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View From Your Table

[1]

St. Francisville, Louisiana

Take-out pho from Dang’s Vietnamese Restaurant [2] in Baton Rouge. Dang, it was delicious! (I’m sorry, the pun was there, and I had no choice). I’m so glad to have discovered a good Vietnamese restaurant in the area. I could eat Vietnamese and Thai food every single day and still not get enough.

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18 Comments To "View From Your Table"

#1 Comment By Adam DeVille On January 31, 2013 @ 5:10 pm

Mmmmmm. Vietnamese food. Or Thai. Both are fantastic during Great Lent, which is fast bearing down on us.

#2 Comment By Todd On January 31, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

I know! We have a local Vietnamese place that delivers and it’s so amazingly good. And, so very healthy!

I can’t tell you how many times the, “What’s for dinner ?” question has been answered with,”Bún!”

#3 Comment By Jane On January 31, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

Sometimes you gotta eat pho! Looks delicious. 🙂

#4 Comment By David J. White On January 31, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

Apparently some food historians think the word pho isn’t of Vietnamese origin but is actually a borrowing of the French feu, from pot-au-feu.

Having said that, Vietnamese and Thai cuisine have always struck me as being in someways a blend of, or at least intermediate between, Chinese and Indian food, combining what — unfortunately for me — I regard as the least appetizing aspects of both, at least in terms of seasoning and spices.

Having said, that, I have to agree that the dish in the picture certainly looks wonderful.

#5 Comment By Nick K. On January 31, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

From Burma to Vietnam, one sees a highly complex and variable blending of Sinic and Indic influences in every aspect of life from from language (especially written), religion, architecture, and food. Having said that, the ratio of India and China in each nation’s culture varies greatly. Vietnam is the least Indic-influenced of all the SE Asian countries and its food owes little to the foods of South Asia. There is far greater French influence in Vietnamese food than there is Indian.

There is also some very good French-influenced food in Laos. After close to a year in SE Asia, the pate that I got at a restaurant in Luang Phabang felt like a borderline miracle.

#6 Comment By IsaacH On January 31, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

Rod, what’s your opinion of Indian food? I’ve always maintained that Indian food sits atop the Asian food chain, with Thai and Vietnamese close behind (but definitely behind Indian).

#7 Comment By tmatt On January 31, 2013 @ 7:49 pm

Hang on. Great Lent is coming.

#8 Comment By Rod Dreher On January 31, 2013 @ 8:53 pm

Rod, what’s your opinion of Indian food? I’ve always maintained that Indian food sits atop the Asian food chain, with Thai and Vietnamese close behind (but definitely behind Indian).

I love it. Really love it. I don’t have a hierarchy of Asian food, but I’d say Thai and Indian are my favorites. I prefer highly spiced food.

#9 Comment By Peter H On January 31, 2013 @ 9:27 pm

I live 7 blocks from University Avenue in Saint Paul, which has a large concentration of Vietnamese restaurants, along with two very good Thai restaurants.

And not far off University is [3]

This is my reward for putting up with sub-zero temperatures.

#10 Comment By Jeffersonian On January 31, 2013 @ 11:41 pm

I live 7 blocks from University Avenue in Saint Paul, which has a large concentration of Vietnamese restaurants, along with two very good Thai restaurants.

And over on Snelling south of the state fair and Como Park are a couple of great Korean places [or at least were. Haven’t been to StP. in about eight years]. Bulgogi and ddukgalbi to my heart’s content. Yum.

I love it. Really love it. I don’t have a hierarchy of Asian food, but I’d say Thai and Indian are my favorites. I prefer highly spiced food.

I ate a lot of home-cooked food as a guest on both of my trips to Chennai, and even though our hosts graciously tried to keep the spice toned down for us Yanks, it still felt like my tongue was going to crawl off to the nearest can of milk for a nice three-year soak. Which is how I discovered curd, Indian-style plain yogurt, served almost ubiquitously on the side at every meal. Very cooling, that. Without it, I do believe I’d be speaking in ASL now.

#11 Comment By MikeRamsey On February 1, 2013 @ 12:19 am

Could it be time for a limerick contest using the correct pronunciation for Pho?

#12 Comment By Adam DeVille On February 1, 2013 @ 1:46 am

If your book tour takes you to Dayton, OH, make sure you hit up Thai 9, in a dumpy part of town but with fantastic food. The fried scallops in spicy chili sauce were incredible, as was everything else on their huge menu.

#13 Comment By M_Young On February 1, 2013 @ 3:32 am

My county has the largest Vietnamese/Vietnamese descended population in the nation. Is the food good? Yes. Was it worth the Southeast Asian gangs, the sex parlors, the ‘coffeebars’ with the very scantily clad women. No. Was it worth the displacement of the white working class? No. Not by a long shot.

Selling your birthright for a mess of pho, indeed!

#14 Comment By Tyler On February 1, 2013 @ 9:12 am

Peter H says:
I live 7 blocks from University Avenue in Saint Paul, which has a large concentration of Vietnamese restaurants, along with two very good Thai restaurants.

Jeffersonian says:
And over on Snelling south of the state fair and Como Park are a couple of great Korean places [or at least were. Haven’t been to StP. in about eight years]. Bulgogi and ddukgalbi to my heart’s content. Yum.

I live 4 blocks off University and Snelling, and I work on Energy Park! Too much great food. I’m pretty attached to pho, but we try to go to a different place for lunch every Friday. Today I’m pulling for [4]. Love Hmongtown Marketplace too.

Negative 13 degrees at sunrise. Give me something to warm my soul.

#15 Comment By Mike On February 1, 2013 @ 10:49 am

If you’re ever back in Philly,Rod, you must try Rangoon in Chinatown. Their Burmese food is stellar & the crispy lentil fritters are transcendental !

#16 Comment By Peter H On February 1, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

Jeffersonian: Two of the three Korean restaurants are still in business. The biggest of the three changed hands a couple of times before going bust.

As you probably know, Indian food gets hotter as you move south. Chennai is about as hot as it gets. The next step up is Sri Lankan food.

Tyler, we should get together over a meal sometime.

#17 Comment By David J. White On February 2, 2013 @ 11:46 am

Could it be time for a limerick contest using the correct pronunciation for Pho

I suppose the third and fourth lines could be,

I ate some bad Pho
And I threw it up — Bleugh!

***

As you probably know, Indian food gets hotter as you move south. Chennai is about as hot as it gets. The next step up is Sri Lankan food.

As many have observed, countries closer to the Equator seem to have spicier cuisines. Several explanations for this have been suggested, but the one I favor is that before modern refrigeration, food was more likely to spoil in hotter climates, and spices help mask the taste of rancid ingredients, esp. meat that has gone off.

#18 Comment By Peter H On February 2, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

I assume it was the owner of Saigon, a Vietnamese restaurant in Saint Paul, who had a Hummer that sported a vanity license plate: PHO KING.