Colonialism is Terrible, but Pho is Delicious

Photo by Ahron R. Foster

By Dustin H. Chinn
Originally produced at Aurora Theatre Company, Berkeley, CA
November 4, 2022 – December 4, 2022

Synopsis: Taking its inspiration from two viral incidents around cultural appropriation and food [Chef Tyler Akin’s how-to video for Bon Appetit, “PSA: This is How You Should Be Eating Pho,” and Dan Pashman of The Sporkful’s suggestion that you could improve bibimbap using a bundt pan], Dustin Chinn says he “followed the rabbit hole” and wrote “a triptych about the ownership and authorship of food following the journey of Vietnamese noodle soup.” This biting comedy spans centuries, continents, and cultures in its three-part vignette structure. Beginning in 1880s Hanoi, the capital city of French Indochina, where a Vietnamese cook finds herself in the kitchen of aristocratic French settlers. Then in 1999, a century later, in Vietnam, where American diners get their first taste of the local cuisine. Then finally, in present-day, gentrifying Brooklyn, where the simmering argument around culture, ownership, and authenticity comes to a roaring boil.

Artistic StatementComing soon!
Grant StatementComing soon!

Writer Dustin H. Chinn
Director Oanh Nguyen
Dramaturg Natalia Duong
Scenic Designer Mikiko Uesugi
Costume Designer Maggie Whitaker
Lighting Designer Mike Oesch
Sound Designer James Ard
Wig/Hair & Makeup Designer Tommy Kurzman
Props Coordinator Emma Buechner
Stage Manager Cheryle Honerlah
Assistant Stage Manager Saluja Siwakoti
Culinary Consultant Adriana Fleming
Costume Shop Support Cindy Ngu
Sound Board Operator Emma Buechner
Scenic Painter Wyn Di Stefano

Anthony Doan
Joseph Patrick O'Malley
Elissa Beth Stebbins
Nicole Tung


"Incisive, hilariously spiky, and delectable — Dustin Chinn's Colonialism is Terrible, but Pho is Delicious satisfies every appetite." — Mina Morita, Artistic Director of Crowded Fire Theatre