Caitlin La: CEO, and granddaughter

I have always wanted to run a business. It was in my DNA, really; I grew up in southeast London as a third-generation refugee, watching my parents forge careers and hearing tales of the businesses my grandparents had run back home.

It wasn’t until one evening around the dinner table that I got the idea to make the sauces they would have had back home and bring authentic Vietnamese flavours to the UK – where my family now call home. At that moment, Boat People Sauce was born with nothing more than an idea and £50 in my pocket. I started small, learning about branding and product development from anywhere I could. I’m still learning and still growing, but I am even more excited to share my culture, food and products with you all.

When I’m not obsessing over new products, making and baking (hopefully) good food and researching flavours, I can often be found in the garden – learning about the ingredients used in Boat People Sauce and ensuring they are always fresh and top-quality. In my downtime, I enjoy walking the dog, watching my favourite show, Downton Abbey, on repeat, and listening to country music.

But what is the Boat People story?

Boat People Sauce: A Taste of Heritage, A Story of Resilience.

In 1980, we were part of the 19,000 Vietnamese refugees who found a new beginning in the UK. Life took an unexpected turn, from bustling Hong Kong refugee camps to the quiet halls of Sopley Refugee Centre in Hampshire. Greeted with open arms by the British Red Cross volunteers, we, the “Boat People,” rebuilt our lives in a land with a strange tongue and unfamiliar customs.

Though options in local markets were limited, the embers of Vietnamese tradition burned bright. Guided by our grandparents, we learned not just recipes but the values woven into each dish: resilience, resourcefulness, and the enduring spirit of community. Their lessons echo in every simmering pot, every fragrant blend.

This is Boat People Sauce. This is Vietnam, brought home.

We bottle the vibrant flavours of our heritage, the spices that carried us through hardship, and the warmth of family gatherings. Each spoonful whispers stories of our journey, of starting anew with grace and gratitude.

More than just sauce, it’s a connection.

Join us on our culinary adventure. Explore the depths of Vietnamese taste, infused with generations of wisdom and perseverance. Discover vibrant recipes, cultural insights, and stories of resilience on our blog.

Taste the legacy of the Boat People, and bring Vietnam home with every bite by checking out our store.

Press and Accolades

Since starting our journey, we have been featured in numerous press outlets, including BBC Radio London and The Times. After winning third place in a young entrepreneur scheme, we now work closely with Enterprise Nation, MasterCard, and Strive UK, who have all helped us on our journey to grow our business.