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Best Vietnamese Dishes in NOLA

New Orleans' Vietnamese dining scene is great and it hasn't received enough attention on Chowhound.

Perhaps a good way to get people started talking about it would be for everyone to list their favorite Vietnamese restaurants in New Orleans... along with their favorite dishes there.

I'll start:

Kim Son -- Everything "salt baked" is great... Especially the shrimp! Also try fish or chicken in a clay pot. Minced Basil Chicken. Szechuan Eggplant. Hunan string beans. Spicy beancurd with vegetables, vegetarian spring rolls.

9 Roses -- Hunan shrimp, Garlic eggplant, Number 9 (I forget the name, but it's like a Vietnamese ceviche with raw beef, onions, lemons, herbs, etc. -- very fresh tasting), Vietnamese Crepe, thin soups.

Tan Dinh -- Best Pho and Bun Dishes.

Please tell me more. This food is great, but it's not always easy to tell what is good from the huge menus at these places.

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  1. Dong Phuong bakery: the cinnamon rolls, the pate chaud, the meat pies filled with barbecued pork (char sui), and the bahn mi with pate (or a whole selection of the bahn mi, as they're so damn inexpensive here). I keep meaning to dine at the attached restaurant, but I always fill up in the bakery!

    9 Roses has bo 7 mon, the wonderful beef seven ways dinner filled with great tastes & textures...it also has good veggie dishes like pea shoots, water spinach, etc.

    Pho Tau Bay's goi ga (chicken & cabbage salad) is a solid rendition, always fresh & crisp & not soggy like some versions.

    And I'd argue that FAR BETTER bowls of pho exist than Tan Dinh's. Pho Danh 7, inside the Hong Kong supermarket building, is far better, and Pho Tau Bay's loads better, too. Hell, even Pho Bang's pho is better than Tan Dinh's. But Tan Dinh has curried goat, as well as jellyfish salad.

    21 Replies
    1. re: Hungry Celeste

      Hmm, I have to disagree with you about the pho. I've tried both of those places and haven't like it as much. I especially like the rare beef pho at Tan Dinh. Good shout on the jellyfish salad; I had that at a Cantonese place in London and loved it.

      I'll definitely check out Don Phuoung and bo 7 mon. Thanks for the tip!

      1. re: reuben6

        Here's my rationale on the pho: Pho Dahn 7 uses fresh (not dried) rice noodles, with a far superior texture. Tender, yet al dente, without being mushy or soggy the way dried/reconstituted noodles can be, if handled improperly. My last bowl of pho at Tan Dinh was filled with broken noodle bits by the end of the bowl--the noodles had no spring or stretchiness left in 'em.

        As for Pho Tau Bay, well, I'm just partisan. The nicest people around, with solid, consistent food. I wish they'd adopt me. Imagine Thanksgiving dinner at their house!

        1. re: Hungry Celeste

          I just wish they would open one in New Orleans again. Pho tau bay that is. I figured they would have been one of the first ones to reopen after katrina. Instead, they abandoned ship. Serious bummer. I don't think I've eaten at a pho tau bay since. We pretty much hit Jazmine for pho these days. Don't like it as much as p.t.b., but it's better than driving to the west bank.

          Celeste, any word on the pupuseria going in where world's healthiest pizza used to be on Hampson? I'm pumped about that.

          1. re: N.O.Food

            It's a branch of Pupuseria La Macarena, which started off inside the Travelodge on Airline highway, moved out to Kenner on Williams, and bounced over to West Metairie after Katrina.

            Back to PTB--they didn't "abandon ship", exactly. The various locations were operated by branches of the family. All locations that didn't reopen were in leased properties badly damaged by the storm. The niece/nephews (I can't remember which) heading those branches chose to relocate to Pennsylvania, where another branch of the family resides.

            1. re: Hungry Celeste

              Good to know. I wish some of the other members of the family would reopen a PTB in the city. I miss it badly.

            2. re: N.O.Food

              On a recent visit to Pho Tau Bay, I asked about possible reopening in the city and was told that the one on Tulane would likely be the next one to reopen. But he did not sound optimistic at all, so I would get my dollar bill ready if you are craving PTB anytime soon.

