What we’re seeing:
We’ve known for years that Asian food is no longer specifically for takeout. Did we expect to be eating ramen for lunch three times a week? Not really, but we can’t get enough. So many restaurants are doing mind-blowing authentic cuisine from smaller countries like Korea and Vietnam, and even more obscure cuisines like Scandinavian and Peruvian are being touched by these Asian influences.
What they’re saying:
Katie Workman, food author: Kimchi seems to be cross-pollinating dishes on menus outside of Korean restaurants, and not just traditional kimchi, but other version of this pickled condiment.
In the kitchen:
• East Borough in Costa Mesa and Culver City, CA, focuses on simple, accessible street food with an authentic approach in the French/Vietnamese tradition. Bahn mi sandwiches and other staples of Vietnamese cuisine are served in a fast-casual atmosphere.
• Departure Restaurant + Lounge in Portland is a pan-Asian, rooftop restaurant helmed by Gregory Gourdet. Departure does a “Compass Dinner” series, where each dinner focuses on the cuisine of one specific region or country.
• Jet Tila’s menu at Pakpao in Dallas showcases Northern Thai cuisine with an upscale spin. Examples include Pineapple Fried Rice, served on a pineapple half; a Waterfall Steak Salad; and the traditional Northern Thai dish Khao Soi.