Texas Culture 101: A Mini Lesson In Vietnamese Food, Pho, And Phrases

Asking “Have you eaten yet?” is always a good place to start.

By Joy DiazJanuary 30, 2018 11:25 am,

Diana Nguyen has lived in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Oklahoma, but she’s called Texas home since 1987. She and her family are part of Texas’ growing Vietnamese community – in fact, Nguyen says Vietnamese is the third most commonly spoken language in Texas, and Houston has the second largest Vietnamese population in the U.S.

For the Texas Standard, Nguygen shares a quick Vietnamese lesson. Her favorite way to start a conversation?

“Ăn cơm chưa.” Have you eaten yet?

“If you meet a friend on the street or somewhere and say, ‘Have you eaten yet?’ and they say no, you can say, ‘Oh okay, let’s go grab something and sit down and just, you know, chat or catch up,’” she says.

Nguygen says one great way to learn a lot about Vietnamese culture is through food.

“I’m sure a lot of people are very familiar with pho and banh mi,” she says. “You see a lot here in Texas.”

Written by Jen Rice.

Diana Nguyen

Diana Nguyen with her mother.

Diana Nguyen with her mother. Photo: Diana Nguyen.