I like food. A lot. So I’ll eat anything. And when I say anything, I mean it. Rocky Mountain Oysters, cobra, whatevers. But the one condition I have is I refuse to eat at French Colonial Vietnamese restaurants. Weird, right? You probably think there aren’t many. There really isn’t, I could only think of a handful. Le Colonial in San Francisco being one:
I know I know. Other than forcing my moms to learn French in school, little of French colonialism is still affecting me today. But its the PRINCIPLE! When my family visited Viet Nam, we stayed at the Continental Hotel. Why? Cause when my dad was a kid, he would ride his bike by the hotel in District 1 Sai Gon (if you call it Ho Chi Minh City, I will murder you in your sleep) and see all the rich My Trangs lounging outside in white suits and straw hats and dreamed of having enough money to do the same.
So I don’t get why Viets would open up restaurants to honor that time in our history. Seriously, read this blurb I got from the Le Colonial website:
Le Colonial, just minutes away from popular Union Square in San Francisco’s downtown district, evokes the ambiance of French colonial Vietnam in a lush, romantic setting. The inner courtyard, which once housed legendary Trader Vic’s, has been transformed into an oasis featuring mosaic-like tile flooring, a vaulted, pressed-tin ceiling, tropical plants and plush rattan furniture, all accented by the glow of candlelight. Diners enjoy a menu designed to showcase authentic Vietnamese dishes with a touch of French influence.
Its like opening up an African food place with a teak decor, animal carcasses on the walls, and Black waiters dressed all in white (with white matching gloves). Colonialism is just archaic and awkward. I do think its ironic for a Vietnamese American to go to a French/Vietnamese colonial themed restaurant in the US, but paying $80 a person for rice served in grape leaves inside of bamboo bowls is too much to pay for peeping the irony…