Charles Phan, The Slanted Door in San Francisco
Charles Phan grew up in Vietnam, where people line up at food stalls for banh xeosometimes called "happy pancakes" in the U.S.crisp, paper-thin crêpes filled with seafood, pork and bean sprouts. Phan would buy them at a stall in an alley near his family's general store in the resort area of Da Lat. Today he lives in California, but when he makes the crêpes, "just the smell of the batter hitting the hot pan conjures images of throngs of people waiting in line in the alley." Phan's not sure how the crêpes really came to be called happy pancakes, but perhaps the name comes from people's memories of how happy they were when they finally got to order.