Mekong Vietnamese, Greenville, SC
Don't know how "authentic" this place is given the complete dearth of Asian beers, chopsticks, and Vietnamese accents in evidence. But I don't care. It is hands-down the best Asian food in the upstate, even rivalling some of the places I've been to on Atlanta's famed Buford Highway. We sampled the steamed pork and duck buns as apps and a grilled pork noodle dish (also called "Bun" just to make things confusing for us white folk) as well as a beefy Pho with all the trimmings. All uniformly excellent and flavorful. Excellent service by what I'm guessing are third generation Vietnamese-American kids (again, not a trace of accent). And though the atmosphere in this former fast food joint is a bit sterile, it is also immaculately neat and clean. I want a Bahn Mi...NOW!
P.S. Big up to Upstate Hound Danna for turning me on to this place.
Oh, I'm just thrilled you liked it! It's always a bit nerve wracking recommending a place that cooks a cuisine you're not totally familiar with. I can't speak for authenticity either, but I can tell you the lady who does my nails occasionally, and who has a PLENTY thick accent tells me her kid works there. She was very proud of the place, and the fact that they hire Wade Hampton high school kids so their local customers can understand their waiter!
Well then I need to thank you too. I was in Greenville visiting the in-laws for the Superbowl and had just read what you wrote about Mekong and we gave it a try for lunch. I had the Pork w/ Vermicelli and my partner had the Pho and we were both really pleased. It wasn't as good as my favorite Vietnamese place in Manhattan, but it was heads and tails above most anything else I've had in North or South Carolina. We spent a good amount of time trying to figure out what sort of fast-food restaurant it had been in its previous life. Anyone know the answer to that? It looks like they grow their own herbs in buckets in the back of the restaurant which strikes me as a good sign of quality control (not to mention cost savings.) The prices were very good and I am also hoping to return to try the Bahn Mi.
I eat here 1-2/week. Ate there yesterday actually. It's very authentic. The chef is a great guy who was born in Vietnam but been here since he was a child. He is a trained chef who also learned alot from his mother (as many good cooks do!). It's a wonderful place and proof you don't need to be a fancy and overpriced place downtown to be excellent. Glad you liked it!
We always ask for chopsticks. And he is growing ghost peppers!