Text Size

SCLogin

Saigon Flavors

saigon_flavorsThe first thing you’re likely to notice about Saigon Flavors is that it isn’t in downtown Orlando or anywhere near the intersection of Mills Avenue and Colonial Drive. That neighborhood, which locals have unofficially called Little Saigon for years, has the city’s greatest concentration of Vietnamese restaurants.

Now Saigon Flavors is taking Vietnamese cuisine farther afield, to the northeast and Oviedo, where it has set up in a new, small strip mall. SF is not totally divorced from the downtown Vietnamese community: the owner, Charlie Tang, was the proprietor of Viet Garden in that old neighborhood (officially dubbed the very non-ethnic Mills50).

Besides its location, Saigon Flavors has something else that sets it apart from other Vietnamese restaurants in the area: it is more modern in its style and decor. The walls are painted tomato reds, sky blues and avocado greens. They have myriad cubbyholes with bric-a-brac, each with its own spotlight. And instead of the more common background traditional music played on a two-stringed dan nguyet, Saigon Flavors plays Western piano classics -- it wasn’t, but it sounded like an old Ferrante & Teicher album. For a more traditional note, one wall sports tall windows inset with paintings of old Vietnamese scenes, such as the Central Market and the Temple at Hue.

The food strikes a more familiar traditional note as well. The menu, blessedly, is not quite as tome-like as some of the other Vietnamese restaurants, but it does take some studying to make a decision.

My guests and I started with appetizers of summer rolls and a golden pancake. The summer rolls featured shrimp and pork (not a whole lot of either) in soft, gummy rice paper wrappers with noodles and vegetables, served with a peanut dipping sauce. The golden pancake was not the sort of pancake you put butter and syrup on.

The pancake was more like an omelet, sort of like those served in some Korean restaurants. The folded egg was filled with bean sprouts, shrimp and pork (again, more bean sprouts than anything else). It was accompanied by lettuce leaves, and our server instructed us to put some of the pancake on a lettuce leaf with a sprig or two of cilantro or basil and roll it up to dip in the sweet vinaigrette. it was quite tasty.

For my entree I chose a pho, the iconic beef noodle soup. I had the tai nam bo vien (number 35 on the menu), which had sliced beef and Vietnamese
pho
Pho photo

meatballs with al dente noodles in a beefy broth. My companion had the pho hai-san, a seafood version with shrimp, scallops, squid and crab claws with noodles more angel hair-like. The big pieces of squid were the best part of a very good soup.

Service was also different from the usual Vietnamese restaurants -- a little brasher, but in a playful, non-offensive way. Although Saigon Flavors claims some Vietnamese beers on its menu, none were available when I visited. We had to settle for beers from Laos.

With its easy access from State Road 417 on Aloma Avenue, Saigon Flavors is worth visiting by those who enjoy the Vietnamese restaurants in the Mills50 district. But it’s an even better location for the folks in northeastern Orange County who no longer have to drive downtown for decent pho.

Saigon Flavors is at 3573 Aloma Ave., Oviedo. It is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Click this link to visit Saigon Flavors’ Web site. The phone number is 407-951-8818.

 

{fblike}

Saigon Flavors on Urbanspoon

Related Articles/Posts
Lechonera Latina #3, Created by Scott JosephLechonera Latina #3...
This is what $6.39 worth of food looks like at Lechonera Latina. When Tasty Thai closed the doors of its longtime Curry Ford location it didn't take long for L...
Cafe Red Closed, Created by Scott JosephCafe Red Closed...
Filed under News That Will Surprise No One: Cafe Red has closed. I had reported earlier that the Church Street restaurant had severely cut its hours. That seeme...
California Grill 2014, Created by Scott JosephCalifornia Grill 2014...
It's different than before. The "new" California Grill, the top-floor restaurant at Disney's Contemporary Resort, reopened almost a full year ago, after a maj...
Lots of New Restaurants Opening, Created by Scott JosephLots of New Restaurants Opening...
New restaurants all around, some now open, some up and coming. Atlantic Beer and Oyster, the first of the three reported new restaurants to occupy the former...
Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month is Sooner Than You Think, Created by Scott JosephVisit Orlando's Magical Dining Month is Sooner Than You Think...
September used to mean it was Magical Dining Month, but no longer. Now Magical Dining Month is September and the last week of August. This year, the dining be...
Thursday, 23rd October 2014

What is a Flog?

A flog is a food blog with news and reviews of restaurants. Here you'll find all things edible, lots of things to drink, including expert wine advice, and lots of other stuff.