It all started with a small candy business in their neighborhood and an outing to different food trucks.
During the summer of ‘11, Hop and his cousins spent their quality time eating at different food trucks; it later became their favorite pastime. One of Hop’s favorite food truck was Cogis, a Korean Mexican cuisine. He was intrigued by the blend of culture mixed in the dishes. His favorite order was the Korean Galbi Kimchi burrito.
Komodo, another one of Hop’s favorite restaurant, also did a take on Korean tacos. He states, “It took two hours just to order the food, but the wait in line built up my curiosity towards the taste of the food.” Blown away by their success and mixed culture, he was inspired to create his own business. Hop adds, “I love cooking and eating! I wanted to put these skills to use!” With this blueprint in mind, he decided to rent out a truck, and invite one of his good friends, Viet Tran, on this journey. What started off as a small idea thrived into a successful business called Dos Chinos.
Hop and Viet grew up together in Santa Ana, where their childhood experiences with cultural diversity inspired “Dos Chinos.”
Ever since they were little, Hop and Viet were exposed to the business world, hosting small carnivals, selling candy, and charging kids for a dollar or two. Hop is a GGHS Alumni of 1994 and Viet of 1993. Viet was involved with tennis and was president of UVSA. Because of his interest in business and passion for Economics in Mr. Starnes’ class, Viet started his own business with nightclubs during high school. Viet and Hop remained in contact, despite their different paths and college choices. Viet graduated from UCLA with a degree in Economics, while Hop majored in international business at Fullerton and graduated with a degree in English and math at UCI.
One day, Hop nearly met death in a fatal car accident. It was then that he realized “life was too short.” He expresses, “I was always helping my family and friends with their businesses, but I have to live for myself, and live out my dreams. It was then that he decided to contact Viet and the two met up again since high school.
The path to success wasn’t always easy. The first 5 years were rough, and there were many different ups and downs. Hop states, a “food truck is so much more difficult because there are more moving variables than a restaurant.”
They were invited as an anchor and new food haul at 4th street Market in Downtown Santa Ana. However, there were conflicting views about the beginning of their business. Before Dos Chinos was born, Hop and Viet had different visions of their ideal truck. Viet believed that their restaurant should primarily carry a Vietnamese concept, but Hop was convinced that it should have a Latin atmosphere. Hop claims, “If we put something new, then it will be a whole different obstacle and franchise opportunity and prove people that they can make it as a restaurant, not just a food truck.” They came to a compromise, and Dos Chinos became a restaurant with a Latin-Asian influence.
Dos Chinos has been recognized through various newspapers, YouTube channels, food channels, and magazines for their culinary diversity and mix of cultures. They were recognized as one of the best burritos of 2014 in Orange County and won OC Weekly’s Best of Reader’s Poll.
Aside from their growing business, Hop and Viet have branched out and dedicated their work and influence to the Garden Grove community. They have been working with the city of Garden Grove for a good 4-5 years, organizing and catering at the city’s events such as Garden Grove’s Open Street and the Vietnamese Lunar Year festival at Atlantis Play Center. Viet has invested money in the historical Garden Grove Amphitheater and hosted a reggae and rock concert this summer. His goal is to bring the community together with their food truck and transform the park into an attraction, bringing the community together as they enjoy both entertainment and food.
Hop and Viet are hoping for Dos Chinos to grow within the next 2-5 years as they expand their restaurant to other locations such as Irvine and Los Angeles. They express, “I cannot wait for what the future has in store for us.”