Vietnamese Cuisine

Artistic plating, scintillating flavors, inspired creativity and ingenuity are hallmarks of Vietnamese cuisine which has taken the Duke City by storm.  Jim Millington, a long-time friend of this blog, contends that “there must be a bad Vietnamese restaurant somewhere on this wide earth but I have never found it.”  Frankly, I haven’t either with most Vietnamese restaurants ranging from very good to outstanding.  Here are my very favorite Vietnamese dishes–not counting soups which are represented on my list of favorite soups.  By clicking on the name of the restaurant for which you wish to know my opinion, you will be magically transported directly to my review of that restaurant.

Catfish in Ginger Sauce Cafe Da Lat (Albuquerque)
A whole catfish which is perfectly prepared–crispy on the outside and lovingly tender on the inside–topped with a slightly piquant but mostly sweet ginger sauce the color of Day-Glo.  It’s my Lenten seafood favorite.
 Egg Rolls
SaiGon (Albuquerque) The very best egg rolls in New Mexico, by far!  They explode with the flavor of perfectly seasoned ground pork and vegetables encased in a crispy, deep-fried yellow wrapper.  These are a must have!  Two orders are advisable.
Grilled Onion Beef Saigon (Albuquerque) Cigar-shaped “beef rolls” encasing slightly caramelized grilled white onions then topped with ground peanuts and diced green onion make this a carnivore’s delight and one of the very best beef-based entrees anywhere.
Seven Courses of Beef
Pho #1 (Albuquerque) Beef: It’s what’s for dinner…and Pho #1 serves it seven unique and delicious ways.  This is adventure eating with all the deliciousness of a gourmet meal.  Seven will become your lucky number if you order this meal.
Stuffed Grape Leaves Viet Taste (Albuquerque) If you thought stuffed grape leaves were exclusive to Greek dining, you’ll love Viet Taste’s version which features anise, lemon grass and cinnamon blessed grilled beef encased is a small, tightly wrapped, cigar shaped grape leaf and served with Nuoc Mam, the incomparable fish sauce.
Special clay pot rice with grilled chicken  SaiGon (Rio Rancho) As you eat, the clay pot remains piping hot throughout your meal which allows the slightly smoky sauce of chicken simmered and slightly caramelized on the pot to waft invitingly for the duration of your meal. 


7 thoughts on “Vietnamese Cuisine

  1. Gil,

    For many years I ate the absolute best egg foo yung at Pho Nguyen near Menaul and Pennsylvania. Years ago we moved to the North Valley, and our visits became less frequent. I recently found they closed. Vietnamese egg foo yung- at least theirs- was divine- and so very different from the greasy sponge in brown gravy I had been accustomed to. This was served with a clear, sweet/sour/salty sauce.

    I have searched for this dish endlessly since finding Pho Nguyen closed. Do you have any recommendations for my search?

    1. Hi Morgan

      The owner of Pho Nguyen (I believe) was related to James Nguyen who owns Cafe Dalat on Central just east of San Mateo, but Cafe Dalat doesn’t appear to offer egg foo yung on its menu. There are forty or more Vietnamese restaurants in the Albuquerque area. One (or more) is bound to offer the dish you crave. Readers of Gil’s Thrilling, now is the time to come to the aid of another gastronome.”

      I look forward to reading your musings on your new blog.


  2. Gil, I’ll always be in your debt for introducing me to Times Square Deli, but i have to ask–why have you never reviewed Banh Mi Coda?

      1. Hello,
        It has been a long time, I hope all is well.

        FYI- Saigon Far East has moved and is now called Saigon City.

        New location: 4320 The 25 Way NE 87109.
        Work phone- 505 255-7408.
        Mon-Sat: 11:00-9:00
        Sun: 11:00-8:00
        Wed: CLOSED

        Take care and God bless you, Carlos

        1. Hi Carlos

          We visited Saigon City on Saturday and found it fabulous–the same great food as Saigon Far East, but in a much, much better location.

          So, what were your impressions when you visited Saigon City? Please let us know what dishes you recommend.



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