When choosing establishments targeting a certain culinary genre, they better execute their signature dish well and hopefully the majority of the crowd should be of the same ethnicity. Meaning, if you go to Mississippi Catfish Shack don’t get a burger, and if a Korean restaurant is filled with mostly Caucasian people, don’t have high hopes.
People seek out food that is comforting to them. Food takes us back home, nourishes us inside and out. We crave familiar smells, sights and tastes to feel at ease, and at times to grasp something that connects us to far away places. It’s no surprise that I was happy to find good barbecue down here in the South to remind me of Kansas City. I suppose it may be a similar feeling for people who’s country of origin is not the United States, or who are away from home.
I believe this, and so it worries me to walk into a Mexican restaurant, and see no Mexican’s eating there or cooking in the kitchen. Yes, people of other races can master many types of cooking. But usually if the Mexican food is authentic, then other Mexicans would naturally gravitate towards the same place. Don’t get your pants all wadded up, it’s just a personal theory that’s proven to be true for me.
The other night my husband got a craving for Pho, and so we went off looking for a Vietnamese restaurant in Jackson. We found a small gem tucked away off of a busy street in an old Wendy’s building, Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant.
My excitement increased upon reading the menu and as more customers walked through the door. I kept exclaiming, “There’s another one!” I had never before seen so many Asians in one place in Mississippi, as documented in the photos above. A very promising sign. (And yes, I was the nutty Asian stealthy taking photos of other Asians.)
For an appetizer we had Vietnamese spring rolls, they were fresh, stuffed with pork, shrimp and vegetables, but lacking any discernible flavor. Then my husband order beef Pho and I got chicken with chopped egg roll and rice noodles. The Pho had the spicy, sweet fragrance it should have due to the star anise, coriander, and cardamom, it was filled with slices of beef and served with cilantro and bean sprouts on the side. My chicken had a good flavor, sweet as well, served with cucumber, a chopped up egg roll, cabbage, carrots and rice noodles. They also have traditional Vietnamese iced coffee made with sweetened condensed milk, fruit shakes with boba, and hot pots.
The prices are reasonable, the service is fast and the owner is from Vietnam. If you are in the South and need a break from all things Southern, take a little trip to Vietnam and eat at Saigon on Lakeland Drive in Flowood.
2640 Lakeland Drive
Flowood, MS 39232