Growing up in the Peterborough area, Susan Tung always knew she loved food, the local community and working in the food industry. After spending her life working with her parents in the locally owned Chinese restaurant, the Golden Wheel, she began a new path forward in her life. During her time at the University of Toronto studying Kinesiology, Susan found herself gravitating back towards the food industry.
“Anyone who has worked in the food industry knows how easy it is to come back to this industry, especially if you love it,” Susan explains. “For me, it was always the plan to create a place where I could share my passion for Vietnamese food with others. It certainly happened unexpectedly, especially with our opening our second location during the pandemic, but I am entirely grateful.”
After her parents sold their restaurant in 2018, Susan Tung opened Hanoi House featuring authentic Vietnamese cuisine with a small, but mighty menu. “I wanted to ensure we focused on quality ingredients and a diverse range of flavours, which is really how Vietnamese food should be made,” says Susan.
The menus at both Hanoi House locations offer traditional Vietnamese fare such as pho, vermicelli bowls and rice dishes. The menus are accessible for individuals with several dietary restrictions including those who may be gluten-free or vegan.
Returning to Peterborough was an easy decision for Susan. After the sale of her parent’s restaurants, Susan met her now-husband and jumped into the world of small business ownership with Hanoi House. “It just felt like the natural next move for me,” explains Susan. “I loved growing up in Peterborough and setting down roots felt like the next thing for me. I love this community and I have grown to love it even more as a small business owner. The support for local businesses here is incredible.”
In 2020, Hanoi House opened the doors on its second location during the COVID-19 pandemic. For Susan, this was the right move for her business but it was not without its’ challenges. “The pandemic has impacted all of us in many different ways,” says Susan. “As a business owner in the food industry, we have been hit particularly hard. It’s been a challenging time. As restrictions change, we continue to pivot as necessary and are committed to providing the same quality food to our customers. Over the last year, our primary business has been through takeout and delivery.”
As is the case with many local restaurants, Susan is grateful for the support from the community. Hanoi House offers a virtual ordering system right on their website making it easy for people to order directly from the restaurant for delivery or pick up. “Ordering through our website ensures we can keep as much of your money local as possible. Contrary to using apps like SkipTheDishes, ordering directly from the website allows us to save the SkipTheDishes surcharges and hire a local third-party delivery service to ensure our customers get their food quickly and safely,” explains Susan.
At Hanoi House, Susan hopes to create an atmosphere of good food and good people while still staying affordable for the Peterborough community. “Eating out is a luxury and I recognize that as a business owner,” says Susan. “My primary goal is always to ensure that we are providing excellent value, top-notch customer service and most importantly, good, authentic food that is also healthy.”
One of the offerings Hanoi House is best known for is their Grab & Go frozen dumplings, a unique opportunity for the foodies of Peterborough. The authentic dumplings which have been made in-house are available anytime for pickup, and give homage to Susan’s Chinese heritage and background cooking in her parent’s Chinese restaurant. “I wanted to make sure that I was able to provide more diversity to the food scene here in Peterborough so while this isn’t a traditional Vietnamese dish, it was something that wasn’t available anywhere else in town so I looked to fill that need,” Susan explains.
When asked about why she loves the Peterborough community, Susan accurately describes the hometown feel of the community. “Peterborough is a bustling community with lots of activity but at the end of the day, it still has that small-town feel,” she says. “People go out of their way to help people here. The support we have received as a new business, particularly a new business in the time of the pandemic, has been amazing. The business community here is small, and I know this push to support local has helped tremendously.”
Hanoi House currently offers take-out and delivery for both of its’ Peterborough locations. These locations were opened only a short 10 months apart, which highlights the need for more food diversity in the Peterborough area. “Opening a second location so quickly, and also during a pandemic, was challenging. But I’m always up for a challenge,” says Susan. “But it felt like the right move. It is incredible to have experienced this much growth in our first year and we are so grateful for that.”
For more information on Hanoi House, visit their two locations (213 Hunter Street West and 1040 Lansdowne Street West) or order online from their website at hanoihouseptbo.com.