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Trì Dư's Triumphant Odyssey From Homelessness to Star Sushi Chef

A remarkable made in Montreal tale.

Trì Dư of Tri Express
Trì Dư of Tri Express
Julia Fadeitcheva

In a profile tailor-made for Classics Week, the CBC shares the unorthodox journey of Trì Dư, owner of the wildly popular Tri Express sushi restaurant on Laurier Est in the Plateau. It begins in Vietnam in 1979, with the theft of a military boat.

It was 1979, four years after the fall of Saigon. Nineteen-year-old Trì wanted to escape mandatory military service. He was also looking for new opportunities, and was committed to helping his 13 brothers and sisters.
So Trì and four friends stole the vessel. They had no charts for navigation, so every morning they waited for sunrise before starting the boat’s engine and heading east.
Four days later, they arrived in the Philippines.
Like many Vietnamese refugees, Trì’s initial plan was to immigrate to the United States. But a long waiting period led him to opt for Canada instead.

Dư arrived in Montreal penniless and was, for a short time, homeless. His restaurant career began humbly, as a dishwasher, and eventually at Alan Lieberman's La Croissanterie Figaro. Sheer pluck landed him an apprenticeship under a Japanese chef and stints as a private chef for the likes of Guy Laliberté and Steven Spielberg. Over the decades Dư has cultivated a loyal body of admirers after spells at Kaizen, Treehouse, Le Petit Treehouse and now, for the past eight years, at his own Tri Express.

Go read the full CBC profile here.

Tri Express

1650 rue Laurier E., Montreal, QC H2J 1J2 (514) 528-5641 Visit Website