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Hyunh Gia Vietnamese Restaurant

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#1 ExtraMSG

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:14 PM

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I've been an idiot, not much better than the sheep I complain about going to the same restaurants over and over not willing to try something new.  I've been passing Saigon Pearl and Simply Vietnamese for nearly a year, unwilling to waste a meal on them.  Same for Huynh Gia.  And it's been my loss because all three have some damn tasty food on offer. 

 

Finally tried Huynh Gia.  It's in the same little strip center as Good Taste and My Brother's Crawfish, the former Ngoc Han Bun Bo Hue space, just off 82nd north of Division.  I guess the best I can say about myself is that I didn't want to be disappointed in my dearly departed NHBBH's space.

 

Menu isn't that unusual at first glance.  It's heavy on soups, a page devoted to pho, a half-page to hu tieu,  It's got bun and com dishes, of course.  It does have an interesting section called "Ailment Entrees" that has stuff like salt and pepper squid, but also deep fried pork leg (gio heo chien gion), goat rib three ways (grilled, steamed, or stir-fried in curry), and duck blood pudding (tiet canh viet, needs 2 hours advance and only available during the day).  Also corn with dried shrimp and butter (bap xao tom kho) and tamarind cured beef salad (bo tai me).

 

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I just had bun mam at both Saigon Pearl and Pho Oregon, so I decided to go with that for ease of comparison.  (Also, I'm eating a Vietnamese or Thai noodle soup every day this month.)  It comes with a nice herb plate: mint, rau ram, tia to, jalapeno, lime, cabbage, banana blossom, and sprouts.  Everything was very fresh and plentiful.

 

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In the bowl was eggplant, fish, shrimp, pork belly, squid, garlic chives (I think I may have assumed they were scallions before, wrongly, even though I've seen these a million times in the market; noodlepie sets me straight, though), and noodles, of course.  I really liked the use of the pork belly.  They gave a generous amount and it had good flavor.  The fish tasted like tilapia, which always tastes freezer burned to me.  The fish used at Saigon Pearl is a lot better, imo, than the stuff either here or at Pho Oregon.  The eggplant was like that at Saigon Pearl -- very seedy, likely bitter, though I didn't try it.

 

The broth, though, was the most pungent of the three.  Very savory and funky balanced nicely by some garlic.  Not as sweet as Saigon Pearls or as spicy as Pho Oregon's, I'd say.  But definitely the most funky and quite delicious.  It's a tough call on which of the three is the best.  I'd probably go with Saigon Pearl's because of the fish.

 

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The bigger surprise, though, was how damned good their fish sauce wings are.  These are the best I've had in PDX next to Pok Pok's (and Ten-01's).  There's a case to be made they're every bit as good (assuming they're equally as good in the future).  Wonderful crunch to them, perhaps to the point that they're a little dry on the ends.  But great crunch.  And the balance of flavors in the sauce puts most versions in town to shame.  Perfect balance of caramelly sweetness, funky fish funk and heat.  It's the spiciest version I've had at any of the Vietnamese restaurants. It's also the best version I've had at any of the Vietnamese restaurants.

 

Huynh Gia Restaurant

8230 SE Harrison St, #315

Portland, OR 97216

503.775.0088

 

Hours

Fri to Wed, 10am to 8pm.

Closed Thursday

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 FoodKid

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 04:36 PM

I totally agree on the wings. I had them a couple days ago and they were fantastic. I had an order from Pok Pok only a month ago, and I can't remember them being any better than these. 2Pok's wings are definitely bigger, but the ones at Huynh Gia are reasonably sized and I think they are amazingly cheap for what you get. Six wings for $5. I actually asked them how long it would take for them to make five more orders for me to take home, but the kitchen was tied up with a huge to go order for a wedding and they said it would be over an hour. I guess that was for the best.



#3 ExtraMSG

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:05 PM

btw, I've been a few more times, but haven't had time to write a report or upload the pics. I will say that while these two dishes are fantastic, their pho and bun bo hue were mediocre the time I had them. I want to try some more dishes, but this may be a bit of a one-hit (or two-hit) wonder unlike, say, Saigon Pearl where everything seems to range from solid to damn good.
The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's

#4 FoodKid

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:46 PM

I can't speak to the quality or lack thereof regarding any other menu items. I went for the wings only and came away impressed.



#5 EvaB

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:18 PM

I had a pork and shrimp soup which was reasonably tasty, but came with a pretty meager herb plate--about 4 strands of cilantro (not culantro) and beansprouts/jals/lime slice. I don't know if that's just what comes with that particular soup, or.....?


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#6 ExtraMSG

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:42 PM

My experience is that the herb plate changes drastically based on the type of soup. I don't know what's traditional or appropriate, especially in the town they come from, but my guess is that, yes, it's what they feel is appropriate for the soup. I'd have to look at my pics, but I think the pho was just basil and culantro.
The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's

#7 FoodKid

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 09:05 PM

Good grief, do not get the chicken wings to go if you can avoid it. After going to Saigon Pearl today and finding it kaput, I went to Huynh Gia and got several orders of fish sauce wings to take home. They made my car smell so bad that I almost threw up. Still tasted great, but jeez.



#8 ExtraMSG

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 08:35 PM

Several orders? If your car smelled bad, make sure you have some spray for the bathroom.
The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's

#9 ExtraMSG

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 01:01 PM

Closed.


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's

#10 FoodKid

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 01:02 PM

Sign in Huynh Gia's spot says something along the lines of "Opening soon: Healthy food choices for American style restaurant."



#11 ExtraMSG

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 04:25 PM

I hope it's wheat, soy, corn, refined sugar, and fat free.


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's

#12 FoodKid

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 04:25 PM

The new name is the Purple Onion and it appears to be a typical American Chinese restaurant, complete with General Tsao's chicken and jalapeno poppers.



#13 ExtraMSG

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 05:12 PM

At least when this one fails we can lie to ourselves that it was the bad food.


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's





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