Since 1988, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos has served countless surfers, skaters and everyone in between with their unique spin on the classic taco featuring Chinese-Brazilian flavors. The company, while starting from humble beginnings in Costa Mesa, Calif., has played host to some of the greatest surfers in the world. At the center of this culinary revolution is Wing Lam (San Diego State University, ’84) and his brothers.
As an undergraduate at San Diego State, Lam followed the path so many Brothers before him experience: unsure if he was ready to follow the Greek Life path. But what sticks out in Lam’s mind vividly was watching as Brian Goodell take gold in the 1980 Olympics, proudly representing Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE). Lam remembers a switch being flipped for him that maybe Greek Life could be more than the typical party scene.
So, Lam searched around and found a home at Lambda Chi Alpha.
Through all the memories from his days in the Fraternity, Lam is most fond of the simple times of coming together as Brothers over a meal or cooking for other Greek organizations, taking the helm with his kid brothers. It was a way, in Lam’s mind, to continue practicing cooking the incredible flavors of his Chinese-Brazilian heritage while making others happy.
But, as with most things, practicality took precedence. Lam graduated from San Diego State with a finance degree to go on to corporate America but knew the suit life was not cut out for him.
“And I thought, ‘Well, you know, this is kind of boring, just pushing paper’,” said Lam. “I’d rather do something more exciting.”
Since his graduation from San Diego, the one thing that Lam missed the most was the opportunity to go on road trips with his brothers to surf. As those trips became farther away, Lam knew those moments were what brought him joy, not being trapped at a desk job. But how to make that a living?
“The one thing we talked about is ‘Hey, we need to have a place where we can hang out’,” said Lam. “It would be kind of like a fraternity house but for all the surfers and skaters.”
Lam and his brothers decided to pull on what they knew best for this fraternity outside of college: food.
Within a couple of years, all the best surfers in the world were stopping by Lam’s little taco shack in Costa Mesa, the mecca for the surf industry in Orange County at the time.
And everybody came.