I was visiting a friend in Bayside when we decided to order food from Saigon Asian Cuisine. I’d eaten here before with a different friend and had not been impressed by their phô (beef noodle soup). They make their Vietnamese iced coffee in batches and just pour it from a pitcher. As a side note, WTF is up with this trend?? I want the individual filter dripping the lifeblood that is strong chicory coffee into my little coffee cup, not that pre-made crap!
Ahem. As I was saying, I’d eaten here before and despite my apathy, I wanted to give Saigon AC another chance. I ordered the Trio Combo Rice Vermicelli Salad Bowl #51, which includes grilled pork, shredded pork, and fried spring rolls while my friend ordered the phô (I think she got the kind with everything in it).
As expected, the phô was nothing spectacular. It was missing that deep rich flavor that can only come from hours of simmering beef stock. I also think this place cheaps out on the necessary spices for a full-flavored broth; there was not a hint of star anise, cinnamon, fennel, or coriander in the broth. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the phô. It looks a lot better than it tastes.
My vermicelli salad was actually pretty good. On the left are the veg components (shredded romaine lettuce, pickled daikon radish and carrots, and underneath was a pile of mung bean sprouts. Served with this giant meal was a cup of vinaigrette made with fish sauce, rice vinegar, and a bit of sugar. There’s probably something else in there but I can’t recall at the moment. I was surprised by the spring rolls; they were still crisp. Did I mention this was a delivery order and that it took only 35 minutes?
The grilled pork was slightly sweet, nicely charred, and while not achingly tender, it was tender enough not to require endless sawing with a knife. Very tasty.
Closeup of the shredded pork
It’s important to note that despite its name, this is not a Vietnamese restaurant; it’s a pan-Asian place that focuses mostly on Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai cuisines. I would not come here for their phô but their vermicelli noodle salad is solid, tasty, and incredibly filling.
Saigon Asian Cuisine
61-42 Springfield Blvd
Bayside, NY 11364