Alex Hanesakda and his family came to Wisconsin as refugees in 1982 following the Secret War in Laos. As he grew up in Burlington in western Racine County, his mother would sell egg rolls to help the family get by.
The egg rolls not only helped the family afford basic necessities like clothes, but also served as a way to educate people about Laotian culture and cuisine.
Almost 40 years later, Hanesakda is continuing that tradition through his Asian fusion restaurant, SapSap, located in Mount Pleasant. Through his dishes—such as a fried chicken bahn mi sandwich or pho—Hanesakda combines traditional southeast Asian dishes with American influences, a melding of his heritage and upbringing in the US.