To kick this blog off, M and I decided we had to check out a Vietnamese place on High Point Road that’s gotten rave reviews from some of our friends. Van Loi II is hidden behind a Napa Auto Parts – we passed it twice before we found it.
Van Loi is two things in one, a traditional Vietnamese restaurant and an authentic Chinese BBQ joint.
The star of this show is the roast duck. They also have a roast pork that looked excellent.
The right side of the restaurant is for take out and the left is the main restaurant. We sat down and a nice waitress quickly brought us menus. M started off with a mango bubble tea, which was just ok. Plenty of tapioca though.
M tried to order a Banh Mi, which they didn’t have according to the waiter. Weird. So she went with a bowl of meatball pho. It was a giant serving, complete with the requisite sprouts, basil, cilantro, lime, and jalepeno. The meatballs were good, but the rubbery texture was a bit much for M. I ate most of them. The broth was delicious though and had plenty of noodles.
There was no way I wasn’t trying that duck. It was good – the skin had a nice lacquer to it and was nicely crispy. The meat itself was very moist and tender. The fat hadn’t rendered out of some pieces of the skin completely, which made it slightly greasy. However, this is my first encounter with Chinese roast duck. It might be entirely apropos.
It was served with sliced cucumbers and pickled carrots and daikon. The latter were great with the duck, cutting the heaviness with their acidity.
They had a few other options that looked good, and a few that were pretty intimidating. I’m brave, but not Chinese 5-spice Pig Intestine brave…
Hair rice noodle is a tempting option as well.
After tip our total bill came to a little over $30.00. I’d come back to try the roast pork and the DIY spring rolls. Give it a try!