Explore Key Topics - Cultural Practices - Food

By introducing new food items, Southeast Asians have changed American dietary habits, or at least the availability of certain items. Vegetables, fruits, and spices popular in the Southeast Asian diet are both imported and grown by mainstream and ethnic farmers and are then sold in ethnic and mainstream markets. Many Southeast Asian spices and ingredients, such as lemongrass and fish sauce, have become popular in fusion cooking.

Southeast Asian ethnic restaurants are prevalent in ethnic neighborhoods. Some, such as Vietnamese noodle houses and sandwich shops, have also become popular in mainstream neighborhoods. Southeast Asians have maintained their cultural practices by preparing special holiday delicacies, many of which can be purchased at ethnic markets and festivals.