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Good Vietnamese places in CT?

After seeing Bahn Mi (sp.) in several places I have become obsessed with trying one.
Anyone know of good Vietnamese restaurants in CT where I could find one?

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  1. Pho Boston in Sheild's Plaza, New Britain Ave, West Hartford is the best Vietnamese in the Hartford region.

    1. Pot au Pho in New Haven is probably best forgotten. I haven't been to Saigon City in Old Saybrook for a couple of years, but as I recall it was fairly good.

      9 Replies
      1. re: linguist

        Pot-au-Pho does indeed suck. Periodically I try them out, hoping they'll get better, but no. and so expensive, too. I bet you'll have to go to NYC for banh mi.

        1. re: humuhumu

          In West Hartford, the Vietnamese joint on Park Rd (can't recall the name) has a Banh Mi sign in their window. Never had one yet though.

          1. re: Uncledave

            Uncledave, is that Kien Oriental Market on Park Rd.? Maybe not as this is Hartford:

            Just learned of it last night from a friend who is Vietnamese. If the snow doesn't get in the way today, he's picking some up for us to try for lunch and I'll report back.

            My buddy says the banh mi at Kien are much better than the ones at A Dong.

            1. re: kattyeyes

              I had my first banh mi yesterday for the low, low price of $2.75 at Kien Oriental Market in Hartford (Parkville) on Park Rd. Very easy to get there from the Sisson Ave. exit off of I-84, btw.

              The little sandwich making station with microwave and toaster are on your immediate left as you enter the store, opposite the cash register. I walked right by on my way in, incorrectly guessing that food prep would be taking place in the back of the store where there's some sort of deli-looking counter.

              The folks in the store are very friendly and let me know if I wanted to order in advance, I could call ahead (so you can, too):

              Oh, and on weekends, they serve beef in addition to the pork meatball variation I sampled.

              The woman who made my sandwich asked if I like spicy, which I do, and this sandwich definitely didn't disappoint. The pork meatball was tender and flavorful, the baguette was nicely toasted, the pickled vegetables, fresh cilantro and sprinkling of hot peppers all combined to form a very tasty and spicy lunch...for less than $3! I'm at a loss to say how to improve on such a deal. I know finer baguettes could be had, but how could I possibly have one complaint for friendly service and a bargain price? It was delicious and I'm glad I finally had a chance to give banh mi (and Kien!) a try.

              If Brazilian bakeries are your thing, you could stop in at any of what seems like dozens of them in the same neighborhood and grab dessert...all are within walking distance of Kien.

              These photos come to you direct from the katmobile...right, it's just a little market, so I ate in the car. See first three photos here:

              1. re: kattyeyes

                Mmmm, looks tasty...any other varieties or just pork and beef? And that taco truck looked pretty interesting too

                1. re: BiscuitBoy

                  I would swear my buddy (who is Vietnamese) said they had chicken, but no one in the store told me so. It was $2.75 very well spent, thanks! :)

                2. re: kattyeyes

                  Revisited yesterday--I'm happy to report a few updates. They now prep food in the back of the store. And you'll find an old-timey, luncheonette-like counter where you can sit and chow down. As an added bonus, I picked up a 24 oz. bottle of Three Crabs fish sauce for the low, low price of $3.99. Try to find it on Amazon and you'll see why I was so pleased. One of the ladies in the store even commented, "That's a good one!"

                  Not as if the hot weather will compel you to try some of the other options anytime soon, but they make pho and duck, too, among other dishes displayed on the "luncheonette" wall. The pork meatball banh mi is as delicious as I remembered and still costs a mere $2.75. Other menu options are pictured--literally, with large photographs--on the wall with descriptions.

                  Has no one else been? You really gotta go. And grab a lychee soda to go with while you're there. An adult at the register will show you the way (wording on the bottle cautions you an adult should help you open it). Funny little soda bottle with a special plastic tool to help you slap-pop it open--whattatrip! Oh, and as one more treat for me, I picked up a box of red bean mochi for $1.75. SWEEEET!

          2. re: linguist

            If you forget Bahn Mi, is Saigon City any good? So long since I have has pho (or bahn mi).
            I'm in New Haven, so what's close?

            1. re: meatzaaa

              If you mean Saigon City in Old Saybrook, it's still there. Nice venue, very mixed reviews. I usually ordered from the Thai dishes on the menu, DW got the Vietnamese food. She was unimpressed with an entree two years ago and hasn't returned since, but luckily Som Siam East opened so I can still indulge in Thai on the shoreline.

            1. Not too many restaurants in ffld county that serve Banh Mi, but there is a market in Bridgeport called the Oriental Market that sells them 320 Coleman Street
              Bridgeport, CT. They are fairly good and will cure your fix without having to drive to Hartford or NYC. Although NYC has much better examples of Banh Mi.

              1. Definitely don't get one from A-Dong market in Shield Street in West Hartford. I bought one there and (is the meat always like this) it looked like chicken roll with medallions of fat studding the slices.

                I've always wanted to try a Bahn Mi myself and figure I must have to do it when I'm in NYC, where I know there are scads of places that sell them.

                7 Replies
                1. re: masha bousha

                  A. Dong's sandwich is made with assorted Vietnamese "cold cuts." There's lots of stuff like gelatine, and plenty of fat! The roll that looks like chicken is actually pork -- with plenty of fat chunks inside and wrapped with a "rind" of fat. It's not for everybody but it's very, very authentic. The sandwich also contains cucumber and my favorite part, their pickled daikon and carrot. That salad is just amazing.

                  It occurred to me just now to ask them if they'll "custom-make" a sandwich using pork from the roast pigs they sell instead of the funky Vietnamese cold cuts. Mmmm.

