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need asian change of pace in paris

ok....we're topping out after 5 nights in paris...need some crunchy spicey asian fare...big pile of flash wokked veggies with some noodles or such. (new yorkers that we are..we're used to changing it up.) any ideas on somewhere that will satisfy this one night need? then back to the reservations awaiting us next week. (we don't want the made-ahead steam table stuff i've seen in lots of little vietnamese style shops here in the 10th. we want stir-fried string beans in some kind of garlic paste buffered by a little rice. does it exist here?

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  1. The style of cooking you describe sounds like Sichuan, so maybe you should try Restaurant de Chengdu on boulevard de Strasbourg. I remember some fried green beans there that were just like that. Rice on the side, though. Otherwise I do not see any 'Asian' restaurant that would serve "a big pile of flash-wokked veggies", that rather sounds like one of the concept wok places that open here and there in shopping malls or business neighborhoods.

    Sticking to your "crunchy spicy" recommendation, the Laotian places sound more like what you're looking for. Lao Lane Xang (there's 2 of them) on avenue d'Ivry, Lao Thai on rue de Tolbiac and Lao Viet on boulevard Massena. All in the 13th. But there's little wok cooking there, stir-fries are not what they do best.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Ptipois

      The picture of Pti's Restaurant de Chengdu on Flickr cited below looks like what the OP describes. At home we often order long beans with minced pork at a Sichuan place. Maybe on the carte here also since it's such a classic.


      1. re: Ptipois

        i second the Lao recs...i especially love Lao Lane Xang's grungier sister restaurant Rouammit...

      2. les Pâtes Vivantes on the rue du Faubourg Montmartre between the rue La Fayette and the rue Richer.... noodles, not rice .... a 10-15 minute but somewhat dreary walk from the 10th/ Chateau d'Eau

        if you can eat early, the Marché des Enfants Rouges on the rue de Bretagne at the rue Charlot in the 3rd (ultra-trendy) has a good selection of traiteurs/ mini-restos (japanese, french, moroccan, lebanese, portuguese, but only occasionally a wok guy who does your sort of stir fries) ... the japanese one does however have some really light and refreshing options... but closes at 8pm tue-sat and 2pm on sunday

        5 Replies
        1. re: Parnassien

          The walk does not have to be dreary if you take rue des Petites Ecuries, which is getting hipper by the day. And also the street alone has three "not bad" Chinese restaurants, all better than Les Pâtes Vivantes: l'Orient d'Or, An Li, La Cuisine de chez moi. All of them, like les Pâtes Vivantes.
          On rue des Petites Ecuries near rue Faubourg St Denis, there is such a wok concept place as described by Pti. It looks like a fast food place serving chop suey. W FOR WOK. 12 rue des Petites Ecuries. That street (I include rue Richer which is really the same street with a changed name) is blessed with great food fengshui, with Öslem, El Papi Chulo, Vivant, L'Orient d'Or, An Li, La Cuisine de chez moi, Bob de Tunis, Kiku, l'Office, all of which I would recommend before I recommend a Chinese fast food joint.
          Bonus at the end of the street: the wonderful fine foods store A La Mère de Famille, 35-39 rue du faubourg montmartre, which is serving its own homemade ice cream these days.

          1. re: Parigi

            I confirm, all better than Les Pâtes Vivantes. Also, heaps of vegetables with a little rice on the side and "crunchy spicy" is not exactly the kind of thing LPV offers.
            And I agree that the neighborhood, far from being dreary, has exceptional food fengshui, as far East as rue du Faubourg-Saint-Martin. There's also an Afghan place I'd like to try, a Malagasy restaurant in the Passage, not to mention Le Tombé du Ciel and Mardin's excellent tripe soup and ayran fountain (in the lower part of the rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis). Etc. etc.

            1. re: Ptipois

              i said the WALK was somewhat dreary ... i.e. unchanging, unremarkable, little variation in tone or atmosphere ... if it's your quartier i apologize for not being as enthusiastic about it as you

              1. re: Parnassien

                1. It is not Pti's quartier; she lives in the Left Bank.
                2. It is not my quartier; I live in the 9th.
                3. The restaurant that I dissed, Les Pâtes Vivantes, IS in my quartier. So much for the defending-my-quartier theory. :-)

                1. re: Parigi

                  And furthermore, one can think very highly of a quartier without living there. It is truly one of the last ungentrified areas of Paris. To me that is quite the opposite of dreary.

        2. We are interested in the same thing, a change of pace for one meal. Likely we are focused on Vietnamese, however.

          In terms of "solid" or "best" mid priced or more luxe Vietnamese do you all have a favorite? We aren't so interested in fancy, though that would be Ok. We just want great food. Yet, not so much Pho, or similar. More likely some noodle dishes, great starters and the like. Thanks.

