One of the Foodie's required side trips when driving back home from the Philadelphia Airport is the Saigon Vietnam Restaurant in the Newark Shopping Center in downtown Newark, DE. Rehoboth Beach is a vast wasteland when it comes to variety in ethnic foods, so The Foodie gets his Vietnamese “fix” wherever he can.
Saigon Vietnam Restaurant is quite large and the service is always friendly. Of course, you start with a cold, frosty Sapporo. After perusing the menu, I like to kick things off with the Summer Rolls (Goi Cuon). Thin rice paper is wrapped tightly around shrimp, sliced pork, bean sprouts and lettuce. They don't serve the more traditional peanut sauce for dipping, but the dark and pungent plum sauce is tasty and dotted with crunchy chopped peanuts. Another great appetizer is the Grilled Beef in Grape Leaves (Bo Nuong La). Cucumbers, mint, lettuce and radishes surround the charred leaves and their beefy contents. They are served on cute little wooden skewers. I also love the Grilled Meatballs (Nem Nuong) [pictured, left]. They are served on a bed of warm vermicelli and topped with crunchy peanuts. You get to soak the stiff circles of rice paper into a bowl of hot water (not too long!) and then wrap 'em yourself with the noodles and tart vegetables. It's fun!). If you have more than two at the table, the Khai Vi Dac Biet Cua Nha Hang is a good choice. It's basically a Vietnamese pu-pu platter without the Trader Vic's monster faces and the Sterno.
The menu is huge, and many of their entrees lean toward Chinese and Thai. I default to the tasty Beef Rice Noodle Pho (Pho Tai Dac Biet). The thin-as-air slices of beef play very politely with the savory broth and noodles.
I've eaten there many times, and everything is consistently delicious. Siagon Vietnam Restaurant is at 207 Newark Shopping Center (about a block north of the main downtown rabble). Call to check their hours (302) 737-1590. (L., D.) Click here to ponder their menu. Price range: Moderate.