posted on June 8, 2011 at 10:46 am
I’ve never really understood how Vietnamese could be anyone’s favorite Asian cuisine. Sure, I always loved the standards — cha gio (fried spring rolls), bun, pho and green papaya salad — but, given the choice, I’d rather eat Korean or Japanese. That all changed the minute I experienced the expertly prepared wonders featured on Nam Phuong’s enormous 12-page menu. Beyond the nuoc cham (fish sauce-based dipping sauce), are more specialties and textures than I could have imagined. The only downside was the Norcross location, so you can imagine my recent excitement when I learned that another Nam Phuong was opening on Buford Highway.
After several stalkerish drive-bys, I found that the second Nam Phuong Restaurant (4051 Buford Highway, 404-633-2400. www.namphuongatlanta.com) had opened just across the street from Fiesta Plaza, smack-dab in the middle of Buford Highway’s unofficial Little Vietnam. The new, impeccably clean location greets you with a shiny new sign, leather-bound menus, and servers who operate with the same sense of professionalism and pride as the original — the mark of owners Tieng and David Nguyen’s extreme attention to detail.
And I’m happy to report that the food is even better here. After years of many sad cha gio, I’ve finally found a version worthy of the indulgence. Instead of being tough and greasy, these spring rolls are light and flaky with juicy ground-pork interiors. Within the menu’s “street food” section are specialties not often found in our many pho parlors, including immense crepes (banh xeo) made with rice flour, water and turmeric powder, then fried and filled with shrimp, slices of roast pork and mounds of bean sprouts.
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