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Served with Pho: jalapeno, lime, bean sprout, Thai basil

If you’re ever in Orlando and happen to be craving some ethnic fare, you must give Little Saigon a try. On the outside, the place looks a little shabby, as do most of the restaurants lining Colonial Street’s mini china-town. But this isn’t your typical Japanese Sushi Bar or Dragon Hut Chinese Buffet. This is fresh Vietnamese cuisine cooked with far less oils than what you would otherwise find in common Chinese take out. One popular dish you may be familiar with is Pho, also known as a Vietnamese noodle soup made with seafood, chicken or beef, and served with Thai basil, cilantro, scallion, lime and bean sprouts. This uncomplicated soup is SO satisfying. A simple broth with some noodles and shrimp creates a hearty and flavorful base, and the fresh herbs, jalapenos and squeeze of lime adds a nice kick to really freshen up the soup. It’s a wonderful combination.

This soup without the meats would be great for soothing an upset stomach

If you’re in the mood for something a little more heavy, they also offer rice or noodle dishes topped with your choice of fresh meats and veggies. And I can’t leave out the divine thai peanut sauce served with the veggie summer rolls. They may be plain-looking,  but these rice noodle, basil and bean sprout filled rolls are complemented perfectly with the slightly spicy and oh so savory peanut sauce. 

Texture is big with these dishes and I think that’s also why I enjoy them so much. The supple yet slightly chewy shrimp with crunchy bean sprouts and scallion are tied together with a savory liquid broth. The chopped peanuts atop the smooth peanut sauce add a nice crunch, as do the bean sprouts in the soft summer rolls. Varying the textures in dishes makes them more palatable. Texture is sexy. 

I have no complaints about the service. I’ve been here several times and I’ve never had issues with seating and my order always arrives more quickly than anticipated. Although the staff is friendly, they’re not ones to make small talk so if you enjoy “getting to know your server,” this isn’t the place for that. Their goals are to  serve you what you would like to eat, and send you on your happy way with a belly full of goodness. 

If you’ve never given Vietnamese cuisine a chance, I highly recommend you venture out of your comfort zone and give it a try; specifically give a Pho dish a try. 
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