Nam (Eric) Ly was born in 1959, in Phan Thiet, Bình Thuận, Vietnam, where he lived and studied both Chinese and Vietnamese language and culture. At an early age, he dreamed of becoming a chef, moving to America, and opening his own restaurant to share his love of his native cuisines with his guests.


He learned to cook traditional Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines in Saigon, and has spent his lifetime refining his dishes and embracing the traditional techniques. 


In 1987, Eric left Vietnam to escape the communism and moved to the Philippines to study the English language and American culture, so that he could follow his dream and immigrate to the United States.

Chef Eric's first stop in America was San Francisco, CA, cooking in a Vietnamese restaurant for two years. Little Rock, AR, was his next stop, where he cooked for a Chinese restaurant and continued to hone his culinary skills.  


Although Chef Eric had passion to cook, he was still studying hard to become an American citizen. After all his hard work and dedication, Chef Eric proudly became an American citizen October of 1993.


In 1999, Chef Eric arrived in Illinois and opened his own Chinese restaurant in Herrin, IL, which was a highly successful restaurant. 


In 2009, Chef Eric combined his culinary skills in traditional Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines and opened Saigon Restaurant. This local, family owned and operated restaurant has found its home in Belleville, where Chef Eric and his wonderful family are delighted to serve their guests. Chef Eric has realized his lifelong dreams and is living the American vision of success, freedom, and entrepreneurship.