Uncle Bia Hoi, the venue formerly known as Uncle Ho, has changed its name to Aunty Oh’s Bia Hoi.
The news was announced on social media last night, with management taking to Instagram to present the new branding and logo for the restaurant, which features a stylised image of a woman named "Aunty Oh". The Uncle Bia Hoi Facebook page this morning featured a post that announced the change and asked visitors to ‘like’ a new Facebook page, titled Aunty Oh Bia Hoi.
Venue management will be hoping it puts an end to the problems experienced by the Fortitude Valley eatery since opening on March 24. Its troubles came to a head last weekend when the local Vietnamese community protested both in person and on social media against the previous name, Uncle Ho — a reference to the Communist Vietnamese leader, Ho Chi Minh — and accompanying propaganda style imagery. Ho Chi Minh is popular in many parts of modern Vietnam but a divisive figure among Vietnamese Australians, many of whom fled the country after Communist forces took Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) early in 1975.
When approached by Broadsheet, Doctor C. T. Bui, president of the Queensland chapter of the Vietnamese Community of Australia and one of the leaders of the recent protests, had not been informed of the branding change but was encouraged by the news. He said that if it was accompanied by the removal of imagery of Ho Chi Minh and propaganda-style posters depicting tanks and warplanes, the local Vietnamese community’s protests would cease. “That would be plenty. That’s what we want,” Doctor Bui says. “If she has removed the imagery of the tanks and planes, and everything related to [Ho Chi Minh], we are happy now.”
But Doctor Bui still wants investigated claims of death and arson threats made on the Uncle Ho Instagram account last Sunday. Bui says a police investigation would guarantee the venue operators’ safety but also clear the name of the Vietnamese community. He says the timing of claims seemed to imply the Vietnamese community’s involvement. “We have written to the police, asking them to investigate to it,” Bui says. “We don’t want to be blamed for something we didn’t do … We don’t want to push anyone in the corner. We just want everything clear.”
Aunty Oh’s Bia Hoi is a modern Vietnamese restaurant serving food and drinks inspired by the bia hoi stalls that are popular in many parts of the Vietnam. Before the protests, Broadsheet named Uncle Ho as one of the most exciting recent openings in Brisbane.
Venue owner Anna Demirbek declined to comment when contacted by Broadsheet, saying she was focusing on the re-launch.