A friend just called and told me Mai’s Oriental in Snider Plaza had closed. I looked up some old reviews of the spot which was opened by Mai Phom in 1994. Then I realized that sometime within the last two years, the name of the restaurant was changed to Jiang’s Cuisine. I had no idea the restaurant had switched hands until this moment.
I feel horrible. Mai Phom was Dallas’ primary Vietnamese cuisine evangelist. She opened the city’s first popular Vietnamese restaurant in 1980. The original restaurant in East Dallas still bears her name but she moved to the tiny spot in Snider Plaza where she could be found every day. My former colleague Mary Brown Malouf once wrote:
“Those were the days when ethnic food meant Mexican food, unless it meant Szechuan. Now Vietnamese is practically mainstream and even has at least one almost upscale representative. Mainly, it has become habitual; many of us go out for Vietnamese as often as we go out for Mexican. So it seems strange to me that Mai, who was a pioneer, is now relatively unknown. Her little restaurant in Snider Plaza is practically a secret.”
I tried to reach someone with the restaurant to get a clear picture of what has transpired, but they have already closed and there is no voicemail. If anybody out there has the story, I’d love to know it.
UPPITY DATE: Jiang’s Cuisine has moved.