          9 Replies
          1. re: comiendosiempre

            The one place we always go to for our Asian fix is Lao Viet (which Pti also mentioned). It gets the stamp of approval from every Asian I know - from our Asian friends who grew up and live in Paris, to those like us who visit Paris regularly but must have an Asian meal at some point despite the great French food.

            The one dish that is memorable is this ceviche-like pork fried rice. It has a lot of crispy/crunchy rice bits (think from the bottom of a clay pot) with a tangy flavored pork that is raw.

            Lao Viet is a great dinner choice for Sundays, when just about every good French place is closed. Here is the website: http://www.restaurantlaoviet.com

            1. re: hong_kong_foodie

              Lao Viet is the cat's pajamas. It is a bit out in the sticks, lost on the boulevard Massena with urban demolition/renovation a few inches away... Now it has a "last house on the cliff" feeling but it's still going strong.

              The "ceviche-like pork fried rice" is Nem Lao, a crispy salad of fried rice, shallots, lemongrass and fresh coriander with sliced nem chua.

              Nem chua is not technically "raw" but chopped pork meat and rind that have been cured with fermented rice, garlic and sliced green chillies. You can find nem chua at Asian stores, they're the little square packages wrapped in pink paper and sold in small plastic nets. You have to let them mature before you eat them (there's a sell-from date on the label). Sliced nem chua is delicious on buttered toast.

              You eat Nem Lao just like VIetnamese Spring rolls: put a leaf of lettuce on your palm, a pinch of nem lao on it, a few pickled vegetables and herbs, roll up and eat.

              1. re: Ptipois

                Do you recall any restaurants that offer Pate Imperial, which is wrapped in lettuce and served with a Lemon dipping sauce? Our favorite spot, Le Mandarin, in the 7th, changed hands a while back.

                1. re: Oakglen

                  All Vietnamese restaurants serve nems, a.k.a. pâtés impériaux, the Vietnamese Spring rolls I referred to above. Some serve better ones than others. There are gazillions of them in the 13e.
                  The ones at Lao Viet are quite good, for instance.

                2. re: Ptipois

                  Funny, the restaurant Lao Viet looks great, parfait. The cats pajamas. But, indeed, it also seems way out there. How about similar but closer to "downtown?". Thanks

                  1. re: comiendosiempre

                    If "great, parfait" and "cats pajamas" are your goals, rethink "downtown" Lao Viet is a 100 yards from the Porte d'Ivry metro, with stops at Palais Royale, and Opera, pretty close to "downtown"...

                    1. re: mangeur

                      And if you take the streetcar that slides along the boulevards des Maréchaux and can be caught from any Porte at the South of Paris, Lao Viet is only a few steps away from the Porte d'Ivry stop.
                      Either way, métro or tram, you'll be amply rewarded for the short walk.

                      1. re: Ptipois

                        The streetcar sounds like a great idea. I can catch that in many places, including in the First? LIkewise, Au Coin des Gourmet looks very interesting, more pricey, it seems.

                        Would a taxi from the First out to Lao Viet be about 15 Euros? Thanks.

                        1. re: comiendosiempre

                          The streetcar (tram), as I wrote, slides along the boulevard des Maréchaux which means it runs in a half-circle between the city and the Périphérique. So you can't take it in the First. A taxi would be no more than 15 euros but if you're in the First it will be much faster and cheaper to take the métro, line 7 to Porte d'Ivry. Then it's a five-minute walk.

            2. For an oriental vegetable fest', I'd head to "Tien Hiang". This vegan asian establishment has two restaurants, one on the rue Chemin Vert in the 11th, another on the crummier end of rue Bichat in the 10th. The decor in both outlets leaves a lot to be desired. The staff couldn't be nicer.

              I really like the ersatz meat made with tofu here, but they have a lot of non faux meat dishes too - salads, soups, stir-fries. Saying that, the "sushi" (this is one restaurant where the inverted commas that surround the names of the dishes are entirely justified) are very good. Very fresh.

              1. Not in the 10th, and perhaps not what you're looking for, but I've enjoyed eating at Au Coin Des Gourmets (Rue Dante) in the 5th. Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian foods.
                For Chinese, there's a place-- actually, some places-- on Rue Volta (3rd). I wish I could remember the names of the place I ate, sorry.

                1 Reply
                1. If you simply want to titillate your taste buds with superior Asian nosh, Lao Viet suggested by other posters is just fine. If you have other senses, it might not be so pleasing. The immediate neighbourhood is so starkly new and redeveloped that I get instant depression just driving through it. If you have a fuzzy moment, you could quite easily think that you are in some Commie-era housing complex in East Berlin. So, I suspect, not really a good choice for visitors in love with an older, less re-done, and more charming Paris.

