Assimilation, 2016-Style: Come to America, Learn Vietnamese

East meets South in Orange County, California.


A story in the Los Angeles Times describes a cultural crossroads that would have sounded like science fiction 60 years ago. It's about immigrants coming to California from Latin America, getting jobs in Orange County restaurants, and deciding to learn the language to get ahead. And by "the language," I mean Vietnamese.

The basic reasons for this are simple enough. Orange County has more than 10,000 Vietnamese-owned businesses; a great deal of the available labor pool came from Mexico and other points south; the businesses hire who's available; the workers know a useful skill when they see one. But there are a lot of culturally specific details as well. My favorite:

For Vietnamese restaurant owners there's an added benefit, though few like to admit it openly: They worry less about Latino workers, especially chefs, taking what they've learned and being able to become rivals in hypercompetitive Little Saigon.

"In the Viet owner's eyes, it's easy to understand how they can rely on Latino workers to keep family recipes within the family," [restaurant consultant Andrea] Nguyen says.

The reporter speaks with several Latinos who have been working on their Vietnamese, including the Mexican-American head waiter at a place called Song Long, who appears to have mastered the language. Naturally, their comments to the paper are all in English.

NEXT: New Hampshire's Forfeiture Reforms Don't Truly Address Sources of Police Abuse

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Yo quiero ph?

    1. Pho yo!

  2. Doesn’t Vietnamese use the Latin character set? If so, that would be a big advantage to a person from Latin America.

    1. Yes it does. I’m assuming they adopted it during French colonial rule?

      1. Yes, I couldn’t remember how that came to be, but you’re right.

      2. The Roman Vietnamese script was developed by Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century and coexisted with with 3 other scripts until the Vietnamese Nationalists adopted the Roman Vietnamese alphabet and established schools to teach it starting in 1907 and it replaced the other 3 scripts by the 1930s.

        1. See, this is another reason these are the best political discussion boards in the world. Where else would a commenter post this kind of info?!

          1. HuffPo? I keed, I keed!

          2. Yeah I know, right? I mean, you know, except for Wikipedia. Or omniglot. I do like that people are curious about it.

  3. An advantage for Spanish speakers learning Vietnamese is that they can then say something in a lot fewer words…or fewer symbols at least… 🙂

  4. “World Peace Requires Esperanto”

    *and* b?nh m

    1. The b?nh m? might be enough all on its own.

      1. B?nh m? burrito? (is *too* written in an English script.)

        1. you could probably make a lot of money with that in california somewhere

  5. Naturally, their comments to the paper are all in English.

    And that’s the trick of it all, isn’t it. My guess is most of the people involved know English. It’s the melting pot at work. It’s a much better model than multi-culturalism.

    Otherwise, you have to assume the Mexicans are guilty of cultural appropriation.

  6. But I thought they weren’t sending their best…

    1. Some of them, I’m sure, are nice people.

    2. It goes without saying that the Mexican cooks moonlight and rapists and drug dealers.

      1. Damn Mexicans, stealing respectable jobs like rapists and drug dealers from working class whites.

      2. “They are thieves, they are rapists, and some, I suppose have become fluent in Vietnamese.”

    3. Which should be scary if the better ones are staying home.


    1. Racism against the white man of course. Clearly they should sacrifice their profit margins for the privilege of employing an entitled piece of shit.

    2. The immigrant Mexican work ethic for jobs like these is far superior, is why.

      1. I imagine that has more to do with the environment they grew up in than their race (although of course their race shapes their environment to some extent). compared to having to walk a mile each way for water (a guy from el salvador I used to work with) jobs that americans spend lots of money to not have to do are a dream come true. I know people are in conditions like that some places in africa too, but a much lower percentage of black people in the US are first generation immigrants.

    3. My buddy manages a Friday’s in HillbillyMethLand in Maryland. His best comment to me, “Thank god, I finally managed to hire some Hispanics in the kitchen.”

      1. The owner is thinking, “Too bad, I haven’t yet managed to hire all Hispanic managers”

  8. This article is a really great find, thanks Jesse. Fusion rules. Now I’m getting hungry thinking about Mexican-Viet fusion food, which I’ve never had.

