“75 locations to eat like a neighborhood” from HAWAII journal: Vietnamese meals

The Food Issue 2014 of the HAWAII magazine is now available.

In the issue, you’ll find “75 Places to Eat Like a Local,” our now annual guide to the restaurants in Hawaii where locals like us eat when we’re hungry. This year’s “75 Places to Eat Like a Local: Mixed Plate Edition” deals with the renowned diversity of the islands’ multicultural cuisines. For example, where do we go when we are looking for the best Hawaiian food. The sushi restaurants and bars with the freshest and best selection of seafood. Where do we go when we’re looking for sublime Italian cuisine made with Hawaiian seafood if we feel like it.

Until the end of December, we’ll be presenting some of the categories and restaurants from this year’s guide “75 Places to Eat Like a Local: Mixed Plate Edition” here on HawaiiMagazine.com. In previous posts we shared our Hawaiian Food, Japanese Food, Asian Hot Pot and Poke categories. Below is the fifth category that we share: the five restaurants that made our “VIETNAMESE” category.

Let’s eat!

75 places to eat like a local: Mixed Plate Edition

“Vietnamese”

Category 8 of 15

Where we’re going for the best photo and more.

Vietnamese cuisine in Saigon

In a photo essay on Honolulu’s Chinatown in our November / December 2012 issue, we praised this restaurant for serving the best rare beef we’ve ever tasted. Nothing has changed, especially our continued fondness for the hearty, slow-cooked beef broth from Saigon Cuisine, which takes the classic Vietnamese home-cooked meal to an ambrosial level.

164 N. King St., Oahu • (808) 599-1866

Pho Saigon

A posh address in Honolulu and a more chic interior mean that the menu prices are slightly higher here than in many Vietnamese restaurants in the city. But we have found that the quality of the ingredients, the presentation and the taste are clearly surpassed as we continue to march through Pho Saigon’s menu of well-known Vietnamese dishes and original home-made dishes.

1534 Ala Moana Blvd., Oahu • (808) 955-1069

Pho Viet

Tucked away on an almost hidden back street in old downtown Hilo, this cozy, family-run restaurant serves tasty Vietnamese dishes in portions that belies its very compact interior. The menu choices may be a bit limited for some (mainly soups, pho, stews, and summer and spring rolls), but pho viet makes up for it in presentation, freshness of ingredients, and taste.

80 Kilauea Avenue, Island of Hawaii • (808) 935-1080

A Saigon cafe

First, order the Vietnamese steak – juicy bites of tender char-grilled steak with fish sauce and garlic flavor. Now that you’ve got the all-important dish out of the way, you can enjoy the rest of the menu with an order of Mi Vit Tiem duck noodle soup and vegetable-filled Banh Xeo sizzling pancakes for starters.

1792 Main St., Maui • (808) 243-9560

The pig & the lady

This downtown Honolulu eatery, our 2014 Best of Hawaii pick for Best New Oahu Restaurant, is the lab of the relentlessly inventive chef and owner Andrew Le, who explores Vietnamese cuisine. To match Le’s creative whims, the menu is constantly changing, with new dishes being introduced regularly and old favorites, including classics from his mother’s making big profits. We have never imagined Vietnamese food to be like Le. Fortunately, we don’t have to try now. We just eat and enjoy.

83 N. King St., Oahu • (808) 585-8255 • thepigandthelady.com

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