Thursday, July 02, 2009

Perhaps Some Lessons in Marketing to Americans are in Order

New restaurants in Alameda are fond of littering our doorway with menus. One that just appeared is a new combination Chinese-Vietnmese place. Now I love a lot of the non-beef Vietnamese food as they often use very fresh vegtables and the noodles are delicious. Having it be combined with Chinese food which is so often famously bad for you in that high fat often tasty way gives me some pause and I wonder if we have a literally mixed marriage here.

I open the menu and look at the noodle soups (a favorite), and I realize I am looking at a few 100 items none of which are veggie. Now I eat poultry and seafood, but I often eat veggie and tend to use the precense of veggie items as a mark of at least some sort of awareness of healthier choices and what a lot of people want (some alledgedly fine dining places are equally guilty of no veggie choices which is pretty inexcusable given that the don't have any cultural barriers to deal with). I find a couple of accidentally veggie items on the very last page, and ONE veggie and tofu rice plate. Not a good sign, not a place I'm going to bring veggie friends to.

Going back to the top of the menu I see Pho Ga which is Chicken Noodle Soup and decidedly not your mother's Cambell's Soup, and is often delicious. The very next item is "Pho Ga Long Trung Non" which in the points for honesty category is Chicken Noodle Soup with Intestines added. Pause. Now I was taught how to cut up a chicken, I know that even though I find them off putting, they're ok to eat. Though we would remove the intestines, my Farm Agent grandfather ate them and he lived to be 86 back in the day when it was still unusual for a guy with heart disease to live that long (the 70's), so it clearly wasn't harmful to at least him. But still, a lot of Americans of European descent aren't going to want to hear about Chicken intestines, especially things like Combination Chicken & Intestine Porridge (ok, that made me shudder a bit) and Pork Blood Porridge.

Ok enough of the menu. I close it and put in on the desk. I can't resist looking down at it. The reason? There is a picture of (a) a bowl of Pho (b) a dead plucked hanging duck and (c) a complete and very dead pig with one ear pointing up. Eeeek. OMG, can you say cultural divide? This is why you see ducks hanging in the front window in China town. They consider it truth in advertising. Someone needs to explain to them that perhaps that's a bit much truth.

So even though I've completely lost my appetite right now I will probably give their Pho Ga a try someday when I've worked my courage back up.

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