              1. re: Bocuse NOLA

                Ha! That dollar is the reason I rarely, if ever, go to the best bank.

                1. re: N.O.Food

                  word

                  I have such a hard time leaving the island- the only thing that gets me over there is Kim Son

                  1. re: chef4hire

                    Dang, people, it's a lousy buck. Live a little, will ya? Reasons to go to the West Bank:
                    --Hong Kong Supermarket
                    --Clementine's steak frites & belgian beers
                    --the aforementioned vietnamese spots
                    --Adams' Catfish House in Belle Chasse
                    --the shrimp lot
                    --Gretna farmer's market
                    --peking duck at Double Dragon
                    --roast beef poboys or muffalettas at DiMartino's
                    --Mosca's
                    Just a few reasons, I'm sure we could come up with a longer list if you need more reasons.

                    1. re: Hungry Celeste

                      The subject of Pho is subjective, but for my nickel I still like that from the now closed Pho Hoa the best.....

                      Hopefully, they will reopen in their new location soon!

                      1. re: Hungry Celeste

                        I didn't say there weren't reasons to go, just not many that would compel me to get up and drive. Too many local options - many that I can walk to. I pretty much only go for pupusas and vietnamese food. Oh, and to go fishing down belle chasse highway.

                        1. re: N.O.Food

                          If you do brave the journey to the best bank, make sure as you return and pay the toll, you stop completely and let the light turn green. I got a ticket last week even though I paid the toll, because, apparently, I drove through immediately.

                          Anyway, for my taste, Pho Tau Bay is superior Pho, but as a fallback, I really like Pho Bang, on Vets Higway. I like the texture of their fatty brisket, and their broth too.

                          The lemon grass beef spring rolls at 9 Roses are freaking awesome, I have to say. I could sit at a table there and go through order after order.

                          1. re: Robert Peyton

                            Same here. Got two tickets in the mail one full year after the alleged transgression. Cheaper just to pay it than fight it. Ridiculous. I've never run a toll in my life. FYI, there was an editorial about these "fake" tickets on city business yesterday. Seems to be happening a lot lately.

                        2. re: Hungry Celeste

                          And as such dining and food options do draw one cross to what (belovedly) "the wank" with frequency, I heartily recommend the toll tag, it reduces that dollar to less than half, and you breeze past the lines...on e of the best deals in town

                          For the vegitarian, one cannot beat Kim Son, besides the salt-baked bean curd and other previously mentioned veg items, their hot and sour soup, vietnamese style is absolutely heaven.

                          And to digress, I haven't been to Pupuseria Divina Corazon in way way too long, but I used to love their plantains with fresh sour cream and their corn tamals...yum.

                          1. re: swampsue

                            I'll 2nd the toll tag.
                            And while we do appreciate you dining at the WB restaurants, things move a little slower over here. Take your time & drive a little slower!

                            And there's always the ferry! I frequently catch the ferry to & fro (Jackson Ave). Just off of the ferry landing, less than a block is Thanh Thanh. They have American food as well as Viet. I usually go for breakfast. Great grits! Wonderful biscuits. Have had the grilled chicken bahn mi a handful of times, like that as well. They have really good mac n cheese too!
                            It's not your usual Vietnamese Pho Shop or neighborhood dive.... so don't go expecting that!

                            1. re: Isabella

                              Thank you for that Isabella - sounds like a must-do during our next West Bank foray.

                              1. re: Isabella

                                I got the tickets while using my toll tag. Apparently, the tickets are being given to toll-tag users.

              2. re: Hungry Celeste

                Holy. Crap. The pork and jicama meat pie from Dong Phuong that I just consumed may have been the best thing I have eaten. Period. Ever. Wow.

                1. re: mikemill

                  Aren't those meat pies killer? The char sui pork is my fave....my car makes a detour down I-510 any time I head east out of NOLA. A selection of meat pies is perfect road trip food.

                    1. re: Hungry Celeste

                      Perfect, except for the massive mess they made of my car. Oh well. Worth it.