                  If the “Asian change of pace” doesn’t necessarily mean Chinese or Viet: the little Thai epicerie/ traiteur on the ultra-charming rue Dupetit-Thouars (between between the place de la Republique and the Square du Temple in the hyper-trendy Haut Marais) does an excellent Thai tapas/ dégustation for lunch and in the evening. And cheap!

                  And Japanese, not Chinese is done so well in Paris. Although maybe a little too “in” to be fully appreciated by hard-core foodies, Nanashi (two restos, one on the rue du Paradis in the 10th and the other on the rue Charlot in the 3rd) is a delight when you crave a light touch. I also like a bento box from Petit Usagi on the quai Jemmapes/ Canal Saint Martin.

                  If a change of pace doesn’t necessarily mean Asian, those little hole-in-the-wall Turkish/ Kurdish places on the rue du Faubourg Saint Denis between the porte and Chateau d’Eau are a great bargain and surprisingly good quality.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Parnassien

                    Do you know the name of the petit Thai epiciere you mention?

                    1. re: comiendosiempre

                      Ya Lanai... towards the rue du Temple end of the rue Dupetit-Thouars

                    2. re: Parnassien

                      There is most definitely some exaggeration here.

                      1. re: Ptipois

                        Of course there is some exaggeration... but the point is that Paris is the belle of the ball here ... diverting visitors to the sort of redeveloped neighbourhood that could be found in Berlin, Houston, Singapore, or Manchester is maybe not the best advice.

                        1. re: Parnassien

                          At the core of chowhounding, there is the search for great food regardless of the scenic quality of the surroundings and, if necessary, off the beaten track — or did I miss something and could I have hit another discussion board by mistake? Or maybe you're the one who did?

                          Saying there was exaggeration in your description was being polite, and I meant to stay at that. But now that your direct attack has allowed me to be entirely frank, I will plainly say that what you did was gross misinformation. From the beginning I mentioned this about Lao Viet:

                          " It is a bit out in the sticks, lost on the boulevard Massena with urban demolition/renovation a few inches away... Now it has a "last house on the cliff" feeling but it's still going strong."

                          Which is a fair description of the scene. Not particularly attractive, probably not cute enough for you (sort of makes sense for someone who thinks a walk on rue Richer is "dreary"), but not horrid either, and very far from being as scary and dreary as you're presenting it. I am quite sure that people who really like to search for good food will gladly go to places that look and feel much worse than the boulevard Massena to find gems. Anyway such horrors as you put into your rhetoric never ever came to my mind when I walked the short distance between either the rue de Patay or the Porte d'Ivry and Lao Viet, and I've been going there for years. The comparison to the "Commie (sic)-era housing complex in East Berlin" was particularly unpleasant as well as being unfair.

                          So, whatever you'll have to say about that, I recommend Lao Viet for anyone who is really interested in great Lao food in Paris, and I am confident that no one will have nightmares from the expedition.

                          1. re: Ptipois

                            (bowing head) if it's just a matter of taste buds, you are absolutely right and i apologize for being insensitive
                            if it's a matter of taste buds + the flavour of Paris, i'm right.

                            Isn't it lovely when both of us are right?

                                1. re: Ptipois

                                  Ptipois - interesting argument to use about Paris Asian restaurants, do you really think any are in the class that really justifies a journey into the burbs for a visitor to search out? My experience of Parisian asian was so disappointing that I gave up trying and focussed on what Paris does best. IMO if you want to the change of pace don't worry about searching for the best Asian in Paris because it will generally disappoint compared to many other world cities (esp for New Yorkers). I believe it is better advice to say that the best change of pace is going to be achieved by heading for North African food which can be quite good. If you want to follow the spirit of Chow I suspect North African is where you will find the most authenticity in hidden kitchens in the burbs - that would be true Chowhounding rather than a visit to Paris fairly mediocre/pedestrian China Town

                                  1. re: PhilD

                                    There are good "Asian" restaurants in Paris (Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian) but you don't need to go to the 'burbs to find them. Most of the Asian communities are within the city limits, though I hear there are Chinese communities in Vitry and Ivry, and some Wenzhou around Aubervilliers.
                                    I do not believe the Paris Chinatowns (there are at least three) are mediocre or pedestrian, but they require a little exploration and having some time on your hands.

