Good Girl Dinette

The passage of the American Immigration Act of 1965 opened the door to hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Asia and Latin America, shifting the ethnic make up of the United States. Many of the new immigrants from Asia and the Pacific Rim who settled in Southern California choose to take up residence in the vast San Gabriel Valley rather than in the decaying core of Los Angeles' historic Chinatown. This afforded many an opportunity to own a home, start a business and claim the American dream as their own.

A young Diep Tran and her family found themselves in the suburbs of Los Angeles when they arrived from Vietnam in 1978. Two years later, her aunt and uncle began one of the first Vietnamese restaurants in Los Angeles: Pho 79, now a chain with locations in Alhambra and Orange County. Growing up around her family's kitchen in the San Gabriel Valley presented Tran with two distinct culinary worlds, one inhabited by her family and one that was part of a more informal American diner culture.

Diep Tran is now the chef and owner of a restaurant that reflects the sort of culinary hybridity that you'd expect to find in the polyglot tapestry of Southern California: the Good Girl Dinette, an American diner serving chicken curry pot pie with buttermilk biscuit crust, grandpa's porridge (that cures all ailments!) and grandma's Pho.

The eclecticism of Tran's menu is a reflection of a new generation of down-to-earth chefs now coming of age in America, this after having grown up with chile, bahn mi and grits on their plates.

Above, owner of local-minded restaurant Good Girl Dinette Diep Tran discusses Highland Park's DIY and urban homesteading sensibility, slow food culture in the neighborhood, and her diner's ties to the community.

Culinary Tradition of Food Fusion
Diep Tran describes her restaurant Good Girl Dinette, a Vietnamese diner, and the culinary tradition of food fusion.
Social Justice for Food
Diep Tran explains the slow food movement in Highland Park and her business relationship with local farmers.
DIY Culture
Diep Tran aligns the current urban homestead trend with immigrant culture and Highland Park's plentiful second-hand shops that lend itself to DIY sensibilities.
Gentrification
Diep Tran defends her place in the Highland Park community and dismisses assumptions about access to good, local, and healthy food for people of color.
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