asian food on university av in st paul
I want to have asian food this evening - and I don't want to venture from my Como Park area...so I want to know suggestions for asian food along University Avenue. Note: I have been to Little Szechuan and I have eaten at Mai Village. LS - I dug; Mai Village I did not.
So, any other recommendations? Thanks -
re: The Dairy Queen
Thai Bazil has a page at the back of their menu with foods from Laos. I had an absoluetely outstanding chicken dish there (it is steamed in a leaf - I don't remember the name, but that should be enough to spot it on their menu).
Andrew Zimmern recently ended a recent blog entry with this tidbit:
Check out the Hmong and Cambodian food at Va Lor, 371 University Avenue, across the street from Mai Village in St. Paul. It is dirt cheap, and the food is very honest and authentic. While the menu is a bit of a mine field, a reader turned me on to the place, which he said features a killer papaya salad, and he was right. If risk-taking in teeny neighborhood restaurants is your idea of a good time (count me in, by the way) then you should check it out.
So based on the tip from Danny and Andrew Zimmern, I tried Va Lor on Sunday night. There is authentic and really autentic, and this was really authentic. Let me start my review by saying that I am a little bit of wimp when it comes to organ meats. I love trying new flavors, but I get a little squeamish with organ meats.
Va Lor has the look and feel of a take out Chinese place with a counter at the front and about 16 pictures on the wall of the different dishes. They did seem to be out of a few things -- including one of the dishes we ordered and one of the dishes the other customers in the restaurant ordered. Several of the dishes called out the organ meats in the name of the dish, but others were more stealth. Most notably the laab, which I believe is the national dish of Laos, was loaded with tripe (unadvertised). I am not sure how traditional the tripe is; when I was in Laos a couple years ago I had laab several times and it was always ground beef or chicken, but never tripe.
Here is a dish by dish run down:
Laab: Flavor was okay, but I was not able to get around the tripe. I have had better laab at several Thai restaurants in town.
Grilled sausage: There was a strong ginger flavor to the sausage. It was flavorful and good. The dipping sauce was spicy. It gave the overall flavor a different note. My 18-month old son was a big fan.
Papaya salad: They advertise the papaya salad on the front of the building. I thought it was okay, but not spectacular - again I have had better at several Thai restaurants in town. It was cool watching the owner make it to order with a giant mortar and pestle behind the counter.
Chicken curry noodle soup - this was the weakest link of all of the dishes.
Egg rolls - they were out of the rice noodle rolls so we ordered these. They were very tasty in a fried egg roll kind of way, but not terribly distinctive.
Tapiaoca pudding - this milky pudding was very comforting. I enjoyed the bright red and green pieces in the milky broth.
The couple who owned it was very nice. You felt like you were eating real home cooked foods. I thought it was interesting, but not really a place I would go back to.