Lemongrass chicken bun from My Canh restaurant.
Over on Nextdoor there’s a thread from the weekend entitled, “Bye to best potstickers.” Of course, it immediately caught my eye since I love potstickers and dumplings of all kinds. The news wasn’t good: local Hollywood District Vietnamese/Thai/Chinese restaurant My Canh is closing. This is the kind of family-run place that serves tasty food and offers a menu of dependable and familiar dishes that grow to be beloved by regulars.
I’d consider myself a semi-regular there, and will miss their chicken potstickers, lemongrass chicken bun, and their Special Pho. Others have lamented the coming removal of My Canh’s fried rice, stuffed eggplant, and house special soup from their lives. Tonight (Monday) and Tuesday, January 14 and 15 will be their final days of service.
My Canh is not a destination restaurant, but is, as I said, a neighborhood restaurant. It has served as a comfortable place for neighbors to build multi-generational memories and community over food since the 1980s. Paul Sorgule on the Harvest America Ventures Culinary Cues blog puts it nicely about the importance of the neighborhood restaurant:
“The neighborhood restaurant serves many roles, but most important is a gathering place for friends and soon-to-be friends. In most small towns, it is the role of the restaurant to provide a forum for people to talk, argue, laugh, clink glasses and enjoy the reality of where they live. Restaurants with great food come and go, it is the neighborhood restaurant that typically survives swings in the economy and changes in customer tastes.”
Chicken potstickers from My Canh restaurant.
Along with favorite dishes, the hospitality of the staff will certainly be missed. It’s the kind of place where you go in and they know you, either by face or name. They often keep track in their head what your favorite or regulary-ordered dishes are (when I was consuming sugar, they’d always know I wanted a Thai ice tea with boba). It was all very comforting.
As far as what’s next for them, according to Nextdoor, “Yen is looking for a new career and her mom is looking for a new place to cook.” UPDATE: When I stopped in Monday night for a final meal (along with many other customers), I asked Yen what she is going to do after the restaurant closes and she said, “Go to Vietnam for a few weeks and then come back.” She also mentioned that the space will transition to a new restaurant offering “Indian and Malaysian food.” She said it may be called Gado Gado, which would mean that perhaps it will offer Indonesian food rather than Indian food. It is unclear if this Gado Gado of which she speaks is the same Gado Gado that does the popups around town. Regardless, I’ll keep an eye on it.
I’ll miss having My Canh in the neighborhood, and I wish Yen, Luc, and the rest of the staff much good fortune in their next adventure. They will be missed.
My Canh Restaurant
1801 NE 39th Avenue, Portland