Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hai Duong

Rating: Great!

Genre: Vietnamese

Neighborhood: Seven Corners (Eden Center)

Seeing that I live about two miles from Eden Center, it was about time I explored the restaurants in that area. I use to go to Eden all the time as a kid for Cho Chu Saigon, until my mom forbade our family to go there anymore because of all those Asian gangs that hung out there ready to cut innocent bystanders just trying to get food. Well since moving to Falls Church, I've been having fun explore all the culinary delights in the area and it was time I delved into Eden. Holy Merlin's Beard! This place is nothing like how I remembered it as a kid! Lots of new development and new restaurants, shops, and bakeries! I heard about Hai Duong from a friend of mine, and when passing by, it looked like one of the busiest restaurants in the shopping center so I knew it had to be good.

I'm a total slut for Banh Xeo so I immediately knew what I was getting! If you don't know what Banh Xeo is, it is also referred to as the Vietnamese Crepe; this is because it's made in a similar fashion to French Crepes (which I also love- and the best place to get them is Crepes Amour in Georgetown) except it's a lot crispier! It is stuffed with herbs, bean sprouts, and some kind of meat (at Hai Duong it comes with shrimp) then folded over like an omelet. The dish comes with herbs, vegetables (usually carrots, radishes, and cucumbers), lettuce wraps, and fish sauce. At Hai Duong, these give you a mountain of herbs and I didn't know what 90% of them were. I think there may have been basil and mint in there but there were sure a lot of other tasty leaves that I didn't recognize. To eat Banh Xeo, you cut off a slice, then place it in a leaf of lettuce, add what herbs and veggies you want to it, then wrap it up, dip it in the fish sauce and enjoy! The Banh Xeo at Hai Duong is quite good- its crispy and the shrimp is delicious inside of it. I only wish they could put more shrimp in it.
As for my next visit, I decided to try the mi noodles with shrimp and pork. I saw a ton of people eating this dish at my first visit so I decided it must be another must-try. I didn't want a noodle dish with soup so this ended up being perfect. I dumped my fish sauce on top, scooped in three spoonfuls of hot sauce and mixed it up like Korean Bi Bim Bap! Wholesomely satisfying! I love, love eating noodles with fish sauce! And it comes with a spring roll! I also ordered the Vietnamese coffee like how I always do when going to Vietnamese restaurants. Vietnamese coffee is my favorite way of preparing coffee next to French press and the coffee at Hai Duong is deliciously strong- just like how I like it!
Another dish I've had here is pork with rice vermicelli. I love the flavorful way Vietnamese pork is prepared! I typically choose pork whenever I get a choice of meat. This dish came rice vermicelli, which is kind of a net of soft thin noodles, lettuce, herbs, vegetables and fish sauce. Like the Banh Xeo, you take the pork and noodles and wrap it in the lettuce and add you choice of herbs and veggies. The portion is gigantic so you can make about five well-stuffed wraps.
Overall, I found all my visits here incredibly satisfying! I love how Vietnamese food is light and not oily so I'm not disgusted with myself after wards. I love the amount of herbs given to you with every dish and they don't flake out on portions at all. The price is good too! About $8 a dish. This place is located at the left hand most entrance of Eden, but be careful! As with any Asian shopping center, no one here knows how to drive! It's not quite as bad as Chinese shopping centers, but the drivers here are more aggressive and you really got to fight to get a parking spot. I'm excited to try some of the other restaurants in Eden. I noticed a Thai Hot Pot joint right across from Hai Duong so I'll be trying that next!!!

6795 Wilson Blvd

Falls Church
, VA 22044

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