    1. No kidding, i would eat the fuck out that.

      1. These masturbation euphemisms are making me thirsty!

        1. Have some bubble tea!

        2. have some pretzels!

    2. There’s definitely a Mexican-Vietnamese restaurant mentioned either in a Seinfeld episode or in American Psycho. Can’t remember which.

    3. Not quite the same thing, but there is a Korean burrito joint not far from my house. It’s pretty damn good.

      1. Korexican for the win.

      2. Yeah, there is a Korean/Japanese taco truck in my area. Tasty!

        1. Mmmmmm……bulgogi beef tacos….*drool*

      3. Think that Ray Choi guy who has been featured on Reason a number of times offers some kind of Korean-Mex fusion. I bet it’s good, but I haz no access. :`-(

    4. There’s a restaurant in my area that offers a fusion rueben. They replace the sauerkraut with kimchi. Very tasty.

  9. ACLU director in Georgia quits organization after encountering transgender men in the women’s bathroom. I’m linking to this site specifically because the only other sites carrying the story are niche conservative outlets; not a word on any of the major sites. I’m sure it’s just an oversight what with transgender issues only rarely making the news.

    Anyway, besides the mushy blather about intersectionality, her complaints are pretty interesting.

    In a statement she accused the ACLU of being “a special interest organization that promotes not all, but certain progressive rights. In that way, it is a special interest organization not unlike the conservative right, which creates a hierarchy of rights based on who is funding the organization’s lobbying activities.”

    1. And by interesting I mean unsurprising, predictable, and refreshing to hear admitted by a true believer.

    2. “There is absolutely no documented incident of anyone of transgender experience attacking, molesting, or interacting in any way [that is inappropriate with]? any woman.”

      Perhaps not yet but with the laws that are coming, it will happen.

      1. Why do people insist on using that argument? Well, it never happened before…

        Fucking morons.

        1. NASA made that argument in January 1986?

          1. Freaking NASA, injecting itself into the LGBT debate.

            1. buncha old white guys. who cares?

      2. It will, and it neither bolsters the case that transgendered individuals can’t reasonably be accommodated nor that compulsory accommodation won’t be abused by molesters. Blanket bans and mandates are not the answer.

        Christ, this is such a stupid issue.

      3. “”There is absolutely no documented incident of anyone of transgender experience attacking, molesting, or interacting in any way [that is inappropriate with]? any woman.””

        How can we possibly know this? Have they gone through all the arrest records of every jurisdiction in the US looking for transgendered people who fought someone in a bathroom?

        Yeah, this is a really dumb issue and everyone involved is making really dumb arguments.

        1. Not many people know about it yet, Obama’s new bathroom wars, that is. When most people has found out, there’s going to be a shit storm.

          I’m not all worked up about it myself, but if anyone thinks that pervs will not use this to get into the ladies room, they’re fucking crazy. I remember at my last full time employer, a private college, they had to throw some middle aged perv out of the ladies locker room 3 times. He had all sorts of excuses for walking in there. He was looking for his sister was the one I remember. Now, he could just walk in naked and I guess nothing would happen as long as he said he woke up this morning and decided he’s a woman.

          1. I don’t have a problem with the women’s bathroom thing, but I do have a problem with not breaking up shower rooms at college by gender. The University of Toronto already had a situation where boys went and videotaped girls showering with their I-phones in a co-ed bathroom.

            18 year old boys are massive perverts and some of those massive perverts are scummy enough to actually tape naked women without their consent. This makes co-ed college shower rooms untenable and potentially dangerous for women.

            1. Well, everyone gets to be internet stars. What’s the problem?

            2. in that situation I would definitely have a boner.

          1. Look to see a lot more of this, soon.

      4. And, of course, it avoids the main complaint about doing away with sex-segregated bathrooms:

        Its not the occasional tranny that people are worried about, its the hetero pervs and creeps.

    3. Wow, who could have predicted that? I mean, it’s not like I’ve heard the commenters hear, many times, saying that the progressives will trample all over women’s or minorities rights, or any other rights they’ve previously upheld, when their next political move calls for it. Sometimes you have to break some omelets.

