Friday, May 26, 2017

Cambodian Refugees and the Resurgence of the Donut Business in Southern California


Susan Lim's doughnuts served in pink boxes at her Rose Donuts & Cafe in San Clemente. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Times reports on this "sweet" story about everyone's favorite breakfast food:  "Instead of national chains, the Southern California doughnut sector is dominated by mom-and-pop businesses run by immigrants, none more influential than Cambodian Americans."

Landing here as refugees in the mid-1970s to escape the Khmer Rouge, the Southeast Asian community quickly found a lifeline in the doughnut business.

An ambitious Cambodian refugee named Ted Ngoy built a network of doughnut shops and staffed them with his countrymen whose visas he sponsored. Ngoy started in Orange County, in La Habra and expanded to Fullerton, Anaheim and Buena Park. Cambodian doughnut stores spread to Los Angeles County, which long been dominated by the Winchell’s Donuts chain.

Years ago, Bill Hing told me about the presence of Cambodians in the donut business.


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