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.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
C & C Technologies, HIT Fitness, R3 Sciences, the Acadiana Symphony Association and the United Way of Acadiana recognized for innovation.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra has decided to end its traditional Independence Day spectacular known as Red White & Boom.
Under the deal, Teche shareholders would get 1.162 shares of IberiaBank for each share of Teche stock.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The must have pieces this season
Dave Perkins, LCG Comp Plan honored along with local architects and designers at the 2014 INDesign Awards
Greg Manuel’s Lafayette-based residential development company is taking advantage of exponential industrial growth in Lake Charles.
Longtime Lafayette retailer ventures online.
It’s not how aggressive or conservative you are — it’s planning for risk that matters most.
Thanks to cutting-edge digital technology, more and more consumers are banking on ATMs and mobile phones.
Regional bank bids farewell to Downtown May 30
ABiz takes a look back at the most noteworthy moments for the local banking industry over the last year.
Most experts say short-term interest rates will be unchanged through 2014, but long-term rates are inching up.
Largest recruitment event in Acadiana returns May 21 to the Cajundome Convention Center
A lawyer’s ad should only be a starting point, as there is much more to consider when seeking quality representation.
Thanks to the inaugural 2012 INNOV8, a design for lifting heavy objects was brought to market.
The annual juried competition recognizes excellence in architecture, interior design and historic preservation in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
Cypress Bayou GM hosts open house.
New hires, promotions, transfers in Acadiana business
The scion of a landmark Four Corners restaurant climbs back into Lafayette’s culinary scene as franchisee for a popular burger chain.