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Vietnamese and Creole Flavors Converge on Tapalaya's New Menu

Head chef Anh Luu gets inspiration from Louisiana's large Vietnamese community.


Tapalaya's menu is getting a Vietnamese-inspired reboot.

The Oregonian reports that head chef Anh Luu, a Louisiana native and first-generation Vietnamese-American, is bringing Asian flavors to the six-year-old restaurant's Cajun classics, with dishes like crawfish étouffée with shrimp paste, lime, and lemongrass, and steak tartare seasoned with traditional pho spices.

Anh, whose parents were Vietnam war refugees who settled in New Orleans, says Louisiana has a large Vietnamese community, and she wanted to introduce Portland to a style of Cajun cooking that has blossomed over the past few decades, but is still infrequently seen outside the Big Easy.

"Cajun food isn't just gumbo and jambalaya and catfish," Luu says. "We have those, of course. But I identify my culture as both Cajun/Creole and Vietnamese. I want to educate people that Cajun/Creole doesn't have to be the things they saw Paul Prudhomme cooking 20 years ago."

Tapalaya: 28 N.E. 28th Ave., 503-232-6652,