmong Kitchen a beloved destination for food enthusiasts in the city.

Discover Union Hmong Kitchen

hmong sausage rice bowl
Pictured: The Hmong Sausage rice bowl.

At the Union Hmong Kitchen, patrons are treated to a gastronomic tour that showcases the rich tapestry of flavors and textures inherent in traditional Hmong cuisine, all invigorated by vibrant tastes and contemporary culinary methods. Each item on their menu stands as evidence of the establishment’s creative fusion – marrying time-honored traditions with novel interpretations for an innovative dining experience rooted in beloved Hmong food classics.

The essence of this restaurant transcends mere consumption. It is anchored firmly in:

  • forging connections
  • fostering communal ties over shared gastronomic delights
  • immersing guests within each nuanced facet of Hmong tradition via their palate

Union Hmong Kitchen isn’t just about satisfying hunger—it represents an immersive indulgence into the multifaceted world of Hmong culture, one flavorful morsel at a time.

Chef Yia Vang: The Visionary Behind Union Hmong Kitchen

YIA Vang
YIA Vang

Chef Yia Vang, the driving force behind Union Hmong Kitchen, possesses a deep-seated passion for both his culinary pursuits and the rich traditions of his Hmong heritage. This dedication has not only cemented Chef Vang’s reputation in Minneapolis’ bustling food arena, but has also garnered him acclaim across the nation.

The ethos of his restaurant is inseparably linked to Chef Vang’s own life story and encapsulates the vibrant legacy of the Hmong people, reflecting their cultural narrative through every dish served.

Chef Vang’s Background

Chef Yia Vang’s narrative is infused with the same complexity and nuance as his culinary creations. He was born into a Hmong family within the confines of Ban Vinai refugee camp in Thailand, only to move to America when he was just five years old. His formative experiences in Wisconsin and rural Pennsylvania deeply influenced his approach to both community and cuisine. The tale of his parents’ migration from Laos all the way to Minnesota weaves through each plate he presents, every meal telling part of their collective journey.

From modest beginnings, Chef Vang embarked on a professional path that has taken him from scrubbing pots as a dishwasher to diverse roles across the food service landscape—including managerial responsibilities at a catering company and cooking duties at Bethlehem Baptist Church—each step Sharpening his abilities while cultivating an earnest reverence for gastronomy. These accumulated skills laid down roots for what would blossom into Union Hmong Kitchen—a testament not only to chefship but also heritage.

Awards and Recognitions

The remarkable talent of Chef Vang and his commitment to the culinary arts have earned significant attention. His standing as a finalist for the distinguished James Beard Award serves as evidence of his skills and Union Hmong Kitchen’s influence in the gastronomic community.

Union Hmong Kitchen has similarly garnered acclaim, being named a finalist for best new restaurant by the James Beard awards. This honor reflects its triumphs and substantial effect on the dining landscape.

Location and Ambiance

Located in the heart of Minneapolis, Union Hmong Kitchen graces two lively areas including the dynamic Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood. Since its establishment in 2016, this restaurant has experienced a surge in patronage and is conveniently nestled within a food hall where patrons can savor various culinary creations alongside a refreshing beer. One of these prominent sites resides at an ideal location on 901 W. Lake St.

Upon entering Union Hmong Kitchen, visitors are greeted with:

  • an effortlessly stylish environment
  • a soothing yet energetic ambiance that captures the essence and warmth of hmong culture
  • an unfussy eating arrangement where guests place their orders at the counter before having their meals served directly to them at their tables

This contributes to the inviting and easygoing atmosphere present during Friday night dining experiences at this esteemed eatery.

The Menu: Traditional Hmong Dishes with a Modern Twist

Union Hmong Kitchen’s menu is a celebration of the profound gastronomic legacy inherent in Hmong culture. With an assortment of traditional Hmong dishes presented with modern flair, this restaurant exhibits a culinary collection that is not only multifaceted but also delectable, honoring the unique tastes and traditions of the Hmong kitchen.

Signature Dishes

pork belly sandwich
The famous pork belly sandwich.

