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Saigon Lotus
12am - 2pm, 5pm - 9:30pm
333, 3/F, Film City, Wanda Plaza, East Section 5, Second Ring Rd.
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Susan Johnson (more chengdu)
Within moments of spying a mention online of a real Vietnamese restaurant in Chengdu, I was on my way over to check it out. Saigon Lotus is on the third floor of the Wanda Complex out on the east second ring. Once there, it took me a while to find the restaurant (in the back next to Early MBA) and as I approached a menu-waving hostess hurried up, urging me to enter and suggesting dishes. This gave me pause - when has anyone ever eaten well after succumbing to such coercion? - but since I had come this far I went in and ordered an appetizer platter and the coconut chicken soup. The menu has pictures and English, though not all the dish descriptions are translated, and features meals and snacks. Vietnamese beers are available as well.

The soup was a small bowl of coconut milk, ginger, pieces of chicken, tomato, and cilantro. It tasted like things had been thrown together and heated and made me glad I hadn't tried the pho. Shrimp balls on sugarcane is one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes – the shrimp balls are like a condiment for the smoky and juicy grilled sugarcane, which you chew and suck out the juice before spitting out the pulp. These had been breaded and deep fried instead of grilled, which dried out the sugarcane. They were still good, but would have been a thousand times better grilled. The curry triangles and chicken skewers also seemed deep fried, but tasted fine. The lettuce inside the summer rolls wasn’t fresh and was mixed with mayonnaise. Mayo? And anywhere Vietnamese herbs should have been; this food had cilantro.

The servers were wearing long Vietnamese dresses with sneakers or crocs underneath. The cooking is also a little too relaxed, though the kitchen does turn out some tasty things that are out of the ordinary for the city. Per person expect to pay between 20 and 40RMB, plus drinks. We hope this place gets some competition.

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