                2. I would definitely check out the Vietnamese restaurants in New Orleans East. Ba Mien has a a really great grilled pork wrapped in a steam roll (Banh Cuon Thi Nuong) and their do it yourself grilled pork wrapped in rice paper is delicious as well (Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa).

                  There are a couple Po-boy shops that are worth checking out one is Banh Mi Sao Mai they're Po-Boy recently won an award at the Po-Boy festival and Dong Phuong Bakery has a good selection of Po-Boys as well.

                  Dong Phuong Restaurany also has an amazing grilled pork and rice plate I always get it with a fried egg on top (Com Suong) and their crispy fried noodles are great too (Mi Xao Don)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: VietSister

                    VietSister,
                    Do you know of any Vietnamese restaurant that prepares gar?

                    1. re: VietSister

                      Just returned from a lunch at Sao Mai Banh Mi. Tasty and delicious. Exceedingly inexpensive. All meat handmade. I had the combo special with all 3 kinds of meats. BF had shredded pork. Also tried the Thai sweet corn. Not so sure about that. Watched Chinese TV with Vietnamese overdubs. Owner enjoys conversation. It's the full package.

                    2. if in Harahan, check out Kim Anh's on Jeff Hwy. M-F 10am - 8pm

                      1. Are any of these close (= walkable, short taxi, or streetcar) to the FQ or the Marigny area?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: rmw555

                          None of these places are convenient to the FQ or Marigny, but you can reach Jazzmine Cafe, a viet restaurant in Riverbend (corner of St. Charles & Carrollton), by way of the St. Charles Streetcar. Doson's Noodle House on Canal and Cafe Minh (viet fusion) are both accessible via the Canal Streetcar.

                        2. Kim Son's salt baked scalops are rad, and Pho Tau Bay's menu, top to bottom is fantastic. From the crispy egg rolls, to the PTB wonton soup, bahn mi, and don't miss the dessert yogurt, made in-house. Just got back from another great lunch at PTB.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Overweight

                            I love that wonton soup too. I think PTB is my favorite restaurant, if I had to choose just one.

                          2. Has anyone tried the bakery/po-boys at the Hong Kong Market? I'd be curious if there are good things to be had there.

                            Also, what about the fine dining area of Panda King? Is it Vietnamese?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: reuben6

                              The bahn mi at HKM are fine...though overshadowed (on weekends) by the killer chinese BBQ just to the right of the bahn mi counter. Whole ducks, whole sesame piglet, red-cooked pork ribs, boneless pork, quail, chickens, etc. Sold by the pound, mouthwatering, and if you get the boneless pork chopped up, suitable for snacking in the car on the ride home.

                              1. re: reuben6

                                As Celeste notes, the bahn mi are fine - go ahead and splurge and get the 'dac biet' (sp.?), the 'everything' special bahn mi, it'll set you back another $.50....great deal/great lunch.

                              2. Wanted to give an update on the few Vietnamese restaurants that I havebeen too lately:
                                Pho Bang - http://blackenedout.blogspot.com/sear...
                                Kim Son - http://blackenedout.blogspot.com/sear...
                                Dong Phuong - http://blackenedout.blogspot.com/sear...

                                Of these 3, I would say that Dong Phuong was my favorite, but the "salt baked" entrees at Kim Son are one-of-a-kind.

                                1. What type of reservations, if any, do you need for 9 Roses? I am planning on going in a few weeks and I can't find much information except rave reviews and address. I am wondering what it will be like on a Friday night in April. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: DP4466

                                    They do take reservations, but you probably won't need them. It's a large restaurant. I was there last Saturday night for a few hours, and it was never more than half full, if that.

                                    Regarding the original question, they had a special of goat curry that was the best goat and among the best curry I've ever had. It was so good that we ordered a second serving.

                                    1. re: uptownlibrarian

                                      Really! Wow, I must have missed going on the goat curry day, as I've never seen it there.
                                      Was it a special on the board? Or did your waitress tell you about it?

                                      As far as reservations go, it can't hurt to make one.
                                      Whenever I am going with a group & it's preplanned, I do.
                                      Of course, I'll go 25 times unplanned to 1 time planned & that said, it's been rare that I've had to wait, although it has happened a few times.

