Uncle Ho, of course, or at least the people’s humble noodle soup that has emerged as the unofficial national dish of Vietnam. Pho, the beef broth rich with spices, the bowl chock-a-block full of thin-sliced rare beef, meatballs, rice noodles, mung bean sprouts, fresh basil and cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and a nice hit of hot hot hot chili sauce is the answer to both winter and a killer hangover that lasts as long as the four-day debauchery it took to get it. The pho, (pronounced ph-ua) at the Driftwood Diner, way down there on Johnston, will make you so happy and well you’ll go back to work with love in your heart for all people, even your boss.
Owner Dao Bui, a native of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) moved to Lafayette in 1983, but didn’t open her small restaurant until 2006. Urged on by a cousin who had a restaurant and who taught her the ropes, as well as her three daughters, Bui created a menu that’s half Viet, half Louisiana. Meaning you can go for your pho, and bring a reluctant colleague along who would rather chow down on a catfish poboy. There’s lots of seafood on the menu for Lenten fish dishes, a daily special, eggs and bacon breakfasts, and what I consider the mother lode — hefty springrolls loaded with fresh greens, pork, shrimp and rice noodles with a peanut sauce for dipping, Oriental-flavored grilled pork over rice and a newly added Vietnamese poboy.
Bui has gotten such a positive response she says she’s getting ready to add some new Vietnamese dishes to her repertoire. Bun cha and bun thit are both noodle dishes less brothy than pho. They come with grilled meat, and the bun thit has a bottom layer of crunchy cucumber seasoned with nuoc cham, a sweet and spicy sauce made of rice vinegar, fish sauce, chilies, lime, garlic and sugar. She may also be persuaded to make green papaya salad, dressed with the bright flavors of nuoc cham, that will ruin you for all other salads.
Vietnamese cooking is one of the finest cuisines in the world and exactly right for south Louisiana. Based on the freshest seafood, lots and lots of leafy greens and fragrant herbs, grilled pork and of course rice, it is at once familiar and totally different and surprising, with the flavor of nuoc cham keeping you coming back for more. Three common elements of Vietnamese and Louisiana cuisine, French bread, beignets and cafe au lait come thanks to the French colonial period in each semi-tropical part of the world.
Another reason to thank Uncle Ho. The people’s food comes at the people’s prices. There’s nothing more than $8 on the menu, and most dishes weigh in at under $5. Now if only we could get rid of the traffic.
The Driftwood is located at 6699 Johnston St., between Carson’s Vet Clinic and Fire Station #13. Call 981-4544 to place take-out orders and for more info.
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Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday, December 12, 2013:
As part of a national undertaking known by industry insiders as the “Butterfly Project,” a rebranded version of The Daily Advertiser is set to launch with Sunday’s edition of the Gannett-owned paper.
Louisiana moved up a slot to 48th in the ranking of healthy states — once again, thank God for Mississippi! — so all this frettin’ about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal to expand Medicaid per Obamacare ... fuggidaboutit! We don’t need Medicaid no more!
The Denham Springs woman who placed Christmas lights in the shape of a butter finger on her roof in a display of anger directed at neighbors has doubled the trouble for the 2013 holiday season.
The New Orleans architect behind the 1984 World’s Fair also left his mark on Lafayette.
Laid back vibe just right for NOLA Bowl
The 30-second commercial, to run around the state, is the Democratic senator's first TV spot in her bid for re-election to a fourth term.
It's a number that has edged up but falls far short of the thousands who are eligible for subsidized coverage.
A group of mostly higher education leaders will make recommendations to state lawmakers about how to tweak the policies governing tuition rates charged at the state's public colleges.
Week long specials and a ribbon cutting celebration held in Parc Lafayette
Fort Worth company's new facility at Lafayette Regional Airport will build helicopters primarily for the export market.
Could River Ranch restaurant be the next star?
Move over Hooters — there’s a new breastaurant coming to town.
Hashtag, retweet, like, share and do whatever else it takes to get in good today with the jolly man in red.
That would be Congressman John Fleming talking about Sen. David Vitter.
The alleged mastermind behind the bribery scheme that went on for four years under DA Mike Harson’s nose isn’t just schizophrenic, bipolar and recovering from mini strokes; he now says he has cancer.
Louisiana's higher education leaders are trying to work out a financing deal to keep the state's public colleges from running low on state cash to operate their campuses.
With their latest triumph, the Saints left little doubt about how tough they are to beat in the Superdome. Unfortunately, two of their remaining three games are on the road.