Mì Quảng in America – 116 of 365

Mi Quang

Success!  Atlanta’s Vietnamese community centered around Buford Highway finally delivered a meal much like the “old country” back in Vietnam.  And don’t worry; we will be back on the hunt for the best Vietnam offers in less than a week now with my return to Saigon this weekend.   I do hope this journey into the culinary scene an ocean apart from its native home is of some interest, especially for our Vietnamese friends who have never been to the United States.

That the menu even mentioned the city of Danang and seemed to mostly specialize in the cuisine of this middle Vietnam region gave me high hopes this kitchen would produce a largely authentic meal.  I dragged a friend who had never sampled Vietnamese to Quan Ba 9 right next door to a Mexican food joint in the Aloha Plaza strip mall at 4285 Buford Highway.  This hole in the wall receives good reviews online and I must agree.

One of the owners is actually from Danang so she knows the cuisine.   Attention to the smallest detail is what makes or breaks a mean in terms of authenticity and taste.   For example, rather than a heap of the rather pedestrian and woefully wrong green jalapenos, a red chili pepper graced the condiment plate in all its slim gut scorching glory.  Just like Vietnam!

Quan Ba 9

Our server mentioned he does not understand why Vietnamese places in Atlanta serve the Mexican peppers.  Trust me, neither do I.  And about jalapenos…is it just me or are they not as spicy as they used to be?  They seem like cucumbers laced with an innocuous spritz of mild table pepper.   Has Vietnamese food completely burned out my tastebuds or something?  I remember when jalapenos seemed once upon a time such exotic mouth burners but now…nada, nothing, zilch.

But I digress for I know you are not here to debate the nuances of south of the border Mexican cuisine.  The Mì Quảng was flavorful and the chunks of tender chicken meat still clung to their bone and fat.   The very same pieces of chicken that so turn me off in Vietnam are now elicit the perfect reminder of what I am missing in Saigon.  Go figure.   Maybe I am slowly turning Vietnamese.  Our server mentioned breaking up the egg and swirling the hard boiled bits into the other ingredients adds another level of flavor.  He was right.

A proper Mì Quảng contains just enough liquid to barely cover the yellow noodles and chicken and this bowl looked authentic.  As such it occupies that grey area between a noodle dish and a soup.  The crisp rice wafers soaked up the reddish broth to become soft and chewy, and I ate the entire contents fat, skin and all.   We have some food about as close to Vietnam as Atlanta can get.  Yes, sometimes the hole in the wall joints truly are the best choices.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

One Comment on “Mì Quảng in America – 116 of 365”

  1. April 21, 2012 at 3:36 am #

    One will say jalapeno is for the weak when he/she ate enough of the Vietnamese chili pepper (some called it Thai chili pepper in the States). 🙂

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