                  1. re: shaogo

                    Thanks for the information and the tip.
                    I know of another place (that I've not tried personally) that is a market on Park Street in Hartford. Their Bahn Mi's are suppose to be pretty good.

                    1. re: masha bousha

                      Ahh, if this is the same place I mentioned (above--Kien), I'll bet you'll like it. Though my friend does like the one with the head cheese, that's not what I'll be eating for lunch. :)

                      Go figure, he can't manage red bean paste (which I love!) and I don't wanna hear about head cheese. HEE HEE! I told him he can have my portion.

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        You and I seem to be on many of the same threads. Keep it coming! Good info Kattyeyes!

                        1. re: masha bousha

                          Yes, nice to see you, too. masha bousha. ;)

                          While we're adding non-banh mi joints to the mix, my local favorite is Pho Mai in Middletown's North End (next to Iguanas Ranas). I just had #39 (chicken with lemongrass, peppers and onions) for the umpteenth time last night. They kind of tease me there as I don't deviate from #39 often...but it's so good! Their spring rolls and pho are other favorites.

                      2. re: masha bousha

                        It could be Heip Phat (sp?) Market (not Heip Phat restaurant a few doors down) They have Bahn Mi that are supposed to be great. They were sold out when I tried to get some, which I take as a good sign.

                      3. re: shaogo

                        Do you know where they get their rolls for making their Bhan Mi's. They are the best. I make my own sandwiches at home. I do like the ones at A Dong's, too.

                    2. Wow, old thread....I always liked Lee's in east hartford....offered a banh mi every once in a while

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: BiscuitBoy

                        Not a Banh Mi place, but Pho Vietnam in Danbury is a good place for Pho and Bun. It's a hole in the wall, but the food is good and not expensive.

                        1. re: chipmonger

                          One word

                          409 Hartford Turnpike
                          Vernon Rockville, CT 06066-4863
                          (860) 871-8962

                          I go here every time I am home to visit my family, it is a must!
                          I mean, good. Just as good as the vietnamese places here in chinatown NY.
                          more polished and sophisticated...

                          1. re: foodluv39

                            Interesting, this one. Google seems to place it in the same shopping ctr as Reins NY Deli. I shall keep this one in mind on trips to/from NH/ME.

                            1. re: chipmonger

                              Lotus is close to Rein's, but in a stand alone building with a separate parking lot. I thought the food was very good. What I didn't like is that they made me and my friend wait for a 2 seat table even though thay had several 4 seat tables open. I hate that.

                            2. re: foodluv39

                              100% agree re: Lotus. Been going there for years. Consistently delicious.

                          2. re: BiscuitBoy

                            Bboy: How would you compare Le's to Pho Mai? Just curious for a benchmark.

                            1. re: kattyeyes

                              Le's (yes, you're right, just one "e") is more of a sit down kind of place, table service, etc. I like the entrees better at Le's than Pho Mai, tho have not had the pho there....when working in the area, always went to pho501 for that. I think both places serve authentic fare, but for me, there is just that 'something' about Le

                              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                Good to know, I'll have to check it out. Yeah, I used to be a big Pho 501 fan, too, until CT restaurants went smoke-free, but they'd still let people smoke. I was so disgusted by that, I never returned to Pho 501, but yes, their pho was delicious.

                                Looking forward to checking out Le's. Thanks!

                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                  Try Pho Saigon on the corner of Iranistan and Wood ave in Bridgeport. Have spent years eating PHO in Boston's China Town especially PHO Pastuer. This is better. Don't be surprised if you are the only one speaking english... This is the real stuff and the family that own this are very sweet people.

                                2. re: BiscuitBoy

                                  Well, two years later, I finally got there. You're right...there IS just that 'something' about Le's Vietnamese Restaurant. I think it's the owner herself--what a very sweet lady.

                                  After a rather mindbender of a day, I headed up for dinner. The owner seated me with a pat on the back and a smile and brought some tea. When I told her I liked spicy food, she not only made my dish spicy, but brought a special jar of hot chile sauce to the table for me to try, cautioning me to use it sparingly. That's IN ADDITION to the sriracha and other jar of hot chili paste on the table already.

                                  I had the chicken and rice dish with lemongrass, but I think my new friend put extra vegetables in it--it was delicious and really hit the spot, especially with three hot condiments to experiment with.

                                  As I read elsewhere (yeah, Yelp, because this board has been awfully dead of late), the owner brought me a complimentary piece of cake--"I made this myself," she said--at the end of the meal. I would definitely recommend stopping at Le's for lunch or dinner if others find themselves down on Main Street.


                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    Thanks, I'll make an effort to get to Le's.

                            2. On the topic of general Vietnamese (rather than Banh Mi) I've been eating at Lotus Grill in Farmington & loving it. Everything seems fresh & the servers I've met have been great. I want a little more flavor in their pho, but that may just be me. I don't know how it compares to other things in the area. I'd love to hear updates on other restaurants on this (2009) thread; I'll work on getting to Le's and Lotus (Vernon Rockville.)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: THewat

                                Pho Mai in Middletown remains my local favorite, and besides pho, which sometimes you've just gotta have, I continue to order and love #39 (chicken with lemongrass, peppers and onions). They're stunned when I order something different. :)

                                In case this sweetens the deal, you can BYOB and you can shop for it right at Forest City (very nice folks) a few doors down. Yeah, I know the neighborhood is sketchy and may seem scary to outsiders, but I've been walking Main Street since I was in elementary school without incident.

                                1. re: THewat

                                  +1 for Lotus Grill in F'mington. Small, but clean and portions AND quality are very good.