                                    There is good North African food also, and although there's plenty of it to be found in the suburbs, technically you don't need to get out of Paris to find it. However I would recommend the 93 (Saint-Denis, Le Pré-Saint-Gervais, Aubervilliers) for excellent North African, African, Caribbean and Chinese food shopping. Some of the best Tunisian pastry in the region can be purchased from local boulangers at Quatre-Chemins (métro line 7). I am not sure the best food is to be found in "hidden" kitchens. The kitchens are not hidden at all, the restaurants are there for everybody to experience. There's a little of everything, from the very basic frites, couscous and sandwich shops to more elaborate restaurants where occasional wedding feasts are held. There are myriads of those places, testing them would be a herculean job, but I am sure there are gems to be discovered.

                          2. I realize this is probably too late for the OP, but here's my two cents:

                            Deux Fois Plus de Piment, 33 rue Saint Sebastien (11th), 01 58 30 99 35

                            Visited a couple of months ago and didn't take notes, but remember very good cold noodles (dan dan?), cold sliced pork belly with cucumber, broccoli with garlic sauce, a wonderfully spicy fish "soup" (the kind of Sichuan hot pot that's called a soup but you don't actually eat most of the broth; there are several variations on the menu)...

                            Some important caveats:

                            - I have zero experience of other Paris Asian places. Just happened upon this one, found a couple of favourable online write-ups, and gave it a whirl. It stacks up well against the better Sichuan places in Montreal, but can't say about Paris.

                            - If you are not Chinese and you want your food really, really spicy be sure to emphasize that you want it that way, as some reports suggest they tone it down for non-Chinese customers. (Indeed, we had a very spicy meal but it was light on Sichuan peppercorn -- maybe they were holding out on us, too.)

                            - It's small (maybe 25 seats?), busy and not off-the-radar despite lack of Chowhound mentions. Definitely reserve, though I doubt it's necessary to call more than a day ahead.

                            - Cash only. About 15-20 euros/per person if you're a glutton -- you could certainly eat well for less.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Mr F

                              "not off-the-radar despite lack of Chowhound mentions"

                              The restaurant, whose Chinese name 绝代双椒 is a very funny pun on piment rouge, is not unknown to chowhounds. Well, it is not unknown to you and me. C'est déjà ça.
                              It is indeed a quite authentic Sichuan restaurant.
                              I did not include it in my recommendations for two reasons: 1. I don't recomend something I have not visited within the year. 2. When I was there last, with my unfortunate Chinese face, I was given the honorable dose of piment rouge, which put me on fire ! Mao said that if you don't eat spicy you can't make revolution. Count me out.
                              Besides, there are two authentic Sichuan restos much nearer home for me: L'Orient d'Or and the new one in Chatelet...

                              1. re: Parigi

                                And I hesitated to post because I have no sense of the local alternatives. In a bubble, it's just fine, but for all I know there are several better options.

                                Of course I don't mean lack of mentions to mean unknown to chowhounds. It just seems that this site is (as of this moment) the last place one would go for information on this particular spot.

                                As for the excessive piment problem, I suppose one could always ask them to go easy...

                                1. re: Mr F

                                  "As for the excessive piment problem"

                                  It only means you are revolutionary material, and, well, I'm a wimp. :-)
                                  What I mean is that the problem is not you, it's I. The resto's signature dish - red pepper chicken 辣子雞 - would be lackluster without the red pepper. It is meant to be served, and eaten, spicy.

                                  Please don't hesitate to post. It was great to mention this out-of-the-way find.

                                  1. re: Parigi

                                    Well, that was my only remotely obscure find and we've been home from Paris for over a month, so there won't be any more for a while.

                                    I understand what you mean about the heat. Many such dishes really don't work very well when toned down, but some do.

                                    We didn't have the chicken dish you mention but I've had similar elsewhere, and in that case I agree it ought to be blazing hot. On the other hand, I imagine a palate less accustomed to serious heat could still find a lot of pleasure if the noodles weren't made ultra-spicy, for example.

                                    1. re: Mr F

                                      hi everyone, i know this is an old thread but i'm in paris with my girlfriend (about to propose) and we had a fabulous first day so far! my girlfriend needs a break from french food and i'm debating between Lao Viet versus Lao-Lane Xang. Any advice would be much appreciated!

                                      1. re: arnage

                                        I've never been to Lao-Viet but quite enjoy my meals at Lao-Lane Xang. The Thai menu is not great, and I remember particularly being disappointed with a sugary, insipid pad thai. What I really liked was a Laotian curried fish noodle (Khao Pun Nam Pa) that reminded me of Singapore Laksa.

                                        1. re: xigua

                                          yes, Lao-Lane Xang (and gringier sister restaurant Rouammit) are excellent for Isaan/Lao, but the central Thai dishes are average at best...but i love their somdam so Rouammit is one of my favorite Asian places in Paris...