Liza’s post last week about her Vietnamese salad made my mouth water (check it out here). But, considering my life is at swim team practice, golf practice, camp etc., let’s just say the cupboard was bare and we didn’t have any good cabbage in the fridge to make her salad from scratch.  I had a free lunch opening and jumped on it, taking my favorite foodie, my daughter Molly, to our favorite Vietnamese restaurant, The Vietnam Kitchen. Their cold noodle salad is a heavenly summer lunch.

Molly is delighted (a) because she is without siblings and (b) she is at her favorite restaurant.

Located in the Iroquois Manor shopping center, near Valumarket, it is so nondescript you might not notice it is there.  The neon sign they have in the window does help you find your way.

That yellow post-it note sign is the only indicator that there is a 4 star restaurant here.

 

I have been eating here for 14 years.  Nothing much has changed decor-wise in 14 years but the food is outstanding and cheap.  That being said, I usually get the same thing but love to ogle at all the treats the other patrons are ordering.  The table next to me had the best looking lunch I have ever seen.  Definitely off the menu too.  I asked them what they were having and none of them spoke English so the chef ran out and said “SOUP!”.

 

Pho-Rice noodle soup with Beef. Served with onion, bean sprouts, sweet basil and lime.

 

So my advice is be visual about the food, not so much about the decor. Work your way through the menu (pictures don’t get lost in translation), which is challenging because everything looks so good.  I usually do a combination of pointing to pictures and pointing to other table’s food.

Vietnamese Menu for Dummies

Appetizer special changed daily-if anyone can tell me what a “Wild Betal Leaf” is you win a prize.

 

My order was A4 for my appetizer and J5 for my entree.

 

A4: Two steamed rice paper rolls filled with lettuce, bean sprouts, vermicelli and shrimp served with peanut sauce.

This is always my starter.  Molly likes to eat the spring rolls with lots of sauce and then drink the remainder sauce straight from the bowl.  I’m not joking.

For our entree, we had the splendid J5.

 

J5: Bun: Charbroiled chicken and shrimp with an vermicelli noodles, egg roll (cut up), lemon grass, cucumber, lettuce, bean sprout, mint and peanuts.

Molly gave up on the chopsticks and moved to the fork. She would later drink that peanut sauce in front of her.

This is the heavenly cold noodle salad with hot chicken and shrimp on the top, garnished with a cut-up egg roll.  Served with a rice wine vinegar salad dressing.  Confusingly, this salad is best eaten with chopsticks and it’s a mess.

We did not delve into the Lazy Susan of sauces next to us.  My husband delights in using a little bit of every sauce on his meal.  Don’t mind the random Valentine’s Day Hallmark stuffed bear next to the Fish Sauce.

 

Nothing says “I Love You” like a wheel of sauces

When we leave at 2pm, the restaurant is still packed.  When we arrived, there was a wait and people are not above eating “family-style” with strangers at a bigger table to hasten the process.

Here is the reason why there was a wait, and usually a wait at night as well:

 

Just a smattering of their many awards lining the walls.

Modestly placed along the wall are awards from dating back at least 10 years, coupled with framed rave review after rave review from various newspapers.

Vietnam Kitchen is located in the Iroquois Manor Shopping Center.  They are open every day BUT Wednesdays.  I would tell you more how to get there, but it would be easier just to google it!  They also do takeout; call 363-7535.