“I’m not Vietnamese so I feel I have to respect [the cuisine] as much as possible,” says George Azar, the chef and owner of soon-to-reopen Vietnamese restaurant, Flowers of Vietnam. Azar is a Southwest Detroit native — born to Palestinian parents — who upon moving back to the Motor City after working in fine dining restaurants around the country noticed a serious underrepresentation of his favorite cuisine. So Flowers of Vietnam was born.
Now, Azar is working with his Vietnamese sous chef to open a bigger version of the restaurant, which host Sheldon Simeon visits on this episode of Cooking in America. Aside from wanting to fulfill a craving for banh mis, Azar decided on Southwest Detroit for Flower of Vietnam as a way to bring the city together. “Until we have restaurants in neighborhoods other than the ones that are already developed, there will never be one Detroit,” says Azar.