Early Lunch at Miss SaiGon

Today, my mom and I decided to do some shopping in San Francisco. Before hitting the shops, though, we thought it best to arm ourselves with lots of energy (food). We decided to try Miss SaiGon (my mom had read good things about it).

I don’t pretend to know what authentic Vietnamese food is (since I’ve never been to Vietnam, and I figure the best stuff is there), but I have eaten my fair share of pho and fried rolls since I was in elementary school (there used to be a really good place in Oakland Chinatown with really good fried cha gio but the owner went back to Vietnam and that was the end of that) and have further developed my Vietnamese palate thanks to my Vietnamese friend/mentor and her parents in France and their wonderful cuisine that they fed me with every Wednesday last year. Anyway, my point is while I might not know what is authentic per se, I do know what my tummy and food senses like.

And I very much liked Miss SaiGon.

While their pho was good (although not the best) their imperial cha gio (fried egg rolls with shrimp and crab, in fried rice paper wrapping, which is more delicious than the regular fried roll wrapping) were fantastic! I didn’t love that they cost 7 dollars, but my mom and I thought they were worth it. It is hard to find places that do cha gio with the rice paper wrapping so any place that has it automatically gets brownie points in my eyes. Also it tasted delicious. Definitely the best cha gio I’ve had in the states in a long time! It was also accompanied by mint leaves which reminded me of the way Vietnamese restaurants were in Paris. So that was another plus. My mom didn’t love her sandwich (banh mi), but it wasn’t like it was bad or anything. It should be noted that this place is probably about 1 or 2 dollars more expensive than the normal Vietnamese pho place. Seeing that I have only been here once I can’t say if the rest of the menu is worth it, but I would say that while a tad overpriced, the food is good. The service was also good (but we also went before the lunch rush, so that might be a factor).

We both loved the dessert, che khoai mon, which is a sweet soup with glutinous rice, coconut milk, taro and other things (like mango and sugar but also things I couldn’t identify). We were expecting a small bowl, but were greeted by a very large bowl that could have easily satisfied four people (but we ate it all…)! This is very similar to my favorite Vietnamese dessert I had in Paris at Pho Mui (probably my favorite pho place ever, so if you’re ever in the city of lights, please go. they have the most wonderful servers, the most wonderful customers and really the most wonderful pho and food in general). I prefer tapioca in this dessert, but the rice was just fine!

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