A queer path to Vietnamese food & tradition in the Bay Area

As a kid in Saigon’s District 2, the floral, sweet smell of pandan cooking in coconut milk meant banh kep la dua (pandan waffles) to Trang Tran. The sizzle of a street vendor pouring the batter onto hot cast iron would make Tran dance with happiness and hunger. That same perfume of pandan in coconut milk welcomed Tran’s family on their first trip to the food court at Lion Plaza in San Jose after immigrating to Hayward in 2002, when Tran was 10. Among the heady scent of nostalgia, Tran happily ate pandan waffles with a cousin. To Tran, the waffle was an edible reminder of how Vietnamese culture could be preserved in a new home, and the power of food to connect generations.
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A queer path to Vietnamese food & tradition in the Bay Area

As a kid in Saigon’s District 2, the floral, sweet smell of pandan cooking in coconut milk meant banh kep la dua (pandan waffles) to Trang Tran. The sizzle of a street vendor pouring the batter onto hot cast iron would make Tran dance with happiness and hunger. That same perfume of pandan in coconut milk welcomed Tran’s family on their first trip to the food court at Lion Plaza in San Jose after immigrating to Hayward in 2002, when Tran was 10. Among the heady scent of nostalgia, Tran happily ate pandan waffles with a cousin. To Tran, the waffle was an edible reminder of how Vietnamese culture could be preserved in a new home, and the power of food to connect generations.
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