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Little Saigon Marlboro

Figured it's time we got the name and place right in a thread.

For readers who know, this place was originally located in a storefront in Howell and just recently moved to its new location on Route 9 in Marlboro. In its old location they were mainly a bahn mi sandwich takeout joint. The new place has a full Vietnamese menu and plenty of clean, comfortable seating. They also still have the bahn mi, but you have to ask for a separate bahn mi menu.

We had four dishes and shared some rolls first. The rolls were as I remembered them, good, small, and a little too greasy. The dipping sauce was first rate. The dishes were mixed, with the huge bowl of noodle soup the best item. Beef cubes in a brown sauce were decent, the bbq chicken was very good, but the fried rice and the chicken with broccoli were both dry and not that flavorful.

I will definately go there for some bahn mi in the future, but I am still looking forward to the return of Saigon 2 when they open in the spring in Red Bank.

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  1. Thanks seal, I was very disappointed when I don't see Banh Mi on their menu. Didn't know they have a separate menu for that.

    1. > Figured it's time we got the name and place right in a thread
      So, can you tell us where is this place?

      Here is your post on the original Howell location:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/686494

      1 Reply
      1. re: GraydonCarter

        It's on Route 9 N in the Marlboro Square plaza just after Damon's.

      2. We went to Little Saigon the first day we knew of it. Our visit demonstrated several kinks that needed to be worked out. My standard for comparison is Pho Than Hoai Vietnamese Restaurant on Route 9 in Sayreville. The Little Saigon restaurant features large portions, though on examination a lot of my dish was rice noodles. I got no more meat than I would have gotten at Pho Thanh. The "hot" tea was certainly tea, but only lukewarm. The service was slow and my wife's dish came at least ten or 15 minutes later than mine. They could have brought out her soup to fill the time, but they seem to have completely forgotten her meal until we reminded them. The chicken in her dish had a fair amount of gristle. The condiments are not put on the table; you have to go get them. The room was cold in spite of the vestibule, and leaving there was a surprise step down that is hard to see and nearly tripped us. Overall not a very good performance.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Mark Leeper

          I reviewed our visit when the restaurant had just opened and it was not doing a very good job. Many of those problems have been addressed. Now the problem is that the food is really rather bland. The soup has little more than a salt and seaweed flavor. The vegetable with the lunch was some sort of root-vegetable like turnip and without much flavor there either. The BBQ ribs were a little tangier, My wife had tofu stuffed with meat and it did not have a lot of flavor, but it did have a lot of oil. I live nearer to Pho Thanh and I much prefer it. Your mileage may vary.

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          Little Saigon
          172 US Highway 9 N., Englishtown, NJ 07726

          1. re: Mark Leeper

            Pho Thanh is the one in Sayreville right? If so, I do agree that one is better.
            Little Saigon is a little expensive for a Vietnamese place, and the food is decent but not great. However, with the lack of variety in the Marlboro/Manalapan area, I am just glad that I have an okay option for authentic Asian food.

            1. re: yCf

              It is 960 Route 9 South #109, South Amboy, NJ. I think we agree.

              1. re: Mark Leeper

                I ate at this place today. Hungry, I stopped at Burger King. What? $5 plus dollars for a Chipotle Whopper? For a few dollars more, I can get a bowl of Pho instead! So that's what I did.

                The bowl was HUGE. I can easily say it was bigger than my head, and for only $7.50. However, i've also eaten at Little Saigon, and my vote still goes to them. The depth of flavor in their beef broth is multi-layered and sensational.. this place was okay, but I thought rather bland and "one-note."

                Better sauces at Little Saigon, too. More side condiments, AND they serve limes, whereas the South Amboy place served one lemon piece.

                Still, I grabbed a menu.. maybe I'll try one of their other dishes sometime.

                And as a side note.. a little more south there was a "Dragon Bowl" express Chinese food place where Checkers formally was.. now it's drive-through sushi.. but didn't look open when I drove past.