      1. Eggs to make some omelets…

        1. They already broke those eggs. Now they need to break the omelets to make new omelets because they’ve run out of eggs.

          1. Yo dawg, i heard you liked omelets, so i put an omelet in your omelet so you can omelet while you omelet.

    4. The *director* of the Georgia ACLU – someone who’s been in that organization for years working her way up – just *now* realizes that the ACLU is not going to spend its resources fighting all types of rights violations?

      While I applaud her ‘we should be fighting for everyone’s rights’ stance – I also have no doubt that she’s been a key player in deciding where and when her organization will intervene.

      Simply put, everyone has a bias, everyone has their own agenda.

      1. In fairness to her, how often do people on this board say something to the effect of “sure the ACLU is bad on (insert a laundry list of issues) but they still do a lot of good work”. You hear that a lot. I am sure she realized the ACLU had become just another Democratic interest group long before now. It was just the insistence that she pretend men were really women that caused her to finally say enough was enough.

        1. The ACLU is exclusively a wing of the Democratic party. They will stand up for justice, when it suits their Democratic party masters.

          1. FWIW, the ACLU does support Citizens United so they aren’t totally Democratic shills.

            1. Good point.

            2. Probably because CU tried to silence Michael Moore using the law their case repealed.

          2. If I remember some grad school reading correctly, there was something of a generational change in the ACLU in the 1960s or 1970s. My vague recollection is that the original generation continued to stand for freedom of speech in almost all cases while the younger generation were more committed to leftist causes. I think there was a specific case which really fractured the ACLU but I’m drawing a blank right now.

        2. “Dillard Smith argues that transgender rights have “intersectionality with other competing rights, particularly the implications for women’s rights.” Intersection of tg and women only evidently…

  10. OT: Just stumbled across this little gem: Black Lives Matter Pasadena Organizer Convicted of Felony ‘Lynching’ Charge

    You can’t make this shit up!

    1. The business owner originally asked the police to arrest the suspect, but was told he would have to make a citizen’s arrest, since the police officers had not witnessed the incident occur. The owner agreed. At that point, the officers were duty-bound to effect the arrest.

      My head is spinning off my shoulders. What the hell?

    2. So a mob leader whipped up a mob and ran afoul of anti-mob laws, and the police and DA are throwing the book at her because she didn’t respect their authoritah. I’m not seeing a good guy here.

      1. It’s good to see pushback against the lawlessness of BLM protesters, but they couldn’t have picked a weaker case than this.

      2. They drop most of the charges and only asked for 1 year out of a 4 max. I don’t have all the info but it seems like a political prosecution. I would like to see video of the event.

        1. It certainly sounds that way.

      3. History is the tale of dicks happening to each other, o Man of Squats. It is known.

        1. “Oh, I think not,” Varys said, swirling the wine in his cup. “Power is a curious thing, my lord. Perchance you have considered the riddle I posed you that day in the inn?”
          “It has crossed my mind a time or two,” Tyrion admitted. “The king, the priest, the rich man?”who lives and who dies? Who will the dicksman obey? It’s a riddle without an answer, or rather, too many answers. All depends on the man with the dick.”
          “And yet he is no one,” Varys said. “He has neither crown nor gold nor favor of the gods, only a piece of pointed flesh.”
          “That piece of flesh is the power of life and death.”
          “Just so? yet if it is the dicksmen who rule us in truth, who do we pretend our kings hold the power? Why should a strong man with a dick ever obey a child king like Joffrey, or a wine-sodden oaf like his father?”
          “Because these child kings and drunken oafs can call other strong men, with other dicks.”

          1. Man, i don’t even know if i LIKE A Song of Ice and Fire anymore. I got to take stock.

      4. She whipped up a mob because the police were arresting a black woman for running out on her check at a restaurant. This wasn’t the case of the police going after someone for filming them. They were for once doing their jobs and arresting someone for an actual crime. I don’t think it is a very good idea to say that it is okay for a mob to show up every time the police try to arrest a black person, even when the arrest is legitimate.

        I don’t see how you can say the police are the bad guys here.

