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As It Was: International Food Diversifies Rogue Valley Dining

A Medford publication reports that international cuisine has “spiced up” dining in the Rogue Valley over the last 34 years, partially due to food trucks testing the market.  The 40th edition of Medford Mail Tribune’s annual “Our Valleypublication reports Mexican restaurants still dominate “ethnic food” options with 75 eateries in 2019, compared with 20 in 1985.
New offerings since 1985 include Latin cuisine from Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, and El Salvador.

The number of Japanese eateries have overtaken Chinese, growing from only two in 1985 to 22 today.  Chinese restaurants have increased from 10 to 18.

Thai restaurants, virtually non-existent in 1985, now number 14.  The magazine survey counted one Korean restaurant, another 10 mixed “Asian” eateries offering an assortment of regional food, and 13 Hawaiian and other Pacific island establishments.

The magazine counted one German and one Polish restaurant, but gave up counting Italian eateries because that cuisine “is so widely interpreted and embraced by any number of mainstream menus that it defies separate specification.”

It’s no surprise that pizza restaurants number 45, seventeen more than in 1985.


Source: "International flavors have spiced up the local restaurant scene over the past 34 years." Our Valley: 40 years and counting, 28 Apr. 2019, p. 21.

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.