Seafood that Celebrates! x VIEJUN

Unforgettable Spontaneity and Flavor

How It All Began

Our CEO, Tuyet Nhi, first met Chef Nikki Tran in Houston during a discussion about female leadership in the hospitality industry. What started as a conversation about empowering women quickly evolved into a dialogue about identity, community, and shared culinary philosophies. They teased the idea of an eventual collaboration, but they couldn’t have predicted this: a sold-out, three-night culinary journey that you had to see to believe

The Challenge We Never Saw...

When Nikki came to town, she had a simple idea. She wanted the dinner to feel small, intimate like she was “cooking for friends at home.” We liked the sound of that, but we didn’t fully get what she meant until the clock was ticking…

We quickly found out that Nikki works like an artist or even a mad scientist of food. She doesn’t use recipes or measuring spoons, which was a total curveball for our team of skilled chefs who like things planned and precise. Just hours before guests arrived, Nikki scribbled the menu on a random piece of cardstock she found sealing our fate for an evening of a spontaneous culinary adventure. This threw us into an intense, high-energy rush in the kitchen. We had to adapt quickly to her freestyle approach. With a packed house of hungry and excited guests who already paid for their tickets, the pressure was on. We all secretly wondered: Could we pull this off?

Setting the Table with "Một Hai Ba, Dzô!"

As guests found their seats, Nikki poured glasses of specialty grapefruit beer, lifting her own glass high and leading the room in the Vietnamese cheer, “Một Hai Ba, Dzô!” (One, Two, Three, Cheers!). The stage was set for an unforgettable evening.

The Nuoc Mam Saga

Nikki took us on a journey through the significance of Nuoc Mam AKA Fish Sauce. She even shared her own meticulously crafted, first-press, small-batch Nuoc Mam, telling stories of her quest across the island of Phu Quoc to find the perfect barrel. This wasn’t just a condiment; it was an elevation of every dish that it graced.

The Eight-Course Masterpieces

Working with Nikki was like watching an artist in her natural element—just pure, spontaneous expressions of her heart. It was a frenetic dance, an electrifying challenge for our team. We listened, learned, and improvised alongside her, translating her heartfelt stories into real dishes for you to savor… 

  • 3-Way Raw Oysters: Kusshi, Chesapeake Skinny Dippers, Bill & Stanley Oysters were each given new life by Nikki’s Nuoc Mam, Cajun seasoning, and garlic.
  • Exotic Viet Fruit Salad: A sweet and tangy blend of Mangosteen, Rambutan, and Lychee that danced on the palate.
  • King Crab Pho: Our first-ever live Giant King Crab elegantly transformed into a bowl of luxury.
  • Oxtail Gumbo & Baby Clam Congee: Nikki narrated the cultural ties between these slow-cooked comforts. Both familiar and exotic, they transcended traditional boundaries.
  • VIEJUN Boil: A medley of crab, shrimp, and crawfish in her unique “Viejun” broth, showcasing the best of Cajun and Vietnamese culinary worlds.
  • Grilled Jumbo Clams and Scallops: Char-grilled and finished with Nikki’s artisanal fish sauce, turning each bite into an experience.
  • Grilled Jumbo Clams and Scallops: Avocado Ice Cream w/Condensed Milk: The grand finale that was rich, creamy, icy, and indelible in our memories.

Unforgettable Impact

The reaction was unanimous: we’ve tapped into something extraordinary. All three nights sold out, and we’ve been flooded with overwhelmingly positive reviews. We even received messages from guests asking about specific dishes and whether we’d host more events with Nikki or feature her creations on our regular menu. While we’re still working out the details, one thing is for sure: Nikki’s culinary artistry left an indelible imprint on our team and on everyone who participated. These will be three nights—and a project—that we won’t ever forget.

What's Next?

As we ponder the exciting possibilities inspired by this collaboration, keep your eyes peeled for behind-the-scenes updates and exclusive tasting opportunities.


Your Chasin’ Tails Team