Ever Heard of Burmese Sushi Counters? You’ve Probably Been to One

October 29, 2017. This article, featured on the front page of The New York Times, tells the story of Gam Aung, a refugee from Burma that started his own sushi counters. Although he has not finished high school and not yet mastered the English language, he lives what he calls the “American Dream.” Many may not know that their sushi is in fact made by people from Burma, and assume the makers are Japanese. This article also highlights the success story of Philip Maung, who even through great obstacles, was able to overcome them and start a very successful sushi counter franchise with counters in 41 states and sales exceeding $140 million a year. He recruits other refugees to work for his sushi counters and creates opportunities for others by providing a two week training with a $10,000 investment requirement for those that want to run a sushi counter in his franchise.

Gam Aung, a Burmese refugee, had never heard of sushi before arriving in the United States three years ago. Today, he makes six figures a year hawking creations like the Dazzling Dragon roll and the Mango Tango.

Over two years, Mr. Aung, who never finished high school and is still working on his English, went from running one grocery-store sushi counter to three. Along the way, he saved enough for a $700,000 house and trained 10 fellow Burmese to follow in his footsteps.

“Sometimes one immigrant breaks through in a big way and creates opportunity for a lot of other people,” said David Dyssegaard Kallick, who studies immigrant entrepreneurship at the Fiscal Policy Institute in New York.

His only challenge is that “all the time I am training new people,” he said. “Because when Burmese know sushi, they want their own store.”

Here is the link to The New York Times.