                                      I will say this, Nine Roses is about a mile from my house & so it's easy for me to pop in there. However, there have been a handful of times over the past 15 yrs when I arrived to find the restaurant closed for a private party (usually a wedding reception).
                                      504-366-7665

                                      1. re: Isabella

                                        It was a special on the board, and it said simply "goat curry." I thought, I'm not passing that up no way. It was super tender and juicy, and included curly pieces of skin too, but no bones. My main complaint with goat dishes is that they often have lots of bones (goat masala at Salt & Pepper, etc). This was just amazing and I hope you get to try it.

                                        I was there with a group for my birthday, so I had made a reservation, but we wouldn't have needed it. Good point about private parties though, and I sometimes forget that they're closed on Wednesday.

                                        1. re: uptownlibrarian

                                          Thanks so much, Uptownlibrarian! I'm going to call over there & ask when they might have goat curry again. I have 2 DC's that are going to flip when we show up & I suggest goat curry! We've all been going there since 9 Roses opened.
                                          We've had just about everything on the menu & this will be a very special treat!
                                          Thanks again!

                                  2. I think you all should try PHO ORCHID on Houma Blvd in Metairie. They haven't been open but a few months. This has become my favorite vietnamese restaurant on either side of the river. They have a very large menu and everything I have tried has been fantastic. The bo tai chang blows 9 roses out of the water. The hot & sour shrimp soup is the best I've had anywhere. Anyway I hope yall will give them a try and let me know what you think.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: BerkeleySQ

                                      Berk, do you know if they use MSG in any of their dishes?
                                      And if you don't know, wondering if you would mind asking.
                                      I have a pretty horrible reaction to MSG if I ingest it.
                                      Thank you kindly!

                                      1. re: Isabella

                                        No problem. I really can't imagine that they use msg but I'll ask. I'll probably be there Thurs or Fri.

                                        1. re: BerkeleySQ

                                          Thanks so much, I greatly appreciate it. My eye doc is right there & my exam is soon.
                                          I always have to have a friend drive me home & that will be a nice treat for her to turn her on to a new Vietnamese place. I await your reply!

                                          1. re: Isabella

                                            Isabella, I asked about the MSG. They said it is use it in some dishes, but they will leave it out if you request it. I think you will really like this place.

                                    2. For salt baked stuff...Kim Son...hands down.

                                      For Pho, I like Pho Bang.

                                      Bakers...HI-DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                      1. the bun at Kim Son is the best in town. i like to get bun with pork and imperial rolls. and in their list of specialties the grilled pork or lemon grass beef that you wrap in rice paper with herbs and lettuce, pickled carrots and cukes is worth the journey. So too the ginger or salt baked crab. Kim Son is Calvin Trillin's favorite destination after Moscas. probably not on the same night.

                                        At 9 Roses, don't miss the grilled quail appetizer. it comes, just as in Vietnam, with a side dish of salt pepper and lime. you mix them up and dip.

                                        At Tan Dinh, don't miss the Korean spare ribs. they aren't Korean or spare ribs but they are verrrry good.

                                        At Duong Phong the Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Crepe) is wonderful too. you wrap hunks of it in lettuce and dip in nuoc cham. Their pasties are very good: a custard with coffee sauce etc.

                                        at Hong Kong market they have have all the Persian cukes you could ever desire and at a great price.

                                        1. Don't forget HI Do Bakery on Terry Parkway. It has awesome french bread, king cakes, croissants, danish pastries and other bakery products. Most of the goods are french influenced, but the bread is comparable to Dong Phong, Hong Kong Market etc.
                                          My favorite savory dishes are the lemon grass chicken and grilled quail at Tan Dinh, anything salt baked at Kim Son & the chili garlic crabs, and the crepes with pork, shrimp and sprouts at Nine Roses. Favorite bubble tea shop is in Metairie - Frostees. The have an incredible salad with avocado, romaine lettuce and peanut sauce dressing - you can add grilled chicken if desired. They also make a great Pho Ga, my son's favorite chicken noodle soup.