MS. REBECCA SHEIR
I'm Rebecca Sheir.
MR. ROB SACHS
And I'm Rob Sachs.
And welcome to "Metro Connection."
For the next hour, we'll be visiting what we're calling global D.C., this internationally-inspired city and region full of communities and cultures from around the world.
And just how full is it, you might ask? Well, census figures from 2006 to 2008 show roughly a fifth of the region's population was born outside the U.S. And we're talking all over the place. We're talking Europe. We're talking Africa, Oceania and, of course, our neighbors to the north and south, Canada and Mexico.
But the international locales most highly represented in this neck of the woods are Latin America and Asia.
And this, well, it's not Asia, although you could very well think it is when you visit. It's actually the Eden Center, an indoor-outdoor mall in Falls Church, Va.
Now, the Eden Center has been around for decades. It used to be the Plaza Seven Shopping Center, but today, the Center Saigon West, Saigon East, Eden Mall and Saigon Garden are home to more than 100 stores, including gift shops, restaurants, bars, salons and travel agencies all of which cater to the region's extensive Vietnamese-American community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE 1
Every Vietnamese that lives in the D.C. Metro-Hudson area comes to this place called Church Eden for food, for hanging out, like, whatever you need that's, like, Vietnamese. You come out to Eden Center and you find it.
That there is a fellow named Nick. He works at a gift shop in the Eden Center.
Very cool guy.
Very cool guy. He moved to the U.S. from Vietnam when he was just a little kid and Rob and I met him when we headed out to the Eden Center earlier this week. Here we are at Eden Center, Saigon East. And the first item on our agenda? It turned out. Where are we going Rob? It was of the culinary variety.
Maybe we can go to the bakery and deli because I'm hungry.
Let's get Rob some food, some global food.
Right, okay. In my defense, we drove out to the Eden Center in the late afternoon so I hadn't had lunch yet.
That is true, he had not had any lunch yet, but also people should know you weren't looking for just any kind of food.
When I'm at a place like this, I always like to get the thing that I've never heard of. And that's true. I always do.
As do I. And if, like Rob and I here, you've never been to Vietnam or you aren't entirely familiar with the cuisine, then finding things you've never heard of at a place like the Eden Center, well, I've got to say, it isn't too hard.
I want to take a picture of this.
Yeah, do we know what it is?
I have no idea. It looks almost like a pomegranate.
But with, like, scales on it.
It turns out that was something called Dragon Fruit, which we didn’t buy, but we did have a pretty adventurous beverage. Can I also get number 33, the grass jelly and basil seed drink? A 33, unless you want one.
I'll taste yours.
Okay, one, yeah, one. You loved that drink, didn't you, Rebecca?
Oh, man, we both did. I think it's really tasty.
A lot of different things were going on there.
A lot of different things were going on.
So Rebecca, I have to say, I really enjoyed checking out the Eden Center. I mean, walking around, listening to the different music, hearing people speak in a foreign language, I really felt like we were kind of in Vietnam. And it was weird because it felt like I was a tourist, but I was still hanging out in Falls Church.
I agree. But the thing is, the Eden Center, that's just one example of the international diversity that you're going to find in this region. And on today's show, we're bringing you stories from Ethiopia, El Salvador, Korea, a bunch of other places, all without leaving our own backyard.
And now that we've shared our own little outing, we'll hear about the other outings another set of locals are taking to widen their world view.
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