        1. The article is shittily written and it’s hard to figure out exactly what happened. But it sounds like the mob didn’t prevent the cops from doing their job, and were mostly just an annoyance. The police did their jobs, arrested the scumbag, and the crowd dispersed. Two days later, they came to arrest her. They charged her with 3 things that make sense and the lynching charge. They dropped all but the lynching charge.

          So yeah, like FH said, it sounds like a political prosecution of someone who annoyed the police. Now, I don’t have much sympathy for her, because she whipped up a mob. But the chain of events seems more than a little fishy to me.

          The juvenile, who was not identified, was released into his mother’s custody that same evening, police said.

          Two nights later, Pasadena police arrested Richards in Northwest Pasadena and booked her for allegedly committing four crimes during the incident in the park that Saturday afternoon. Richards was arrested for inciting a riot, child endangerment, delaying and obstructing peace officers in the discharge of their duties, and the lynching offense. By the time Richards had come to trial this month, only the lynching charge remained.

          1. It almost seems like they couldn’t get her for running out on the bill because they didn’t have evidence so they got her for something unrelated

          2. They charge her with the one thing the cops know she didn’t do.

            “The taking by means of a riot of any person from the lawful custody of any peace officer is a lynching.”

            They didn’t take the suspect. And there is no “attempted lynching.”

            The obstructing charge could have stuck, but I guess it didn’t carry enough in the way of penalties to suit them.

            1. Crap. Didn’t read far enough. There is an “attempted lynching.” Derp.

            2. Also, wasn’t she the ‘suspect.’ Therefore, they charged her with…lynching herself.

              1. You can be charged with that, from what I’m reading.

              2. The dine and dasher and the lyncher are two different girls.

    3. The left and the leftists media are encouraging their mobs towards violence. I’m sure it’s going to come as a big surprise to the violent mobs when they get their heads broken by the authoritah, that the people who encouraged them will be nowhere to be found and will have washed their hands of the whole affair. Useful idiots, yes that’s a real thing.

      1. Here’s the problem: I don’t think the police are as perturbed, philosophically or physically, by these people as the rest of us. For the most part, they seem to be pretty complacent and rightly worried that intervening will look discriminatory. The same goes for administrators. They’re going along to get along and tolerating abuses that would get anyone else jailed or kicked off campus. If the protesters continue escalating violence, it’s going to be other civilians getting the brunt of it, not the protesters.

        1. and after all, BLM leadership feels looting is OK if it improves the quality of life of the looter and is just a protest under another name…and ACLU leadership supports self-determined gender rights enforced by the man until it effects them personally evidently…

  11. I frequent an asian supermarket in this area – Korean owned but they spread their products across all immigrant cultures to capture all the trade.
    Most of their workers are central americans with a few Ethiopians and Koreans sprinkled through. Must be some interesting communications.

    1. We do almost all of our grocery shopping at 3 different Korean markets. We still shop the other markets for certain items, not available anywhere else, but almost all of our produce and meat come from the Korean markets.

      1. Hmart is actually one of them, but not our favorite. And all their employees around here are also almost exclusively Latin Americans, probably illegals who they pay $1 a day for their 16 hour days. This is why I like the Koreans so much, they’re almost libertarians!

    2. As Citizen X above alluded to, all slant business owners are exploitive dirtbags that should be hiring more premium caucasian baggers and stockers.

      1. The WT lady with the flesh apron who is absolutely no help ever at my local Kroger could surely use a change of venue.

      2. Late one nite when I was checking out at one of the Asian markets, I saw one of them, Korean lady, take a broom to one of the Latino grocery baggers. Seriously, she was beating him down with a broom. I couldn’t understand a word she said, but I did make out, afterwards, him uttering the words ‘That bitch is crazy’.

      3. I don’t any fucking caucasians checking out my groceries. Here’s a typical comparison.

        I go into the Giant, zit faced teen white boy is checking me out. I have 3 items, jalopenos, Kiwis, Avacado.

        Check out boy: Duuuhhh, what is this? For all 3 items. 20 minutes later I’m free to go.

