What is it about the national media that gets Vietnamese-food trends laughably late and wrong? If it's not The New York Times “discovering” Sriracha and bánh mì, it's the Washington Post devoting way too many words to some D.C.-area chefs who, as the headline puts it, “put their own spin” on pho. And what are those personal touches? Using higher-quality meats, duck instead of chicken, and what writer Tim Carman calls “a heady little leaf known as the rice-paddy herb.”
BREAKING NEWS! Little Saigon chefs have done all these things for years.
The story is laughable. The Southern Californian jingoist in me wants to be sympathetic to Carman, but the D.C. area has a chingo of Vietnamese–maybe not approaching San Jose or Little Saigon numbers, but sizable. And when Carman gushes about a restaurant that “injects French classicism into Vietnamese cooking,” I laughed. It's a whole genre of Vietnamese cooking, Tim!
The only thing I find interesting about the story: non-Vietnamese chefs trying to make pho. Wonder why we don't see that here in OC . . . Instead, otherwise-sane chefs try to make tacos.