CHAO + PAN is a family owned and operated BC company founded by the mother-daughter duo, Tamara Saechao and Lisa Saepan.
CHAO + PAN produces traditional Laotian snack foods with a hint of Thai influences. Our mission is to introduce the aromatic, delicious flavours & textures of Laos and Thailand to consumers through our sweet and savoury snack foods: lotus flower cookies, mango sticky rice, pork crisps and sausages. All CHAO +PAN products are carefully made in small batches to ensure high standards of quality are maintained and to preserve the authentic flavours from our roots.
Lisa Saepan was born in Luang Namtha, Laos. Lisa and her family belonged to a hill tribe by the name of Iu Mien. Much of her upbringing took place in extremely precarious times, during the Laotian Civil War. It was a battle between the Communist Pathet Lao and the Royal Lao Army, also known as the Secret War. As a child she and her family fled from the Lao Government. From there, Lisa and her family managed to escape to Thailand only to end up in barbed wired refugee camps that were under surveillance 24/7. No refugees were allowed to leave the camp. Living conditions were poor and food scarce. There was no running water to drink or wash the days’ filth away. This was her life for several years before she, her brother, mother and a handful of relatives were given the opportunity to settle in the United States or Canada and they chose Canada. Approximately 40,000 refugees were afforded with this opportunity. Lucky Lisa.
Fast forward to present day and armed with a passion, Lisa brought forth her mastermind in creating traditional Laotian food. Lisa is a self-taught home cook and would always experiment with different ingredients in hopes of emanating the flavours from her roots. Cooking is her passion and she enjoys preparing food for family and friends.
When Lisa isn't in the kitchen whipping up delicious meals, she enjoys spending quality time with her grandchildren, watching Laotian and Thai TV shows and spending time with her friends.
Tamara Saechao was born in Kitchener, Ontario. She grew up in Surrey, BC and moved to Vancouver in 2012. As a child, she always knew she wanted to cook like her mother. She would always watch and help in the kitchen and eventually learned her mother’s recipes. Similar to Lisa, she is also a self-taught home cook and has a passion for everything food-related from cooking to baking, recipe development to food styling and photography.
Tamara’s career started in the legal field where she worked as a Paralegal at some of Vancouver’s top tier law firms. Her yearning to escape the mundane 9-5 was deep seeded. Like most entrepreneurs, she did her research, took some risks and is now fully living her goal as an entrepreneur. But how did she get there? During one of her many brainstorming sessions and snacking on her mom’s pork crisps – a light bulb went on. “Maybe we should sell my mom’s pork crisps?” After she got over imposter syndrome and deliberated with her husband, she took the plunge and just went for it. Tamara utilized her paralegal skills and did her due diligence only to find that there was nothing like her mom’s pork crisps in the market!
In Tamara's spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, focusing on her food photography hobby, travelling (when that was a thing!) and relaxing at the spa.
I remember trying out pork crisps from CHAO + PAN and I am hooked... me and my daughter always fight for them 🙈 I don’t think I ever saw or tried something special like this here in Vancouver...