Person Behind The Place: Sophie Banh
July 13, 2021 - by Sandy Vo
Categories Heart of Bellevue Person Behind the Place
Person Behind The Place:
Executive Chef | Monsoon
Sophie Banh, with the help of her brother, Eric Banh, came to Washington knowing she wanted to do something different in the food world. With limited Vietnamese restaurants in the Seattle area, they came up with ideas to elevate Vietnamese cuisine using local ingredients, experimenting with tradition, and pushing boundaries. Monsoon was born in 1999, becoming the first Seattle restaurant to reimagine Vietnamese cuisine. As their success continued to climb, they opened another location in Old Bellevue, bringing their own original style and flair to downtown. Executive Chef Sophie Banh shares what makes Monsoon and Vietnamese food so special, and where you can find her around the Heart of Bellevue.
What is the best part about Vietnamese food?
Vietnamese cooking uses a lot of herbs and raw vegetables making it very fresh and delicious. We use lots of local products and good ingredients.
What is unique about Monsoon?
The menu at Monsoon is very special with dishes that my siblings and I grew up eating in Vietnam. Our Catfish Claypot is a standout – it’s a traditional Vietnamese dish found mostly in the countryside where they fish from the Mekong river. We serve it with fresh Idaho catfish that’s caramelized in the clay pot with fresh coconut juice and green onion. We also couldn’t do what we do at Monsoon without our skilled wok chefs whose talents help create the most flavorful dishes for our guests, including our wokked wheat noodles with king oyster mushroom, egg, and green onion.
What do you love about working in Downtown Bellevue?
I see a lot of different cultures come through our doors. I get to meet people from all around the world.
Anything special going on at Monsoon?
We have just added a new street patio on Main Street for additional outdoor dining, complete with umbrellas for shade. Guests can enjoy a rotating selection of boozy slushies that are perfect on any hot day.
In the summertime, we also highlight local, fresh produce in our seasonal dishes. We currently have wokked Washington sweet corn, and a refreshing watermelon salad with baby kale, feta cheese, roasted almonds, and tamarind vinaigrette. And our Ahi Tuna Rolls are back as we return to full capacity!
Where do you like to shop Downtown?
I like to shop at Nordstrom in Bellevue Square.
Where are your favorite places to eat in Downtown?
I like to grab coffee at Starbucks, get lunch at Whole Foods Market and dine out at Cantinetta.
Any favorite hidden gems in Bellevue you would like to share?
It might not be hidden but I love Main Street during the summer. The street patios are so fun!
Follow Monsoon on instagram for menu updates and happenings!
Person Behind the Place is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.
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10245 Main St
Bellevue, WA 98004