Asian influences on American Cuisine: Andrew Lam’s “East Eats West”

“You know your cultural heritage is a major success when someone else is selling it back to you.”

I have always been interested in how Asian Americans have influenced American culture at large. No where is this influence more apparent than in food.  Andrew Lam, one of my favorite writers on this subject, has a new book out, East Eats West:  Writing in Two Hemispheres, that looks at the influence of the Vietnamese Diaspora.   In the video above, he talks at Feast of Words about the increasing Asian influence in food and dining, particularly in the Bay Area but spreading out beyond that.  He reads from one of his book’s essays called “Phonetics,” which is not about consonants and vowels but about pho, the popular Vietnamese soup.

In this article from New American Media, Lam further discusses Asian food influences. He says that while Rachael Ray recently butchered Pho on an episode – saying that it was Thai in origin and using pork in it – it still is an commentary on the growing influence of Asian cuisines that she would even attempt it.  Campbell Soups commercial division even sells a food service version of pho stock, such as this chicken broth version and vegetarian version.

My own family’s Thanksgivings are typically a blend of east and west, while Lam says his thanksgiving is mostly Vietnamese.   Asian influences on Thanksgiving seem to be increasing, as this article about Southern California Chinese restaurants embracing turkey seems to indicate.  We have talked before about Asian American perspectives on Thanksgiving, including that of Andrew Lam.  What about your Thanksgiving?  Was it mostly Asian, mostly American, or a blend of both?

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About Jeff

Jeff lives in Silicon Valley, and attempts to juggle marriage, fatherhood, computer systems research, running, and writing.
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