Little Saigon is a relative new district when compared to other Asian districts in the United States. The district is about 30 years old and slowly expanding its reach.
I’ve lived in Little Saigon for practically all my life. It’s a place I will always call home even though I have lived in Moreno Valley, San Diego and Los Angeles. I always find a reason to make my way back to spend time with my love ones and have a nice bowl of pho. I’ve seen it go through gang violence in the late 80s to the late 90s. It wasn’t the best times as businesses owners saw their shops shot up and people beaten at their door steps. It has seen its growing pains. However, I have seen it grow up from its mischievous young days to mature into its current age by realizing its potential.
Little Saigon residents come from a war torn country. People who have seen their family members disappear, living in poverty, have their property confiscated, and dead bodies line the streets. It gives them a different prospective on life. It gives them a will to survive. It gives them a determination to succeed. It gives them a mind state to be on the good side of statistics. It gives them a hustler’s mentality.
The Little Saigon I know is filled with hustlers. These are the kids I grew up with. We don’t like taking orders. We’re suspicious of outsiders. We have no trust in the authority, the police or the government. We take care of our friends and family. We work day and night for the things we own. We don’t have a pretentious mind state. We understand the discipline of hard work. We know that hard work comes with its rewards. We know our future is in our hands.
With all that said, Little Saigon is melting pot of culture. It has an abundant amount of things to do especially restaurants and coffee shops. Little Saigon is known for its terrible service but the overwhelming tasty foods have people coming back to it. It’s not personally directed at people of any ethnicity, but it’s just the Vietnamese personality of the older generation. It’s a culture that is slowly changing as the new generation of Vietnamese kids start to take over their parent’s businesses and open their own.
Little Saigon residents are starting to slowly get involve in American politics. They’re doing community outreach and gradually assimilating to the American culture while incorporating the values their parents ingrain in them. These are the generations in their 30s; the ones in their 20s are more obsess with their social media accounts. I don’t know what could be more American than that. It’s something all American kids share at this point in time.
Little Saigon residents have a wide range of fashion sense. There are the fashionable ones (i.e., Lifestyle bloggers) to urban cultures to the Southern California ones. It’s a wide range of interests within the district. Each with their own sense of style. It’s something I never understood because I was never able to match colors due to my color blindness.
Lastly, Little Saigon has a huge foodie community. It’s expected within a district where the majority of entrepreneurs own restaurants. They understand their market and they understand that people want tasty food for cheap. It’s the reason why a lot of Little Saigon businesses have been in business for more than a decade. They provide tasty comfort food for cheap. It’s the same mentality from our Mexican neighbors in Santa Ana.