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Category Archives: Vietnamese

I <3 Pho Asian Cuisine

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I ❤ Pho Asian Cuisine – 4715 High Point Rd

No matter where you come from, I think it's safe to say that nothing hits the spot on a cold rainy day like a big bowl of warm soup.

I Love Pho

My first introduction to pho was in Springfield, VA outside of Washington DC. M was working in DC at the time, but I was still in school. I’d come up to visit her Thursday and stay through the weekend, and to pass the time on Friday I would go eat at different ethnic restaurants. Hey, we all have our things.

toppings

Pho is a broth based soup filled with rice noodles and your choice of meat, including some interesting choices like ‘tendon’. The first thing to come out when you order pho is a huge basket filled with fresh basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, lime and jalepeno slices. At this point you realize you probably made a good decision.

Pho

The soup that follows is a mix of familiar and new, with rice vermicelli noodles, meat (in this case brisket and flank), maybe a few onion slices and plenty of rich and heady broth. It’s like your mom bringing you a bowl of chicken noodle soup when you have a cold, if your mom was Vietnamese. Maybe she is, I don’t know!

At this point you can doctor your pho up however you choose with any of the above accouterments, as well as hoison sauce, sriracha, fish sauce and other options. I ❤ Pho also offers a variety of stirfried dishes and other entrees. M ordered the lemongrass chicken noodle bowl, which was killer as well.

lemongrass chicken

If you’re looking for good Vietnamese in Greensboro, especially good pho, you’ve got to try I ❤ Pho.

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Mosaic Festival – Food and Music

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M and I had a chance to check out Mosaic this year and it was awesome.

Tacos

With vendors representing Palestine, Bhutan, Burma, Vietnam, Korea, the Caribbean, Iraq, the Congo, and others I’m forgetting plus two food trucks, there was a lot of food to try!

Chiba Chiba Dumpling and Taco Corner dishing out the goods.
Trucks

Killer dumplings and Hong Kong sausage from Chiba Chiba
Dumplings

Burmese Banana Cake
Banana Leaves

banana cake

Kabobs, somosas, and Congo-style scotch eggs plus killer pili pili hot sauce
Congo

Hibiscus and Ginger drinks from the Caribbean – pro tip from the Jamaican friend we made, mix the two 50:50.
hibiscus and ginger

Hummus, falafel and some stuffed and fried dumpling from Iraq
Iraq

Strange soda from Korea – awesome tagline!
Milki

Vendors
Vendors

The crowd
Mosiac

All in all it was a lot of fun. Good music too, a Jewish bluegrass band, some singers from Nepal, and one heck of a Bollywood dancer doing his thing. Be sure you’re there next there!

Saigon

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I’d read on Yelp that this was one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in Greensboro.

I’d have to agree.  Saigon is on the corner of High Point Rd and Merritt.  Located in a nondescript building, the inside is much nicer than the outside, similar to the experience we had at Seoul Garden.

The menu consisted of mainly noodle and stirfry dishes, with the majority of prices around $11-$13.

We started with the papaya rolls, which were very good.  The Nuoc Mam dipping sauce was nice.  It’s usually a mixture of fish sauce, sugar, chilies, and vinegar.  It hits all the right salty sweet hot tangy notes.

I ordered the Caramelized Pork, which was served with rice and what looks like a chef salad.

The salad was actually full of basil and cilantro leaves though, and was a nice fresh compliment to the saltiness and heat of the pork.  The pork itself was a little tough, but I still enjoyed it.

M ordered the Hot and Sour soup.

This was really similar to Thai Tom Yum Gai soup.  Redolent of lemongrass and fish sauce, the soup was packed with pineapple, chicken and a bunch of other vegetables.  It was really good.  Served with a side of rice, two people could viably split it.

Their lunch menu looked good too, with cheaper prices and some interesting options.

We took the opportunity to cruise through some shopping centers on High Point Rd on the way back and found a couple other ethnic restaurants that we’ll be checking out soon!

 

Tu Quynh Vietnamese Restaurant

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Had the chance to check out a Vietnamese place I had been wanting to try.  Right inside the Super G Mart off W. Market is a Vietnamese restaurant – Tu Quynh.  I was lured in by my craving for a delicious sandwich called a banh mi.

Banh mis consist of meat, in this case roast pork, a smear of pate, pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro, jalepenos, fish sauce, and usually mayo – although this one was mayo free.  Needless to say, there’s a lot of flavors going on.  However, something about the combination makes them incredibly good.  They’re usually cheap too.  Mine was $3.50, which is actually on the high side.

The restaurant is a small little place.  They’ll give you menus if you are eating there or you can order at the counter to go.  One of the cool things about this place was their drink selection.

I tried the sugarcane drink in the bottom left.  It was very sweet, and had an intense citrus flavor like you bit into an orange peel, including that bitter flavor you get.  It made sense when I asked the guy about it.  They blend sugar cane and whole oranges to order and strain out the liquid.  it was interesting, although next time I’d probably order something else.

And being the fat kid healthy eater that I am, I also ordered an order of spring rolls.  They were packed with the usual cellophane noodles, basil, mint, shrimp, chicken, and came with the hoisen/peanut dipping sauce.  One is missing in that picture.

I am looking forward to returning and trying some of their other dishes, like the rice noodle with sour pork hash, whatever that is!

D&H Tofu

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I’ll give you one guess what they sell.

I’ve been wanting to try this Fantacity place for a while now, partly for the potential of it being tasty, but mainly because it proudly champions tofu, which to most Americans ranks somewhere between brussel sprouts and liver on the list of least favorite foods.

I’m not sure why this tofu hate exists.  Maybe because most people only recognize it as a meat substitute, like this abomination.  However, tofu has been around for thousands of years (somewhere around 170 BC according to Chinese legend…and wikipedia) – long before the idea of a meat substitute existed.

I’ll grant it’s not the most attractive food, but it’s hard to find fault with the flavor of tofu.  Mainly because, on its own, tofu is basically flavorless.  Tofu does a great job of picking up other flavors though.  This 24oz container of tofu, which was like $4.99 or something, was flavored with lemongrass and red chili flakes.  It comes with a sweet vinegar chili sauce/dip.  Nothing offensive at all about it, but kind of bland.  It’d be great in a stirfry or curry though.  They also had plain and mushroom/scallion varieties of tofu, as well as silken tofu.  D&H makes all of their tofu in-house.

The real star was this:

Mung bean and coconut dessert soup?  Apparently these are very common in Vietnam and kids eat them after school lets out like Americans would stop by McDonald’s and get a soft serve cone.  They also had a dessert soup that contained mushrooms, so this seemed pretty tame in comparison.  It was like a slightly grittier version of tapioca pudding with a coconut cream on top.  Not sure if it contained any sort of tofu, but I don’t think it did.  Really tasty, if I was in the shopping center I’d grab another one.

Van Loi II

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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!