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Huod Taing

Episode 33

Unleashing Creativity in the Making of Donuts

Huod Taing is an entrepreneur and a family man of Asian ancestry. His childhood was always full of change due to his family moving homes every few years in pursuit of work. After years of sacrifice, they finally achieved the American dream in the San Gabriel Valley.

He’s been involved in numerous restaurant creations. His latest one is “Tony’s Donut House” in Baldwin Park. With no formal schooling, he honed his trade the old-fashioned way with his bare hands and a lot of sweat and tears. His motto is “Press On,” as quoted by Calvin Coolidge.

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Huod Taing Quotes

  • “I don’t have my clique; I don’t have my people; everybody that I met is my people.”
  • “I had to learn his way, and I already learned my parents’ way.”
  • “Since you are the boss and no one can tell you you shouldn’t waste things, you start to develop things.”
  • Huod lived in Cambodia until he was 5 or 6, then immigrated to the San Gabriel Valley with his family.
  • Huod Grew up with his parents always working, and he was always moving throughout the SGV.
  • Huod went to study abroad to expand his mind after college
  • After college, Huod studied with his uncle in Oregon.
  • He then ended up opening his donut shop and owns several now.
  • This week, Scott and Russell welcome Huod Taing. He is a local owner of Toney’s Donuts. He immigrated to America with his family and has found footing in the service industry. In this episode, the SGV Master Let podcast explores Huod Taing’s journey in the SGV.

What is your connection to the SGV?

Huod has lived here since he was a kid and first immigrated here with his family. They moved around a lot.

Huod said he lived in every corner of the SGV. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any memories of Cambodia.

Baldwin Park hosts his newest Tony’s Donut house. So now he’s accepted into the 626 scenes.

How did you get into this field?

Huod said like many Cambodians, he and his family didn’t know a lot of English when they came to America.

So they lived and worked with whoever would hire them and help them learn the language.

What was life like as a young child?

Huod’s family was always working when he was a kid. He went to school by himself and got home by himself.

He was very independent, and he had to be. His family, at this time, was living in a garage. He lived with extended family; his host family was his uncle’s family.

They were also the proprietors of Olympic donuts. They taught Huod’s family the donut trade.

Huod’s family built their donut shop, but it was very inclusive.

No one outside of the family worked there. Huod liked work to an extent, but there was no creative outlet in his parent’s donut shop because they were scared of losing money on chance.

Huod grew up without his parents, and because of that, he felt that’s why he grew up faster. He was more independent than his family is now.

Are there other Cambodian families around you?

Huod grew up with his host family, which was made up of uncles and aunts. He bounced around a lot when he was a kid. There were many schools that he went to.

Huod is ethnically Chinese, so he never felt like an outcast. I’m in the SGV for his race. Despite that, he was raised for some time in Cambodia.

Huod felt that because he moved around a lot, he missed a lot in school because the schools taught different things at different times.

Huod’s parents were never around to help him with schoolwork either. Although not that he is home and can help his kids with their school work, they don’t want his help.

Do you have a family?

Huod has a family; he has a daughter in high school and a son in second grade. Huod’s daughter goes to Arcadia, which is a high-ride school that has a lot of access to immersive programs.

His children can go today in the same school, unlike Huod’s childhood.

Because he moved around so much, he only got the chance to make a few meaningful connections.

He made many shallow ones, and those people seemed to find him.

Huod said he always could treat potential clients as though he has known them forever, which has been vital in business.

What happened after high school?

After Huod lost his license in high school and had just graduated, he decided to study in Oxford, England, for a semester. When he got back, it seemed to Huod everything was different.

He studied fence and world history. Since he immigrated from Cambodia, this was his first time out of the country. Huod also discovered his love of fish and chips and sandwiches in England. After Huod returned from England and the world seemed to shift, he was sent to Oregon to manage his uncle’s Chinese restaurant and learn the trade.

Huod said his uncle’s philosophy differed slightly from his father’s.

His uncle embraced change somewhat more, but only if he led the way. Only his uncle’s ideas were acceptable.

After Huod returned from Oregan, there was a falling out with his brother over the girl he dated. Huod shifted the focus from his brother to himself.

He was 19, still running his parent’s businesses, sleeping at friends’ houses. He was placed at a Chinese restaurant with a poor location and no marketing.

He was eventually offered a deal by a man who liked his idea that if he bought a house in a certain area, he would market for Huod’s business. Huod’s father chimed in and offered to help Huod instead, and Huod went with his father, a choice he still somewhat regrets.

Huod’s father didn’t like the business (a noodle shop), an idea that Huod had. So he made Huod shift his beliefs so he could have something.

Huod bought a donut shop in Valencia called Tony’s Deli Donut Shop. His father gave it to Huod because of the deal, and his father told him not to change at all.

Huod didn’t market this shop and wasn’t making enough for rent.

Even though he eventually learned how to market the shop and change for the area, it was too late, and he lost the shop.

Huod learned a lot from his experiences, and now he owns and operates several donut stores where he can finally be creative.

Picture of Huod Taing

Huod Taing

The Hat.

Sam Woo BBQ.