When he moved to Webster in 1988, the first thing he did was open his own Vietnamese restaurant, drawing on his heritage.
He has now been in the business for almost 30 years.
“I had nothing else to do beside this,” Lien said.
After operating a restaurant in Webster for 12 years, Lien took two years off from the business before opening Thanh Phuong in Pearland in 2002 at the suggestion of a friend.
“I came over here with a friend, a customer. He lived over here, and he told me to come over here and open a restaurant,” Lien said.
The most challenging part of running a restaurant is getting it off the ground, Lien said.
“Everything is harder at the beginning,” Lien said.
As the owner, Lien would work 15 hours a day when he first opened Thanh Phuong. Now that the restaurant is running smoothly, he can leave managers in charge from time to time, Lien said.
“I had to be here like a babysitter,” Lien said.
Located in East Pearland at 3236 E. Broadway St., Thanh Phuong serves Vietnamese and Chinese dishes, specifically, Taiwanese cuisine. Customer favorites include the Vietnamese eggrolls, shrimp spring rolls, the deep-fried rabbit dish and the creme brulee.
“[The customers] enjoy our food, so I am happy,” Lien said.
The best part of owning the business is working in Pearland, Lien said.
Over the years, Thanh Phuong has seen a mix of new and regular customers. Lien said there are often people who come to the restaurant as children and keep coming later on as adults.
“It’s some old, some new and some have passed away. And some kids who grow up,” Lien said.
While Lien enjoys the business, he does not plan on expanding.
“Now I am too old. I will maybe work three more years and retire,” Lien said.