                1. re: MarlboroMan

                  Must have been an off-day--we always get limes at Pho Thanh. On the other hand, on our last visit to Little Saigon it took a long time to get the pho--and another five minutes before they brought out the sprouts, Thai basil, and limes!

                  My major objection to Pho Thanh is how hard it is to get to from the south. If you're coming up Route 9, you need to make a Jersey left north of it, which involves an almost blind left turn onto Bordentown Ave, then another uncontrolled crossing of a through street. I actually prefer the longer, safer way, of taking Ernston to Bordentown, turn right, and then right onto Burlew Place just before the Route 9 merge.

                  Our favorite is the #18, which comes with grilled pork.

              2. re: yCf

                I certainly agree about the lack of cuisine variety in the Marlboro/Manalapan area. But a Vietnamese restaurant with dismal food is not exactly something to cheer about. The negative reports have made me decide against trying it.

                http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                1. re: RGR

                  I do think you should give it a try though. While I think it is not the greatest and Pho Thanh is better, it is certainly not dismal. The basic Vietnamese dishes such as Spring roll, Pho, Bun, and Pork Chop rice, etc are fine. I do understand the complain about service because it seems like they are family run so the server aren't really professionals. They seem like a friendly bunch though. They constantly have a 15% off coupon in that small, thick coupon booklet in the mail.

                2. re: yCf

                  Just to clarify, there is a Pho Thanh Hoai in Sayreville, and a Pho Thanh Do in Edison.
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/187378

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                  Pho Thanh Hoai Vietnamese Restaurant
                  960 US Highway 9 N, Sayreville, NJ 08872

            2. My son and I had lunch there today. The shrimp summer rolls (2 for 3.50) was good, slightly on the small side. The seafood Pho soup, really good, but a little pricey about $12.00. The menu is extensive, the atmosphere good, and the location, excellent. I will go again. Time and gas spent to go to Edison is no longer necessary. There are 3 menus, regular, lunch, and the sandwiches. We were only given the regular (dinner menu). I believe the Asian customers were given all the menus ..... I'm not Asian. I've been to chinese restaurants were the english menu prices were higher then those on the chinese written menus ,,,,,,

              5 Replies
              1. re: junkliss

                Pho Thanh on Route 9 in Sayreville is also closer than Edison.

                1. re: junkliss

                  I'm not Asian and was given all 3 menus when I went for lunch last Friday so I don't think its any more than the issues of getting the service right at a new place. On both of my visits the service was haphazard but friendly and the food was very good.

                  1. re: Bossa_Nova

                    Yea, use to go to Pho Thanh all the time, and then I noticed the portions getting smaller and the prices getting higher - why ? no competition. At least on Rt 27, there is plenty of competition.

                    1. re: junkliss

                      I've been to both and Little Saigon is on par with the one up North. They recently had their grand opening, and while I'm sure there are some kinks to be worked out, my meal was very enjoyable. The spring rolls and shrimp/pork summer rolls are excellent, and I had the rare beef Pho - also very good and flavorful with plenty of beef; the size/portion, was no dfferent than up north and the beef was plentiful. I also had the calamari appetizer which was flavored with salt and pepper, which was very good.
                      I highly recommend everyone give this place a try.

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                      Little Saigon Restaurant
                      2801 Arctic Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401

                      1. re: dannan

                        Yes, dannan, I've been there twice more since my post of Dec 28 and I sent my Chinese friend, whose been their twice. Yes, the food is good and the service friendly. They fixed the door in front (mini-ramp) so you no longer can trip walking inside. Coming from the east (that is from 520 towards 9), make a left into the shopping center where pathmark use to be. Then go out between the opening between Kohls and Staples, cross the small street and park in what looks like a lot behind a strip mall. That is where the restaurant is. This avoids the left on 9 and then the then the next u turn.
                        junkliss

                2. It takes about 5 minutes research to add a new restaurant to the database.

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                  Little Saigon
                  172 US Highway 9 N., Englishtown, NJ 07726

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: GraydonCarter

                    Has anyone tried any of their other dishes or appetizers besides the Pho?

