About us

The ugly bao is for health-conscious people who associate quality ingredients of food with quality of life. We are inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of past generations and strives to be the positive impact of the future by providing employment, training, and career development mentorship to immigrant and first American-born women. 

We have high standards when it comes to our banh baos. We take great pride in our recipes and pay close attention to ingredients. We only make what we would feed our own family. While confusing and complicated ingredients in food isn’t rare, it shouldn’t be the standard. Enter the ugly bao – banh baos that are a little ugly, every bit tasty, and most importantly, Vietnamese-mom approved.

Linda Nguyen – Founder and CEO 

Linda comes from a family of Vietnamese refugees and is part of the first-American born generation. Her inspiration for the ugly bao stems from her mom’s love of food and entrepreneurial spirit, and her own career experience in education and business. She earned her BA in Marketing, MA in Theological Studies, and Ed.D in Educational Leadership for Social Justice from Loyola Marymount University.

When Linda isn’t working on a new recipe with her mom or coming up with fun ways to promote the ugly bao, you can find her singing at Church, hanging out with her favorite (and only) niece, or walking outside with her corgi. 

Bryson Ishii – Founder and COO 

Bryson was born and raised in Hawaii and moved to Los Angeles to attend Loyola Marymount University. He earned his BS in Accounting and BA in Entrepreneurship. Bryson has 15 years of experience as an executive in various industries including manufacturing, venture capital, and consumer products. 

When Bryson isn’t working on a deal or finding a new partner for the ugly bao, he’s doing service in his community, enjoying a drink with his friends, or on the water. 

Ms. Kim - Founder and Mom to All

Ms. Kim is not only a founder but also the matriarch of The Ugly Bao. All recipes undergo multiple taste tests from Ms. Kim and must receive her final approval. You can catch her behind the steamer at our pop-ups or chatting it up with all the customers. Be sure to say hi if you see her! You can even call her "Me" which means Mom in Vietnamese.

When Ms. Kim isn't drilling Linda for an improved iteration of a recipe, or making jokes with Bryson, you can find her at Church, hanging out with her favorite (and only) granddaughter, or shopping for deals on deals.