How Leila Jace Built a Thriving Street Food Joint Inspired by Childhood Memories in Vietnam

Growing up in Vietnam, Leila Jace cherished the simple joys of childhood, like the intoxicating aroma of smoky grilled corn wafting from street vendors as she walked home from school. She didn’t have much money, but she saved up her lunch money to buy a treat she loved – a slightly charred corn on the cob sprinkled with scallions for extra flavor.

Little did she know that this fond memory would become the star of her own restaurant in Fresno, California.

Just nine months ago, Leila’s dream came true as she opened the doors to Sizzle n’ Steam, a cozy spot at Maroa and Shields avenues in Fresno. This Vietnamese street food joint has quickly become a hit, boasting an impressive 4.5-star rating on and even snagging the third spot in The Bee’s poll for the most underrated restaurant in town.

Leila’s journey to becoming a food entrepreneur is quite a story. According to The Fresno Bee, Leila came to California at 14 without speaking much English. She pursued her studies and even built a successful career in retirement planning. But a longing for change and a desire to be close to her parents led her to Fresno, where she decided to give life a new flavor – by opening a restaurant.

What makes Sizzle n’ Steam so special? It’s all about fusing Leila’s unique style and travel adventures with the mouthwatering Vietnamese street food. Yes, the menu features well-known delicacies like pho, spring rolls, and bowls of vermicelli noodles. But the real magic lies in the lesser-known treats that Leila has added, like the Gilroy garlicky fries that pay homage to the place her family first settled when they came to the U.S. The restaurant also offers an array of vegan and vegetarian options, catering to a diverse clientele.

Aside from what her restaurant has to offer, Leila’s warm hospitality is outstanding, transforming her customers into friends, and turning Sizzle n’ Steam into a hub where diners feel right at home.

Featured Image Source: The Fresno Bee