Thursday, May 30, 2024

‘Cambodian Cowboy’—Long Beach Chef Chad Phuong—honored at inaugural AAPI small business awards in DTLA

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The API SBC, otherwise known as the Asian/Pacific Islander Small Business Collective, honored the Cambodian Cowboy himself of Battambong BBQ, Chef Chad Phuong, during its inaugural awards ceremony in Downtown Los Angeles.

Focused on celebrating and recognizing small and micro businesses in the region—with a particular focus on the Chinese, Cambodian, Korean, Japanese, Thai and Filipino business communities, especially those of low income immigrants—the award comes as a deep honor for Phuong, who has long cheerled the Cambodian food community here in Long Beach.

“Chad Phuong has not only brought us delicious flavors and culinary delights through Battambong BBQ but has also served as a guiding light for aspiring entrepreneurs,” said award presenter Don Pin. “In the face of the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chad has not only adapted but emerged stronger, showcasing the resilience and tenacity that make him a true role model for us all.

“In just 30 seconds, we cannot fully encapsulate the depth of his contributions,” Pin continued, “but we celebrate Chad for his leadership, mentorship, and unwavering spirit. Thank you, Chad, for being an inspiration to us all. You are one of the beacons of hope in our community.”

Phuong’s story is that one that traverses multiple spaces: His survival as a child during the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, his time in the panhandle of Texas, and his life here in Long Beach have been a triptych in the overarching story of how Battambong BBQ came to be—and it has become both a reflection of and rightfully legendary part of the Cambodian community, with Phuong volunteering his time and doing collabs with restaurants to heighten his presence.

Through years of continual hard work, his story has escaped the boundaries of Long Beach and reached national levels, with multiple appearances on television stations across the country and at popups.

“I would like to firstly thank Ron Fong of the API SBC for this prestigious award,” Phuong said.
“I would like to also thank Susana Sngiem, Sayon Syprasoeuth, Don Pin, and Fredrick Sor of United Cambodian Community for their support of Battambong BBQ. To all the writers and producers that told my story about being a former refugee and giving a chance to introduce to the world about Texan-Cambodian smoked BBQ, I salute you. And, of course, thank you to my lovely and wonderful wife Chanlily, my daughter Noblelynn, and my three heroes and sons—Jacob, Logan, and Myles—for being that fire to keep me going week after week. Thank you to the API communities for this award.”

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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