As a child growing up in Vietnam, I often heard my father recounted stories of his experiences with the Falansai (faa-laan-sai). Father left Chaozhou, a region of southern China during World War II to escape war and famine. Packed on a fishing boat he landed in Vietnam as a teenager. In the early years, he scraped a living transporting catfish from the Mekong Delta to Saigon over the often washed out roads while dodging Falansai checkpoints.
For much of my childhood, I’d always imagine that the Falansai was a powerful and fascinating tribe. Only years later did I realize that “falansai” was my father’s phonetic butchering of the word “francais” – the French colonists.
And so there it was, a Chinese in Vietnam badly pronouncing French. Like much of the cross-pollinated culture of Vietnam, the food of Vietnam also reflects this heritage: Vietnamese, Chinese, and French…
Nothing embodies these influences as deliciously as Pho, pronounced Fuh, a soup that starts with the beef and charred onion of the French classic feu au pot, cross it with the clear broth and noodle stable of the Chinese, then finishes with the traditional tastes of Vietnamese ingredients: fish sauce, five spice, Asian basil, bean sprouts, chili, and lime.
At Falansai, we invite you to explore the different flavors of Vietnam cuisine and its influences.
Chef/Owner Henry Trieu
Falansai Vietnamese Kitchen
Brooklyn, New York City