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Possible dumb Vietnamese resto question

Nyleve May 23, 2007 07:35 AM

I suspect this could be one of those things that EVERYONE else in the world knows - except me. But I have no shame and I will, finally, ask:

What's up with that very stylized cartoonish smiling cow face that shows up on every Vietnamese restaurant - or at least, almost every. At first I thought - oh, well, it's a chain of some sort. But then I realized that the places that used the cow on its sign were most likely not connected in any way. Am I wrong? Crazy? Really really dumb?

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  1. susancinsf RE: Nyleve May 23, 2007 11:29 AM

    I must either be really clueless and unobservant, or something, because all I can say is, what cow face? Never noticed any such thing. Could it be something regional to your area?

    1. vktp RE: Nyleve May 23, 2007 11:41 AM

      I've seen that smiling cow at only one Vietnamese restaurant that I can recall-- Arc-en-Ciel in Dallas. I have a very vague memory of my parents once explaining to me that Arc-en-Ciel was a famous restaurant in Vietnam that served a meal consisting of 7 beef courses ("bo 7 mon"). The Dallas version was not actually related to the original but the cover of the menu had a smiling cow (at least it did when I was a kid), presumably to denote or celebrate "bo 7 mon." But this is all a really vague memory, so take that explanation with a grain of salt.

      1 Reply
      1. re: vktp
        vktp RE: vktp May 23, 2007 01:43 PM

        For what it's worth. . .

      2. raytamsgv RE: Nyleve May 23, 2007 12:16 PM

        I've never seen such a cow, and I've eaten at more Vietnamese restaurants than I can count, including those in huge Vietnamese enclaves in San Jose and Garden Grove.

        1. chaddict RE: Nyleve May 23, 2007 12:56 PM

          When I was little, I seem to remember cans of sweetened condensed milk in my Viet mom's pantry that had a cow on the label; she used it for her Viet coffee. But I doubt this is related to your resto sightings.

          1 Reply
          1. re: chaddict
            KTinNYC RE: chaddict May 23, 2007 01:10 PM

            You must mean Eagle Brand Condensed Milk! I remember this from my childhood.

            Never seen the cow at any Viet restaurant in NYC,

          2. n
            Nyleve RE: Nyleve May 23, 2007 01:17 PM

            It's a very specific image. Next time I see it, I'll take a picture and re-post the question. It's not impossible that it's regional - I've seen it in Toronto - but I've seen it in many places in Toronto which is why I wondered about it.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Nyleve
              Nyleve RE: Nyleve May 23, 2007 01:23 PM

              Ok - got it. That's the cow!!! Anyone???

              1. re: Nyleve
                septocaine_queen RE: Nyleve May 23, 2007 01:34 PM

                That is pretty cool. The literal translation of the restaurant is Pho Cow Head. The cartoon makes sense. I like that pho place. I last went there when I was in Toronto for Christmas. Other than that cow, I have not seen that cartoon on any other Viet restaurants and I grew up near San Jose and currently live in So Cal.

                1. re: Nyleve
                  vktp RE: Nyleve May 23, 2007 01:41 PM

                  Yep, same cow that i've seen.

                  1. re: Nyleve
                    Sam Fujisaka RE: Nyleve May 23, 2007 01:48 PM

                    Hey, that cow appears in some restaurants in Vietnam; and "bo" means cow.

                    1. re: Nyleve
                      chaddict RE: Nyleve May 23, 2007 04:37 PM

                      OK, that looks like the condensed milk cow. I wonder if they just swiped the image from the can to use for restos specializing in beef. I mean, condensed milk cans are ubiquitous in Vietnam.

                      I tried looking up Eagle Brand but they all have, you guessed it, eagles on them. But I really do remember the cow.

                      1. re: chaddict
                        KTinNYC RE: chaddict May 23, 2007 05:59 PM

                        Eagle Brand condensed milk has a cow on the can.


                        1. re: KTinNYC
                          chaddict RE: KTinNYC May 24, 2007 12:19 PM

                          Thanks! It was good to see an old friend! The web site I was looking at had the OLD can with an actual eagle.

                      2. re: Nyleve
                        Ed Dibble RE: Nyleve May 27, 2007 10:58 AM

                        I've seen it (or something similar) in San Diego. But not at every Vietnamese restaurant.


                    2. h
                      Hungry Celeste RE: Nyleve May 23, 2007 02:07 PM

                      Never seen it in any viet restaurant in the sizeable NOLA vietnamese communities, nor anywhere in Houston/environs.

                      1. hannaone RE: Nyleve May 23, 2007 02:09 PM

                        I've seen it in Spokane (1place) and once or twice driving through the Seattle area.

                        1. k
                          KathyM RE: Nyleve May 23, 2007 05:03 PM

                          I'm pretty sure this is a regional thing. But I do have a theory about it. The Laughing Cow cheese is very big in vietnam. I think it carried on from the french colony days. Pho-centric restaurants are ubiquitous around the world. And since pho is almost always made with beef, the Laughing Cow logo is adopted as the mascot?


                          1. purple goddess RE: Nyleve May 23, 2007 05:14 PM

                            Many Viet restos in Melbourne have a cartoonish pic, similar to the Laughing Cow cheese fellow on their windows.. and often accompanied by a cartoonish smiling chicken...

                            1. KWynn RE: Nyleve May 23, 2007 05:20 PM

                              Just piping in after seeing this post on the main CH page...don't have Vietmamese very often, nor do I recognize the cow, but how about asking the people who work in the restaurant what it means?

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