New Orleans, the melting pot of food culture, harbours a thriving Vietnamese Cajun fusion scene.Vice reports on how a new generation of Vietnamese chefs express their heritage and forge a new identity by being creative with flavours and presentation of their Vietnamese cuisine.
At the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, many Vietnamese refugees, often rescued at sea, were desperate to find a new home where they could start again. Hundreds of them were invited to resettle in New Orleans.
With many of the settlers coming from fishing backgrounds, they found fertile and rich waters full of crawfish, to make a living and start businesses. Families created a life centred around fishing, cooking and eating crawfish. Taking the Cajun crawfish gumbo, the Vietnamese brought their own spice to make something unique.
At first, people didn’t really take to what they were doing, but little by little, the flavours started to seep through into the fabric of everyday life in Louisiana. Today the Vietnamese-Cajun scene is a vibrant and refreshing example of what New Orleans has to offer.
From Cajun crawfish to brisket bánh mì, po boy to pho, tracing through history and French influence which ties both cultures together, and this report is a fascinating look at how food can unite cultures.