Top 5 Vietnamese-Inspired Dishes in Houston

The Shrimp and Grits at Down House.
The Shrimp and Grits at Down House.
Minh T. Truong

The cuisine of Houston is not easily defined. It is a symbol of the diversity of our great city. We can of course claim to have amazing Mexican food, barbecue and beef, but we also have some of the best Vietnamese food in the country, thanks to our large Vietnamese population. It's become very evident in many dishes at restaurants throughout the city that the food, ingredients and culture of that Asian country are very influential in our community.

A clear example of this influence is Underbelly, where Chris Shepard tells "the story of Houston food" through dishes that borrow elements from some of his favorite ethnic foods. And ask any chef around town and they will surely mention a Vietnamese restaurant as one of their go-to's. Being Vietnamese, the country's food is my home, and having grown up here, Houston is also my home, so to have the two intertwined makes this girl very happy. Here are my top five favorite Vietnamese-inspired dishes in Houston town.

5. The Shrimp and Grits at Down House is much talked about, and deservedly so. This is a dish that truly combines a Southern standard with our city's Vietnamese tastes. An island of tender Anson Mills grits sits in a light herbal pho broth. Plump shrimp and bacon bits add sweetness and fattiness, and a beautiful poached egg graces the top of the dish. Once the yolk is broken, a layer of creaminess is added. The flavors are familiar yet different, and it is the very definition of what Houston cuisine has come to be.

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