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Apr 3, 2009 02:14 PM

Miss Saigon in Amherst, MA

Has anyone tried Miss Saigon yet? Or do we still have to go to Springfield for good Vietnamese food?

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  1. Very good. Been 1/2 dozen times. Maybe a bit more expensive than the Springfield spots but the pho is easily worth the $7-8 and the other dishes run $8-12. Loved the green papaya salad with chicken/shrimp. Service a bit erratic but its certainly worth the regular trip from Northampton

    1 Reply
    1. re: Big Fat Moe

      I was there with my son this week and thought it was good. We both had vegetarian dishes and they were fairly light and fresh. Not as flavorful as some other Asian cuisines, but nice. I would try it again. I usually go to AmChi or the Thai place up there, but I would give this another try. My noodle dish was loaded with vegetables and great tofu.

    2. I go to Miss Saigon pretty regularly. The pho is good. I've had a few different kinds, I usually get #30 with rice noodles and raw beef, though the egg noodles are good, too. There is also one (blanking on the name/number) that has thicker, homemade noodles which are great. The spring rolls here are also very good, especially the vegetarian ones.

      I've only strayed from the pho a few times and I have to say, the results were mixed.

      1 Reply
      1. re: corinnerose

        I eat at Miss Saigon a god bit as well and definitely like it.

        It's not the best Vietnamese food I've ever had - If they had to compete with the maybe 30 Vietnamese restaurants in Boston's Chinatown, their food would seem just OK and definitely overpriced. A bowl of pho that would be $5 in Boston is $8-9 here. And the Boston one would taste better.

        Vinh Chau and Pho Saigon in Springfield are probably better too, but if you are in the Upper Pioneer Valley, there's not a lot of options, and Miss Saigon is probably one of my favorite spots in Amherst.

      2. All I know is that pho saigon is amazing in Springfield

        3 Replies
          1. re: corinnerose

            not to my knowledge. I don't believe so

            1. re: sevendust

              No, I'm pretty sure there is no relation between the two.

              If you were to make a list of the top 10 words used in naming a Vietnamese Restaurant, "Saigon" would probably be in the top 3.

        1. My husband and I really want to love this restaurant, but we can't based on two dinners there so far. We may give it one more shot with something other than pho. We both had pho--mine with beef the first time, seafood the second. The beef was definitely not fresh, and the some of the seafood was that weird orangey crab combo stuff. The broth was flavorless. I did add some of the Asian basil and condiments, but pho should stand on its own.

          My husband, not a picky guy, has traveled to Viet Nam a couple times, so his dish was pretty far removed from the original. That's okay, but we've had Vietnamese food in Europe and New York, which was fabulous. This wasn't even close.

          The service is strange. The young woman who waited on us both times seemed to be annoyed to see us--sorry, but it was only 8:30 and they're open until 10:00. Then she was all smiles. Neither time did we get the requested tea even after asking twice.

          I'm with the posters on the other Amherst/Northampton boards who are also recent arrivals to the area. I'm open to try things. I don't want to be picky. I want to support the local places and not diss them. But every place we've tried is sort of just okay. Thank goodness the local food sources are great--awesome breads at the farmers' markets and in Northampton, great, great produce in season, wonderful dairy, cream at Flayvers in Hadley, etc. So it's all the more disappointing that the taste level is so low in the restaurants. It's probably due to the overwhelming college population. I'd kill for a good hamburger place in Amherst--Amherst Brewery is not it unless they get rid of that very bad carpeting and don't seat us next to the bleach-y bathrooms.

          Oh, I'd better stop. Honestly, I'm not a picky, never happy food snob. I want places to succeed, but for now I'm putting together ingredients for pho I can make at home. Miss Saigon is a missed opportunity. If we try it again, and we have a good experience, I'll post again.

          5 Replies
          1. re: scribos

            I'm honestly surprised. It's Amherst--obviously it isn't going to be like New York or Vietnam. But I really do think some of their stuff is good. You're right, the service can be atrocious... but around here that's no anomaly. I'm also faaaairly certain the beef is fresh, at least in the Pho Tai. I've gotten it to go (faux pas, I know) and they give you the beef raw, on the side. It hadn't been frozen, looked and smelled superfresh. Maybe yours had just been in the broth too long? Try the Bun Bo Hue. It has the thicker noodles and super, SUPER tender beef.

            Anyone tried a Banh Mi there?

            1. re: corinnerose

              We may give Miss Saigon one more shot. The meat was definitely "off" that first night. I've had pho and other Vietnamese dishes in West Hartford, CT that was great, so it's not that we got spoiled in NYC or Viet Nam. The pho at Miss Saigon, to me, was slightly above the general level of takeout won ton soup in any old Chinese restaurant.

              We do like some of the noodle dishes at the Korean/Japanese restaurant up in North Amherst, though I find it somewhat absurd that they have two cuisines under one roof. The equivalent would be having an Italian and French restaurant together offering classic dishes of both cuisines under one roof. Still, on a cold night, their noodle dishes are light years above Miss Saigon's.

              1. re: scribos

                Ok, North Amherst is totally off my radar. What place are you referring to? What are the good noodle dishes?

                There's also a Korean/Japanese place in Northampton which I recently tried and did not like. But I'll try anything twice. ha.

                Stuff about Soo Ra in No'hamp here:

                1. re: corinnerose

                  I'm pretty sure she is talking about House of Teriaki. I've never been too impressed there, but then again, I've never had anything really unpleasant. Anyhow, haven't tried too many of their noodle dishes, I'll have to stop in again.

            2. re: scribos

              Yeah, I've been a few times recently and found things a bit off - never a problem with bad meat but just not great. Wondered if they were breaking in a new chef.

              They are still passable and offer the only pho short of a drive to Springfield. Springfield is better but Amherst is closer. Anyhow, on my few recent visits, some have been fine and sone a little rough around the edges. Give them another try, it sounds like it may have been an off night. Don't get me wrong, these guys have never been great, but they tend to at least be pretty good.

              And, Amherst Brewing actually turns out a pretty good burger. Ambience sucks, but a burger with sweet potato fries is pretty good. Eat it on the outdoor tables in summer?

              Sadly, with the possible exception of Chez Albert, "pretty good" is about as good as the options in Amherst get. There's better burgers down Route 9 (Esselon, Local Burger, Dirty Truth, Packard's, Toasted Owl) and better pho in Springfield (Vinh Chau, Pho Saigon).

              And yeah, I think the student population and the associated faculty and staff (who don't have time to travel out of Amherst for lunch) are what keep these places alive without pushing them to improve.

            3. I finally got around to trying Miss Saigon, and it's GREAT! No one had gotten around to adding the restaurant to Chowhound yet, so i just did -- so go rate it if you want to.

              Miss Saigon
              96 N Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01002