        I go into the Korean market and have a full cart of many different types of produce.

        3 minutes later I’m checked out and free to go.

        1. Don’t get me started on register biscuits not having a clue what a blood orange or a poblano pepper even is. Stupid fucking white people.

          1. The Koreans will never ask you a question, they seem to know immediately what every item is and they’re fast as hell. The first time I saw this, I was amazed by it.

          2. My jalape?os sprouted out of nowhere. I need to harvest them soon. Damn lazy Serrano and habaneros are half the size and no peppers yet.

            1. I just now have baby maters coming on up here on the tundra.

              1. I had all kinds of peppers and tomatoes coming in, went out of town for one day, and now it’s nothing but cukes. I’m gonna have to burn the vines before they bury the house.

                1. If it was zucchini, it would have already ate the house.

              2. I have 16 tomatoes on the verge of ripening. Maybe another couple days.

                1. You motherfuckers and your latitude privilege.

  12. This article doesn’t reinforce my preexisting biases about immigrants, the exploitation of immigrants, or immigrants taking jobs away from rednecks, so there must be something wrong with it.

    1. My thoughts exactly. I mean, the headline doesn’t even give me a clue on what to think. Is it “And That’s OK” or “Why That’s Not OK”?

  13. I had some great Middle Eastern food in Puerto Rico… and the Italian place across the street was also good.

    But damn the Cubans there knew how to make beef right.

    1. Cubans do beef as a hobby. They cook pork on a whole different level even from beef.

      1. I have a Cuban friend from my martial arts class. One summer he had a cookout party, and they did a whole pig. I still drool just thinking about it.

    2. Sounds like fucking cultural appropriation to me.

      1. All the Greek and French places around me are run by Lebanese, except for one Greek place that is run by Egyptians. Also, seemingly all of the Chinese buffets have pizza and sushi.

        Naturally, EVERY restaurant, regardless of genre, is in a building rented from Hasids.

        Basically, anyone trying to walk back cultural appropriation is locking the barn door years after the horse bolted, moved to a new town, and started a business selling cow-related merchandise.

        1. Similarly, there’s a French restaurant near where I live that seems to be run by a Chinese family. The food’s not bad either.

        2. One thing that’s been bothering me…wouldn’t the opposite of cultural appropriation be segregation?

          1. We have a winner!

          2. Logic and reason are artifacts of the white cis-European patriarchal so-called “Enlightenment,” shitlord!

          3. Ultimately, yes. Or you can call it multi-culturalism.

            If cultures are exposed to one another long enough, they’ll homogenize. Members of each culture will “appropriate” the useful elements of the other until the best elements of each culture prevail in what is, effectively, a new culture. It’s a good thing. And it works.

      2. They’re not dude bros so it’s alright.

    3. Where in Puerto Rico? Because I distinctly remember a fantastic Lebanese place in either Fajardo or Ceiba with a really good Italian restaurant nearby.

      Also, it had Papa Joe’s. Damn I miss that place.

      1. Oooh, have you ever bought pizza at Papa John’s before? Get the garlic butter sauce!

        1. I doubt that there is either garlic or butter in that sauce.

        2. Papa Joes. Not Papa Johns. It was a most excellent strip club/taqueria/restaurant near Rosie Roads in Ceiba.

          1. oooh, thanks for the tip. *marks it down*

        3. Oooh, have you ever bought pizza at Papa John’s before? Get the garlic butter sauce!

          Don’t even joke about that. Not cool…

    4. There were a ton of Lebanese people where I lived in Merida, in the Yucatan.

      There were excellent Middle Eastern restaurants in Mexico.

      There were also a lot of Mennonites.

      1. I saw lots of Lebanese in Mexico City when I visited a few months back. Even the oh so popular Chedraui market sounded Lebanese…sure enough, the owners were/are. And boo on you for living in Merida, that city is next on my list for MX.

      2. How was living in the Yucatan? I’ve been there many times, but never lived there. I got the feeling in general that the locals hate gringos. That sort of turned me off to Mexico, because I haven’t seen that anywhere else in Latin America.

        There are a lot of Mennonites in the southern states of Brazil also.

