Vietnamese-style yogurt has become scarce recently. Several food places, markets, restaurants, don’t carry that special kind of yogurt, called “da-ua” and pronounced yah (as in papa) oor (as in poor).
The OC Weekly was the first publication to spot the absence. It noted that the reason was a letter from the OC Health Care Agency warning sellers not to sell dairy products from unapproved sources. The letter, says the OC Weekly, actually dates from months ago.
Nguoi Viet’s editor Linh Nguyen went out to check and, sure enough, he had trouble finding that form of yogurt made in that special way only Vietnamese (and maybe Taiwanese) can appreciate: from sweetened condensed milk. Many small to-go places just shrugged and said they’re out. Others pointed him to supermarkets. But there’s no da ua in the supermarkets either.
The HCA’s spokesperson Deanne Thompson told Linh Nguyen that the “California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) must approve dairy products manufactured in the State.” No approval, no sale.
Thompson didn’t think there was a special inspection by HCA targetting Vietnamese da ua. Another official at the HCA thought, however, that the CDFA did go out specifically to shut down an unapproved major maker of da ua, thus shutting the line of supply to Little Saigon.
Have no fear though. There’s another, approved source, already in business. So stocks may be filling up soon with this new supplier’s goods. How the CDFA suddenly woke up to the unapproved da ua source, is another story.