Delicious Authentic Vietnamese Food….
March 11, 2011
Last night, we ventured with 15 good friends to Kim Long Asian Cuisine where the owners prepared a feast for us. And a feast it was. Kim Long is a relative newcomer (5 months) to the Duke City’s expanding Vietnamese restaurant scene, currently encompassing 26 Urbanspoon listings. In order to rise above the crowd, a place must offer unique dishes that are well and beautifully prepared, and must offer exemplary service.
Kim Long does all of this. And more.
Our menu for this feast was:
☻Bánh Bèo Chén: Bloating Fern-shaped Cake with Ground Pork and Shrimp. Bánh bèo (literally “water fern cake”) is a variety of small steamed rice cake or rice pancake in Vietnamese cuisine. It is white in color and typically features a dimple in the center, which is filled with savory ingredients including chopped dried or fresh shrimp, scallions, mung bean paste, crispy fried shallots, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and oil. It is considered most typical of the cuisine of Huế, the ancient royal capital located in the center of Vietnam. Served here with fish sauce and red chili paste, this dish is outstanding. I have never seen it anywhere in my travels, and highly recommend it.
☻Chả giò: Egg rolls. Delicately crisp egg rolls are superior here. Wrap them in lettuce leaves with cilantro and douse (or dunk) them in fish sauce. Excellent version here.
☻Mì / Hủ Tiếu Xào Mềm Thập Cẩm: Stir Fried Egg Noodle / Rice Noodle with Beef, Chicken, Pork, Seafood, Cabbage, Carrot, Mushroom. Incredibly flavorful version of a standard dish. Wonderful and fresh ingredients.
☻Cơm Chiên Tôm, Gà: Fried Rice served with Shrimp and Chicken.Another standard, excellently done. In particular, the shrimp was cooked correctly — tender and delicious.
☻Cơm Tấm Thịt Nướng, Tôm Nướng, Trứng: Broken Rice served with Grilled Pork, Shrimp and Egg. This dish was the masterpiece of the evening. The grilled pork (covered with a wonderfully spiced brown sauce) and grilled shrimp both had that hard-to-achieve subtle smokiness. The yellow of the fried egg (over easy and still runny) should be mixed with the perfectly cooked rice. This dish is an unbelievable taste treat.
Kim Long Asian Cuisine is a family-owned and family-run restaurant. Two brothers and their charming sister were our delightful servers. The youngest brother, Quoc Luu, excitedly explained all the dishes to me. He then proudly explained how their version of my favorite Vietnamese dish (Phở Tái, Nạm) is made and served there.
On Quoc’s recommendation, I will return for that Phở Tái, Nạm and Bột Chiên Trứng — Fried Flour Cake with Egg, Green Onion. He told me that the latter will knock my socks off. I Really hope so.
Note: I returned with my Taos gastronome friends Sally and Andy to show off this place. They agreed that Kim Long is among the very best Asian restaurants they have ever encountered. Adds to my cred. We shared the Phở Tái, Nạm and Bột Chiên Trứng, and Quoc was right. They knocked my socks off.
Kim Long Asian Cuisine