Flint, MI—One of the Flint Farmers Market’s staple food joints, Ma Mang, is leaving its original home in the building’s East wing and moving a few booths down to be featured front and center in the cafeteria. 

Though the move is small, it opens the opportunity for some big changes.

Ma Mang founder and owner, Tony Vu, said that over the last six years, the Vietnamese restaurant cooked the majority of its food out of the Flint Works Kitchen next door. Now, Ma Mang’s new location offers a fully fitted kitchen, which Vu is eager to use to expand the restaurant’s menu.

Owner of MaMang, Tony Vu, 39, of Flint, stands in the kitchen of his future higher visibility stall in the Flint Farmers Market in June 23, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

“Moving into this awesome stall, there is a lot of really great things that come along with that … it’s just really exciting, everything will be in one space, we’ll be able to run a lot more efficiently and most importantly we’ll be able to expand our menu and Ma Mang will be the Ma Mang that I’ve always wanted,” Vu said. 

This expansion will start with the addition of new proteins to the Ma Mang menu including Char Siu (Chinese BBQ pork), lemongrass pepper chicken, and marinated mushrooms. 

Vu is also looking forward to integrating the pizza oven left behind from the previous business to use the space.

“We have that wonderful bonus of the pizza oven. We have no short-terms plans for it yet but ultimately the idea is to open it up and run it as sort of a community pizza oven. Another aspect would be opening it up to my employees. They’re really excited at the prospect of making their own pizza specials so you know, I’d be able to feature one of their specials,” Vu said.

Tony Vu, owner of MaMang, tames a flame while he cooks mushrooms in the kitchen of his new higher visibility stall in the Flint Farmers Market on June 23, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

Ma Mang also came to be known for its colorful artwork. Muralist and Flint native, Kevin Burdick, was responsible for Ma Mang’s artwork. He will be returning to the new Ma Mang, this time with a new mural in mind focusing on the Trung Sisters, who led a Vietnamese rebellion against a Chinese invasion almost 2000 years ago.

New menu items prepared by Tony Vu which will be featured on the new menu in MaMang’s new higher visibility stall in the Flint Farmers Market. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

Though a solid opening day has not been set, Vu said it could be any day now and encouraged visitors to come in and check out the new location.

“(The new space) is going to have an awesome impact both on us and our customers and the food scene in Flint as a whole. Still to this day, we’ll have people who visit our old location who are patrons of the market who tell us ‘holy crap I didn’t know you guys were back here.’ So to be able to have that kind of visibility I think will be huge,” Vu said. 

Santiago Ochoa is Flint Beat's Latinx Community reporter. He is always looking to write about anything Flint or Latinx. He especially enjoys investigative reporting and human-interest stories. A communications...