                    1. re: FoodDude2

                      I had one of their Banh Mi (sandwiches) on New Year's Eve (my first ever Banh Mi!). I was hoping/expecting to be blown away. It was good, but it didn't knock me out of my socks like I was hoping it would. Plus it took about 20 minutes to prepare after I ordered it (and I was told 10 minutes). I'll go back to try the beef Pho, though.

                  2. My husband and I went for dinner this past Saturday night. We got there and found the place packed - always a good sign! We waited 15 minutes for a table which did not seem inappropriate. Once we were seated, we waited at least 10 minutes before we were even given menus. When we got the menus we asked for water and wine glasses. Ten minutes passed, water and wine glasses were brought (but no one opend our wine), and our order was taken. My husband na dI each ordered a cold salad as our first course and then we ordered a fish and a chicken dish.

                    In retrospect, I was very glad that our wine was not opened because after waiting 25 minutes, and despite several attempts to engage the waitstaff, we still did not have anything to eat. It was at that point that we decided to get up and go elsewhere.

                    Now I know why the place was packed when we got there 45 minutes earlier - it was still the same crowd that had been there since the place opened that day!

                    Upon leaving, the only thing that we got was a cursory apology. It is a shame that an ethnic restaurant in this area could not get their act together, and we are always looking for someplace new and interesting to eat.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MamaJ32

                      The food was good, but I also found the service way too slow and inattentive. I went on a weeknight when it wasn't really too busy and still had a hard time getting the wine opened and getting water glasses refilled. I can't imagine the service when the place is packed.....shoot me now!

                    2. I've been Pho fan for years and I think Little Saigon makes a very good Pho. I am new to Banh Mi which are tasty sandwiches served on crusty French bread with assorted meats or seafood.
                      The difference here is instead of lettuce/tomato you get shredded carrot, cucumber, cilantro topped with spicy mayo and fish sauce. I will be ordering more of these. Thanks for the
                      recommendation junkliss.

                      I have gone only on weekdays so service was OK. I can imagine on a crowded weekend this
                      new place could use more help.

                      1. I have been there twice now. I have only tried the Banh Mi (BBQ Chicken) and Mango salad both of which were EXCELLENT!! They don't have the BBQ Chicken Banh Mi on the menu, but when I went in the first time the owner recommended it. I'm so glad he did. YUM!!! When I went back the second time I wanted to try something else, but I couldn't get my mind of that Banh Mi. :)

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                        Little Saigon
                        172 US Highway 9 N., Englishtown, NJ 07726

                          1. Every time I go to Little Saigon I am pleased that Da-Nang (aka Pho Than Hoai ) in Sayerville is more convenient for me to get to. The people who run Little Saigon are a little friendlier than than the people who run Da-Nang. That is about the only advantage. Da-Nang has a much bigger (and somewhat cheaper) menu and some of their Pho (Vietnamese beef soup) offerings are much more generous than anything I would get at a comparable price at Little Saigon. The squeeze bottles for sauces (like Hoisin) need to be cleaned off in order to work and not send sauce squirting in the wrong direction.

                            The Pho had less meat than Da-Nang would give you and it would cost less. It would not be correct to say my soup came with bean sprouts and my wife's came with dipping sauce. It would be more accurate to say
                            beansprout dish came 10 or 15 minutes later, followed by
                            wife's dip. Little Saigon has coupons in various magazines, but I think Da-Nang is a better deal even without coupons.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Mark Leeper

                              Little Saigon is most likely just a memory... Bright orange tax seizure notices on their doors, and a notice that their electricity had been shut off for non-payment as well. I had a feeling things weren't going well for them when they stopped printing menus; they only had the menu online. That was a sign of starting to cut corners.

                              1. re: MarlboroMan

                                I think the owner of the Vietnamese restaurant in Howell across from Home Depot, will be buying the place at least that us what he told me last month.

                                1. re: junkliss

                                  And what's more, I passed PH0 99 on R36 today (near Monmouth mall)and they are progressing, ever so slowly.
                                  the guy in Howell told me that the PH0 99 place is being owned by one of his customers. As we say at work,
                                  truth is all over the place" .....