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Dec 14, 2007 01:58 PM

Roadtrip '08 - pt. 1 [Georgia to Virginia]

**Paraphrased: Looking for some good Vietnamese and Korean joints in the area while on my trip up to NY. Best place in Georgia, Virginia or Carolinas for some really good pho, Boat Noodle Soup, and Hu Tieu? Also anything cheap, quick, delicious, maybe something a little ethnic and obscure in Asheville, Atlanta, Richmond or nearby. Thanks!**

Hey fellow foodies.

I just registered here, but I've been a lurker for a while. This really is one of my favorite message boards, being extremely informative when it comes to anything food.

Anyways, I'm from Poughkeepsie originally [Dutchess County]. Moved down south to the Tampa, FL area about 2 years ago, so you can bet that I miss New York. I decided that I'm going to start 2008 with a bang and eat my way up the East Coast, obviously with the pinnacle of the trip being several days and nights in Manhattan. But first... [Lengthy post ahead]

I'm going to automote/locomote up the coast the first week of January. Coming out of Tampa, my first major stop will be Atlanta. I've been meaning to check out this city, hit-up the Delkalb Market for some fresh ingredients [especially on my way back down to FL], possibly spend the day there. Any area of interest in Atlanta you feel worth mentioning would be welcome, as I love exploring new places.

A few other pitstops will be made, likely including Asheville, Richmond and Philadelphia. I wanted to pick your brains regarding eating locations not to miss. Not the typical fare though: the more obscure, pedestrian and diamond-in-the-rough the better. Nothing fancy, as all the big bucks will certainly be spend in New York...

Now, what I'm specifically searching out are good, authentic, Vietnamese and Korean joints that lay anywhere in my path [excluding Manhattan, I'll get to that in a bit]. Recently I've become somewhat of a Phởnatic, so I definitely would appreciate some input on where to grab a good bowl of phở or two. I've heard Virginia has a decent Vietnamese population -- perhaps something there may prove worthwhile? Besides pho, I like Hu Tieu and Boat Noodle Soup, basically any big, tasty, cheap soup with rice noodles [not too spicy though]. I could down a decent bowl of that stuff and be set to drive for at least several hours. Any other input you might have regarding the Carolinas, Virginia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey would be great.

[Yada, yada, yada]

Several days later: New York. Hopefully I get there in time for the sunrise version of Manhattanhenge. Once I'm established in there, I have so many options. But between all of the errands and visiting I'll need to do, I'm dead set on eating some of the freshest sushi. Must-eats include Yasuda, Kuruma-Zushi, Kanoyama, Ushiwakamaru and Sasabune, to name a few. Perhaps you guys can point me in the best direction, as I'm largely seeking the freshest, most interesting fish and seafood -- sashimi, preferably. Things like bluefin otoro, the best [live!] uni from Japan/Russia/Maine, some Sayori, 'artisan' oysters, live hotategai and just about any 'uncommon' fish imported from Japan, all served impeccably fresh.

Any and all of you New Yorkers are welcome to join me when I go to said sushi bars. Actually, I insist on it -- I enjoy the company of sushi fanatics/snobs, like myself, but I still have much I want to learn. And anyone that knows some Japanese has my blessings if they would like to join me... I eventually would like to start learning Japanese [for when I inevitably move there], and it would be a great learning experience for me to accompany you to a setting where I will undoubtedly find myself often.

I'm also not against getting some good, cheap Viet grub during the day either, especially pho. There's likely some good Korean in the City, as well. Feel free to contact me and bring me to your favorite pho place. Also, any leads or recommendations on affordable places to spend a night or few would be great. Any advice or anything else you can suggest would be most welcome.

Thank you much!

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  1. Go to the Varsity in ATL. It is nothing fancy... a hamburger and shake place but full of history and a lot of fun! Food is good also :)

    2 Replies
    1. re: aphayes

      Goodness... I'm sorry to have skipped over the ethnic part! I'm not much help in that department but have a great trip!

    2. Hands down, this is my favorite pho place in Atlanta (they have other good vietnamese dishes too):

      Alternatives that other people like as well are:
      Pho 79 -

      Pho Da Loi -

      Also, if you happen to be a fan of Malaysian, there's a place called Penang (same name as the awful national chain, but this one is locally owned with exceptional quality - haven't found a better Malaysian restaurant in the country, California included)

      5 Replies
      1. re: mikeh

        Perfect. That is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you mikeh!

        1. re: antanukai

          There are several good pho places in greensboro, nc. I think the best is van loi 2 on high point road. they have the best combination of broth, quanitity and quality ingredients.

          My runners up would be taste of vietnam(best broth, but small bowl and no sawtooth herb) on wendover and pho hien vong on spring garden (small bowl with lesser quality herbs on average)

          1. re: quazi

            Ok, I'll add Van Loi 2 to my map.

            It's sad, I've never once come across sawtooth with my pho here in Tampa. Don't even get me started on the broth...

            I'm still planning on making some pho from scratch for the holidays. I have the great write-ups by Carb Lover to go by.

            1. re: antanukai

              The is also a Korean place. I have only had their bibimbap but It was good on my one visit. THey are on Market street near spring garden. I think their name is Seoul garden. The best Viet place(except for their pho) is saigon on High Point Road. Their bun thit nuong is to fabulous. On your way out of town try the banh mi @ Pakse Cafe. Their banh mi are the best hands down I prefer the roast pork banh mi perfect balance of flavors. In the same shopping center you can get a case of blenheims ginger ale. Not on your list but it is a carolina original. ALso van loi has another noodle soup with half a roast duck in it - up there with the pho in my eyes

              1. re: quazi

                Brilliant. Thank you so much for the heads up.

                Noodle soup with half a roast duck? Mmm, must get myself some of that.

      2. If Mexican is on your radar, and you will be driving from Atlanta to Asheville by the normal route (up I-985 then US 23), you will pass through Clayton Ga., where there is a small Mexican grocery called La Jerrazana. They have tacos and such that are equal to or better than any you will likely find anywhere in the South.

        For Vietnamese, your best bet will be to hit places in the Washington DC suburbs in Va. suburbs. Search the DC-Baltimore board and you will find endless posts on that subject. Not a Pho place, but my favorite Vietnamese is Huong Viet in the Eden Center. Another cuisine to try in DC is Ethiopian. My favorite is Queen Makeda. Again, search the DC board.

        1 Reply
        1. re: johnb

          Authentic Mexican is always welcome. What else would you recommend to order from there?

          Yes, I seem to already have several excellent Vietnamese places to choose from in the DC area. I have an equal amount to choose from the southern Philly area as well. Can't wait!

          I will most certainly get some Ethiopian food. I've never run across any anywhere else.

          Thanks johnb.

        2. I frequent the Woodstock, GA location of Saigon - which offers both Vietnamese and Thai selections. My friends at mention some other places along Buford Hwy, but that is much further from where I live.

          1. If you stop in Ashville, a tour of the Biltmore is fun. Outside the gates is a McDonald's housed in a Tudor style building with a stamped copper ceiling and a player grand piano. It's worth checking out.

            If you like Indian food, The Rose of India, in Atlanta is a good inexpensive option. For excellent baked goods, sandwiches, soups and prepared foods try Alon's in Virginia Highlands (near Emory)