Ethnic goes Exurban

Here is my article from today’s Washington Post, on the history and development of ethnic dining in the DC area.  Excerpt:

This new mobility is weakening the whole notion of the ethnic
neighborhood. Forget the old Chinatown paradigm: Diffusion is the new
model.  As a result, ethnic restaurants are more like scattered
outposts, drawing from a wide radius.  As [Victor] Serrano points out, "Our
competition is not right next door. We compete with . . . restaurants
five or 10 miles away."

…Korean food…remains largely the province of Korean patrons.  Most Westerners don’t go beyond bul gogi (broiled beef) or perhaps bibim bap
(rice bowl with egg and vegetables).  The cuisine tastes harsh to the
uninitiated, with its abundant garlic and unusual seafood delicacies.
This also explains why Korean restaurants remain so tightly clustered
near Korean communities (most of the best are in Annandale) and why
just about every Korean restaurant is good.  Unlike Chinese restaurants,
there is little danger of Koreans taking the Americanized
beef-with-broccoli route.

Herndon, western Fairfax, and Chantilly have never been better for food.  Adams-Morgan, Dupont Circle, and Georgetown are not quite deserts, but I can’t imagine having to eat there all the time. 


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