On top of trying to figure out Oregon’s weather and getting my ass a job, I’ve carried on with eating and drinking and tweeting and talking and repeating. In fact, I was very lucky this past week when I was afforded two trips to a restaurant that has rapidly climbed my list of favorite Vietnamese places.
Hanoi Kitchen is awesome. The food tastes good, it’s cheap, and they take ultimate pride in preparing their family’s secret recipes for all to enjoy. Living in the Pearl, there are few Vietnamese places to invade, one being Silk – an overly priced, moderately flavored hot spot that usually leaves me wanting more (from somewhere else). No finger pointing though! It’s not bad food, just out of my price range and flavor desires, despite the convenient location.
Anywho… Here’s what we gobbled down at Hanoi Kitchen y’all. In two trips I ate my weight in broth gold! The first trip was fueled by hunger and directed by yelp! reviews. See, my favorite pho establishment is Got Pho on 33d and Sandy because my roommate, an authentic vietnamese guy, put his seal of approval on it and the rest was noodle-loving history! But I never get over there since I have to keep my “pearl elitist” image up and stay on this side of the river whilst traveling to food on foot! Then last Sunday I decided to spoil myself and drive to get food. So, with the goal of getting Got Pho in mind, we loaded up the car and crossed the Williamette. Then, my co-food-conspirator decided to look up reviews, and we landed at Hanoi instead (a good call).
We got the standard goi cuon salad rolls to start (had to have something to tie us over since our stomachs were eating themselves). The rolls were good, simple, fresh and traditional but, that is not where the glory of Hanoi shines through. The deliciousness is in the broths and house specialities <– so, basically like a Vietnamese restaurant should be. After killing the rolls in a pool of peanut sauce and sriracha, we gobled them down and ordered humongous bowls of soup.
First up was the bun rieu cha ca chan gio – or better known as: rice vermicelli beef and lemongrass noodle soup with tomatoes, fish patties and pork shank. It’s the picture of rich reddish colored broth, loaded with herbs. On the side, unlike regular pho, was a pile of herbs, lime, jalapenos, lettuces and shredded banana plant parts. All things combined was a match made in heaven.
I ordered the soup with all the things. In an attempt to venture past my comfort zone and rip through some interesting ingredients, I got hu tieu mi thap, which should translate to “soup tout le monde.” Stuff included: rice noodle soup, beef broth, BBQ pork, fatty ground pork, shredded pork, shrimp, imitation crab, liver, squid and shrimp balls. PHEW! And, if that weren’t enough… let’s put an egg on it! Damn tasty, those little quail juevos. I’m 37% sure my picture does this dish no justice, but you can imagine it was an adventurous lunch!
The next adventure over the river brought with it a dark cloud of hung-over-ness.
Food. Stat. Go.
As you probably know, bodies crave grease when recovering from cocktail hour. So our first few dishes were delightfuly fried numbers. We couldn’t say no to the goi cuon (so fresh and so good-good) but then we stacked up our first round of food with cha gio which are fried eggrolls jam packed with shrimp, pig and plants and canh ga chien nuoc mam - pleasurably sweet chicken wings. Chugged that down with hot-ass tea, and we wait for our ridiculously big portions of soup!
I was feeling much less adventurous, so I ordered the hu tieu, a beef noodle soup with BBQ and shredded pork. It was simple, comforting and perfect for my hangover nursing process.
My ridiculously dapper lunch date ordered a similar version of soup, but they tossed in shrimps and imitation crab on his broth.
We laughed, made inappropriate jokes, poured our hearts out, poured our sriracha on and sucked down those puddles and piles of food in no time at all. I will definitely be back to enjoy more creations of Hanoi Kitchen including their “famous” crepes. Apparently, the Vietnamese kids think they are all the rage – made of a big ass rice noodle, folded over favorite goodies like pork, shrimp and beef they are delightfully filling as a meal or appetizer.
Moral of the story? There isn’t one. Just go eat this stuff.