Nén was founded and run by husband and wife Summer and Leon Le. The two passionate foodies met each other way back in high school and immediately bonded over Danang’s vibrant street food. After half a decade pursuing their bachelors and masters degrees in Japan and Australia together, in 2011 they decided to return to and build their career in their beloved hometown Danang - an emerging city that has so much to offer, especially in the food arena. Nowadays, besides working as Chef and Manager at Nén Restaurant respectively, Summer and Leon are enjoying their simple life with two adorable daughters. In addition to food, they are also passionate about nurturing and empowering young girls.
Leon Le - For hundreds of years, Leon’s family have been cultivating the land and sea around Da Nang from the very beginning of the city's history, dating back to the 17th century. The precious knowledge about farming, traditional ingredients and culinary practices passed down through generations have finally come to fruition when Nén Restaurant was realized. Thus it's no surprise that Leon's Mom, a retired doctor, is leading Nén’s foraging team or some of Nén’s fermented products are made using his aunt's secret recipes. The practice of growing anything we need at Nén is only a natural progression of the family’s tradition. Personally, Leon is an entrepreneur at heart with a unique talent of connecting and inspiring people around him.
What is Nén?
A hybrid between shallot and garlic, Nén is a spice native to Central Vietnam but is very little known and utilized. Nén represents our philosophy in cooking: to cherish traditional, often diminishing or disappearing, techniques and values while elevating the taste and complexity with the help of contemporary culinary art.
More than just food, at Nén we celebrate human labors and local knowledge. Above 95% of our ingredients are local and come from three main sources: (1) homegrown in our own farms and gardens, (2) reputable local farms and suppliers and (3) discovered across the country by our foraging team.
We understand that sustainable development is the road to the future and there would be no good food without good ingredients, and there would be no good ingredients without the people who understand the ingredients. Traveling for days to catch one certain ingredient at its prime and bring back to Nén is not an uncommon thing for us.
This philosophy of local appreciation also extends to Nén's personnels. Most of Nén’s staff come from very humble backgrounds, having their roots in more economically challenged towns across Vietnam. Nén strives to inspire our staff in terms of personal growth with the hope to showcase how unpolished gems can turn out to be with the correct approach, just like how their hometown’s humble produce are always meticulously highlighted in Nén’s kitchen. Leon and Summer believe in human potentials, the ability to become much more than what we are given as we cruise through life, and that belief starts right here, with the people working at Nén.