Ethnic food in Tennessee

Three days of traveling around the Tennessee and Kentucky area have left us wondering what ethnic groups exist in this area of the South, if any at all. We’ve been getting our fix of fried chicken, barbeque, grits, and other Southern specialties, but us being us, we want some good ethnic food. Chris did a quick search today to find out that there are Kurds, Cambodians, and Vietnamese in the area, though their populations are quite minuscule. When doing a search for Turkish food in the Nashville area, only two restaurants popped up. A search for Cambodian yielded zero results, and about eight came up for Vietnamese. We opted for Vietnamese food for lunch, although at a quite trendy and slightly pricy spot, and had our fix of pho and banh mi.

If I were not Asian and of two different ethnicities growing up in the South, how would I even begin to explore other foods and cultures? The food scene, while quite varied with different takes on Southern and budding “New American” restaurants, is quite lacking in other options that represent the rest of the globe. Like most places in the South, the area seemed quite segregated, and we didn’t see many people of different races mingling. In fact, we saw mostly white people with a sprinkling of black people along Broadway. The only place we saw Asians was around the Vanderbilt campus. We think times have changed so much, but perhaps some places never change at all.

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