        1. I got the feeling in general that the locals hate gringos.

          Where in Mexico exactly have you been? I never once got that feeling while I was there.

          1. They just really disliked Hyperion. It happens.

            1. It’s probably his ugly face and poor Spanish. *yells from across the street* Yo, Hyperion, Imma be down in Parana in a week or so, got any tips?

              1. My Spanish is pretty much non-existent. I speak Portuguese so I understand a little of what I hear in Spanish.

                1. If you speak Portuguese then Spanish is easy to pick up. Unfortunately that doesn’t work in the reverse. (sadface)

                  1. So I’ve heard.

          2. All down the east coast, all the way to Belize and Guatemala. I’ve also been to Tijuana and Acapulco, but I was a kid then. The bad experience I had was at a flea market somewhere south of Cancun. All of the drunk merchants there were harassing the gringos and yelling go home, and other offensive shit. Fuck those guys. Admittedly, most of the Mexicans I’ve met and actually talked to were pretty nice. I’m sure living there and being a tourist would give a completely different experience.

        2. i lived with the locals (away from tourists), and I never got the impression they hated gringos at all.

          The local upper class can seem standoffish, but social standing has a lot to do with family there. You might feel that way if you were a Mexican from out of town.

          If anything, you’re privileged for being American. Just waived through police checkpoints and such. I felt right at home among the Mayans, as well. Everybody was nice as could be–and there’s hardly any crime in Merida. Much safer than in the U.S. It’s a city of a million people with only one or two murders per year.

          Things are probably different in Cancun, where their opinion of Americans is generally formed by spring breakers and other tourists, who are there to get obnoxiously drunk, puke all over everything, and generally treat everyone like shit. I loved Merida and the small fishing towns outside of it.

          I’ll go back and buy there someday.

  14. Son, all I’ve ever asked of my restaurantuers is that they obey my orders as they would the word of God. We are here to help the Latinos, because inside every Latino there is a gook trying to get out. It’s a hardball world, son. We’ve gotta keep our heads until this pho craze blows over.

  15. Wow that makes a hole lot of sense dude.

  16. A private facebook group is no place for shit you’re too polite to say in public

  17. Greetings! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!
    geometry dash meltdown| happy wheels demo

    1. Hi,I just read it and enjoy it about your asimilation 2016 american style article.
      Games Unblocked |match 3 games

  18. You need to have time to take care of the active. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you.

  19. Your article helped me together multiple views on the matter. In life there are a lot of the stress and fatigue, you just visit my website or games and apps for your phone

    tank trouble, tank trouble,

  20. Thanks I have read your article, it is very interesting and exciting

  21. Life after hours of work stress and fatigue is the space I really love. I can play games, take photos or simply surfing facebook, chatting with friends. It made me feel so comfortable and pleasan
    facebook baixar , whatsapp baixar

  22. Life becomes more interesting and wonderful when you share your memorable moments with friends and family through unique photographs. You can create your own unique style impressed with image editing software.
    geometry dash game , run 2 game

  23. How often do you play games on free time or after hours of work stress? I usually come to the game as a way to balance life is full of pressure. And I would recommend to everyone that I loved the game
    strike force heroes 2 , download square quick

  24. Life becomes more interesting and wonderful when you share your memorable moments with friends and family through unique photographs. You can create your own unique style impressed with image editing software. And after hours of work stress you can also

    dream league soccer hack
    download tank trouble

  25. Life becomes more interesting and wonderful when you share your memorable moments with friends and family through unique photographs. You can create your own unique style impressed with image editing software. And after hours of work stress you can also
    download go launcher
    download banana kong

  26. Life becomes more interesting and wonderful when you share your memorable moments with friends and family through unique photographs. You can create your own unique style impressed with image editing software
    subway surfer
    download dr driving

  27. You need to kill time, you’d have time to look these kids active. Refer to our website. Hope you get the most comfort.
    Thanks for sharing ! word cookies game | hill climb racing 2

  28. visit website

    Looking for best pyar, dard, bewafa, attitude shayari or status in Hindi launguage? then we have a array of articles, which have all fim dialogue & short poems for …

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.