Comment of the Day: How Ethnic Food Becomes Fine Dining, in a Few Simple Steps

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW ETHNIC FOOD BECOMES FINE DINING, IN A FEW SIMPLE STEPS “The pattern in Houston is the same as in a lot of cities: Pricier ‘fine-dining’ establishments are found in city centers and more desirable neighborhoods where rents tend to be higher, while the more interesting but less refined ethnic restaurants open in areas where rents are affordable for their (often recent immigrant) owners. There is a sort of built-in prejudice against paying fine-dining prices for certain types of ethnic foods. One often hears ‘I’m not paying $25 for Thai/Vietnamese/Mexican food.’ We haven’t minded paying high prices for French or Italian food for at least two generations. And Japanese food followed a generation later. Spanish restaurants are commonplace, fine-dining Chinese food can now be found in many markets, and Houston has one of the finest Mexican restaurants in the country in Hugo’s. As 2nd generation immigrants come of age, you often see chefs receive ‘classical’ training, gain experience in the country’s best restaurants, then connect this knowledge with the food they grew up with. I fully expect Houston to have, say, a top-notch fine dining Vietnamese restaurant within the next decade.” [Angostura, commenting on Comment of the Day: Following the Great Chain Restaurant Migration]

7 Comment

  • Ethnic food: BARF!

  • “I’m a MOG..half man, half dog”

  • From r_UNIT:

    “I’m a MOG..half man, half dog”

    Wasn’t that a TV series in the early 80s?

  • I recall paying $19 for a “po” boy at Beaver’s once. I thought that was funny. It wasn’t nearly worth the price, either.

  • Interesting comment. Sounds like a well thought out theory.

    MOG is from the movie Spaceballs.

  • Just wondering if you think we need a “top-notch” Viet place. Thats what make it delicious food. Simple and more fresh ingredients with less oil when compared to other east and south asian countries nearby. Although if you really get into eating it, there are a significant amount of heavily salted, highly processed meat-like products. Many of the items commonly eaten in Viet homes, rather than restaurants, are slightly more complicated in preparation, but there just aren’t a lot of common “high-end things” in their diet lingering in the shadows.

    Guess what I’m trying to say is, that I have a hard time picturing a “high end” Viet place without picturing someone who tries to meld some Western sales term with the food and call it “the real thing.” Like those buying kobe beef burgers or truffle oil fries. Its not lying about anything its just giving someone the impression of high-end fine dining (a relative term) when its really just something marginally better at most and extremely more expensive at the least. Kobe beef pho, I can already here them announcing it. $19 a bowl.

  • Doesn’t sound like the commenter was saying that it was “needed” — just pulled as an example of the trend in combining culinary styles. Are more options really a problem? If one doesn’t care for a particular option then one doesn’t have to partake. It’s not like the “simple and more fresh” Vietnamese restaurants will cease to exist as a result.