The Hmong kitchen is renowned for creating an assortment of mouth-watering dishes, with pork belly and hmong sausage being particularly noteworthy. Their steak offerings also receive high praise, distinguished by a unique touch from the use of traditional Hmong herbs and spices in their marinades, delivering a rich taste that leaves diners eager to return.

Equally impressive are Union Hmong Kitchen’s fish preparations, which emphasize both the freshness of ingredients and aromatic seasonings to achieve a perfect symphony of flavors. The chefs’ proficiency in Hmong cooking methods is demonstrated through expertly crafted khao sen rice noodles and crisp taro chips.

Seasonal Specials

khao poon
Khao poon.

Union Hmong Kitchen enriches its standard fare with a selection of rotating seasonal specials, maintaining a vibrant and ever-changing menu. The emphasis on utilizing local ingredients reflects the restaurant’s dedication to both freshness and sustainable practices.

Adapting to the shifting seasons, these special offerings enable Union Hmong Kitchen’s menu to transform in harmony with Minnesota’s varying natural backdrops.

Popularity and Community Impact

Union Hmong Kitchen has had a profound influence on the local scene, not just as a sought-after place to eat, but also in advancing Hmong culture within Minneapolis through its culinary delights. With accolades like a nomination for a James Beard Award, this establishment enjoys well-earned fame and attracts substantial crowds who are keen to sample its food.

With the strategic use of food trucks, pop-up events, and kiosks at the State Fair, Union Hmong Kitchen has considerably boosted its profile. It holds the distinction of being the inaugural provider of Hmong cuisine at Minnesota’s renowned State Fair – an important achievement in highlighting Hmong heritage. To these initiatives, it engages with other businesses and organizations for special joint ventures that amplify both its reach and impact on community engagement.

Contact Information

Union Hmong Kitchen invites you to delve into a distinctive dining experience located at 520 Malcolm Ave SE, Suite 100, in Minneapolis, MN. Should you wish to make inquiries or book your table, feel free to contact them at (612) 886-1357.

Stay informed about the latest updates from Union Hmong Kitchen including highlights from their menu and upcoming event details by checking out their website at unionkitchenmn.com.


Union Hmong Kitchen is more than just a restaurant. It’s a culinary journey through the Hmong culture, a celebration of community, and a testament to the vision and dedication of Chef Yia Vang. From its humble beginnings as a pop-up experience to its recognition as a James Beard–nominated restaurant, Union Hmong Kitchen continues to delight patrons with its bold flavors and innovative dishes. This is not just about eating; it’s about experiencing a piece of Hmong heritage, one delicious bite at a time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Union Hmong Kitchen located?

At 520 Malcolm Ave SE, Suite 100, in Minneapolis, MN 55414, you’ll find the Union Hmong Kitchen where you can indulge in flavorful Hmong cuisine whenever your heart desires.

Who is the chef behind Union Hmong Kitchen?

Chef Yia Vang, the culinary force at Union Hmong Kitchen, has made a significant mark on the national food landscape.

What type of cuisine does Union Hmong Kitchen serve?

At Union Hmong Kitchen, the essence of Hmong cuisine is celebrated by offering traditional Hmong dishes that are infused with a contemporary flair, all while maintaining the bold flavors characteristic of Hmong cooking.

This restaurant presents an exquisite fusion where time-honored and avant-garde flavors from the Hmong kitchen converge to create an extraordinary dining experience.

What are some signature dishes at Union Hmong Kitchen?

At the Hmong Kitchen of Union, both pork belly and steak stand out as flagship offerings, celebrated for their delectable flavor and superior quality. The steaks are particularly distinguished by their use of authentic Hmong seasonings and herbs that impart an extraordinary taste profile.

Indulge in the pleasure!

Does Union Hmong Kitchen offer seasonal specials?

Union Hmong Kitchen provides seasonal specials that change regularly, utilizing locally sourced ingredients to guarantee dishes are both fresh and sustainable.

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Tim Schmidt is a 20+ year Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer. A Fort Lauderdale-based "Digital Nomad," he enjoys traveling as much as possible with family and friends. AllWorld is his escape to document all of his adventures, including being a hardcore "foodie." He has property in Costa Rica and visits several times each year and is happy to offer his expert advice for planning your trip.

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