KHỔ QUA is a newsletter by CÔNG TỬ BỘT and will be sent out twice every four(ish) weeks. For two issues we’ll engage in a theme. Contributions come primarily from CTB staff as well as friends of the restaurant. KQ is free for now, but if you want to support this work and the restaurant-at-large, please consider sharing the newsletter and subscribing/donating when we do add a paid option.

CÔNG TỬ BỘT opened in July 2017 as a small Vietnamese restaurant located in a gentrifying Portland, Maine neighborhood situated on Abenaki land, a part of the Wabanaki Confederacy. We acknowledge the rightful stewards of this geographical location as a part of our own commitment to holding ourselves responsible in re-educating and decolonizing our minds. The restaurant was a semifinalist for James Beard awards twice and was a finalist in 2020 before the awards were cancelled for being racist.


Alana Dao (she/her) is a co-founding and managing editor of KQ. She is a mother, writer, and restaurant worker (when that was still a thing), most recently as a prep cook and server at CTB. Her previous writing has been featured in The Kitchn, VICE, and the Huffington Post, among other publications. 

Vien Dobui (he/him) is the 46-year-old co-founder of CTB and senior editor of KQ. He is proudly one of the worst chefs and best managers to be nominated for a James Beard award.

Jessica Sheahan (she/her) is a co-founder of CTB and senior editor of KQ.  Her work was most recently featured on her Finsta account where she indulges her unresolved teenage angst.


Our staff satisfies their need for absurd teamwork and togetherness on our Twitch stream.

Our Instagram has the most up-to-date news on what we’re doing and is also weird in a hopefully charming way.

Our physical restaurant is currently closed due to the pandemic. You can eventually buy more things from us there.

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KHỔ QUA, a newsletter by CÔNG TỬ BỘT