Everyone loves a cheap eats list. A treasure map to $1 tacos! $4 banh mi! $6 pad Thai! More often than not, the Xs that mark the cheap spots are in the city's immigrant enclaves. Indeed, food media is never so diverse as when it runs these lists, its pages fill with names of restaurateurs and chefs of color.
These lists infuriate me.
Before I became a restaurant owner, I spent my childhood in my relatives' pho restaurants. Because of that, I have deep compassion for and understanding of the pressures facing immigrant restaurateurs.