Category: Vietnamese (page 1 of 2)

My Number At Quang Restaurant Is 502

For 1.5 beautiful months, we could order Quang delivery via Amazon Prime Restaurants.

We don’t even live near Quang.

Quang is a Vietnamese restaurant located along Eat Street between Uptown and downtown Minneapolis. It’s not just a restaurant, it’s institution.

There are many great Vietnamese restaurants in the Twin Cities. Quang has longevity (operating since 1989) and happens to be one of the first places I ever tried Vietnamese food. When I was a new college grad, friends introduced me to pho and spring rolls at Quang and Pho 79 and I’ve returned ever since.

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Trung Nam French Bakery: Croissants and Banh Mi

Saturday morning Trung Nam runs are becoming my new thing.

Trung Nam is a Vietnamese and French bakery located along University Avenue in the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul. The owners have been serving french bread and croissants since 1989.

Although I remembered Heavy Table visiting Trung Nam in one of their Green Line Checklist chapters, what really pushed me to visit for the first time was learning they also serve banh mi sandwiches in the morning. Not only can you buy almost any flavor of croissant, but also a pork banh mi, too, all starting at 8 o’clock in the morning.

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This Is Our Favorite Dish In St. Louis

We love Mai Lee. It’s no secret. I try to remember to tell Mai Lee I love her about once a month.

Every dish we’ve tried tastes really, really good. Raw vegetables look and taste pristine and vegetables are cooked perfectly tender-crisp. The pho’s flavorful; Jake prefers #9 with the shaved beef, but I prefer #1, Hu Tieu, a lighter soup filled with crab sticks, shrimp, and barbecued pork. To each his or her own. If you can’t find something you like here, we can’t be friends.

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Mai Lee: Why We Can’t Stop Talking About The House Special Soup

We live near Mai Lee and keep coming back. Even if we didn’t live as close, we’d still return.

I turned 31 in Ohio so Jake and I celebrated an early birthday dinner at Mai Lee. The atmosphere is elegant and the service is polished and graceful in a manner that reminds us of dining at Meritage (one of our favorite Twin Cities restaurants).

The soup here is really fantastic.

Of course, there’s pho. Our typical order at Vietnamese restaurants is the pho to which the restaurant adds thin slices of raw beef that instantly cooks in the hot broth. The pho broth here is spicy. Not “hot,” but strongly spiced and aromatic. Jake loved it. I found myself gravitating thoward the Hu Tieu My Tho, a clear soup loaded with BBQ pork slices, crab sticks and shrimp. At some restaurants I’ve found the BBQ pork in my soup to be dry. Here, the slices were thick and succulent.

What really captivated us was the House Special Soup Mai Lee includes in their Vietnamese Dinner for Two ($35.95). All night, we couldn’t stop talking about this soup.

House Soup

The broth had a savory, rich, shrimp flavor; not a “seafoody” flavor, but like someone had taken the time to build a broth with shrimp shells and care. It was also packed to the gills with slices of chicken, tender-crisp vegetables, shrimp, and fried shallots. And how could we forget the baby corn! Usually we hate the jaundiced, tinny little ears we find in Chinese take-out. But this baby corn actually tasted like corn and we wanted to eat it.

The rest of the meal was delicious, too. In addition to the spring rolls and house special soup, the meal came with ginger chicken, beef stir-fry coated in the lightest lemon sauce, and Vietnamese style fried rice. We were especially impressed with the freshness and quantity of the vegetables.

Mai Lee Birthday Meal

The rest of Mai Lee’s menu is huge and includes more adventurous choices such as caramelized fish and roasted quail, plus an entire Chinese menu. I was thrilled to see banh xeo listed in the appetizers. This is a dish I haven’t encountered since I visited a friend in Seattle. These crispy rice flour pancakes filled with shrimp, pork and greens are at the top of my to-order list.

On other visits, we tried a few varieties of banh mi sandwiches. The meatballs in the banh mi, below, are served warm in a tangy tomato sauce. We ate the chicken salad banh mi before I could take a photo. The creamy chicken salad has a special flavor that makes it taste different than any other I’ve tried. It’s my favorite.

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We love that nothing here seems to be an afterthought.

Mai Lee Vietnamese & Chinese Restaurant
8396 Music Memorial Drive, Brentwood, MO
314-645-2835
*Free parking in the garage next door. 

Wordless Wednesday: My Connection With Seattle & A Cooking Class

I felt connected with Seattle, WA during my senior year of college when a group of us spent a week volunteering with Rosehedge/Multifaith Works), a nonprofit who provided support and housing to individuals with life-threatening illnesses. Unfortunately, it seems they are in the process of closing after 25 years. 
The staff graciously hosted us and we’ll never forget our experiences. 
I have since returned to Seattle many times to visit good friends. This photo depicts the pho and Banh Xeo crepes we made in Pranee’s day-long cooking class in 2009. After we visited an Asian Market, we prepared a four-course Vietnamese meal from scratch. 
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