Over the past year, I’ve realized something: My favorite food in Wichita is Vietnamese food.
I don’t know when it happened, but I think it was somewhere in between my discovery of the existence of banh mi sandwiches and my first bite of beef stew at My Tho. Now, I crave the fresh, basil-y, grilled meat fabulousness of Vietnamese food constantly. Lucky for me, there are plenty of places in Wichita to get it.
Today, I have three snippets of Vietnamese news to share.
1. My Tho update: A reader named Don wrote today to ask me when My Tho was ever going to reopen. The Vietnamese restaurant at 500 E. Central closed early this summer for remodeling, and although owners expected to have it reopen by June, they’re still working. They need about 10 more days, the owners’ son told me today. When they get back in, customers will find a repainted, refloored, rearranged restaurant with more room for seating. I’ll keep you updated.
2. Little Saigon review: In case you missed it, Wichita Eagle Dining Panel member Sigrid Trombley this week reviewed one of my other very favorite Vietnamese restaurants: Little Saigon at 1015 N. Broadway. I finally got around to trying this place about a month ago, and now, it’s all I think about. The restaurant is big and bright and makes great food.
3. Saigon No. 49 recipe: A reader named Debbie wrote this week asking me to dig up the recipe we published for Saigon’s No. 49 back in 2004. Owner Hanh Bui provided the recipe for the dish, a favorite among Saigon’s customers, as part of a special holiday package in the paper. Here it is:
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into pieces about 1-inch by 1/2-inch by 1/4- inch thick
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 lb. rice vermicelli noodles
1 tablespoon oil
3 cups shredded lettuce
2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup sliced green onion
4 tablespoons chopped peanuts
1/4cup lime juice
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 jalapeno, chopped
Shredded carrot, optional
Mix hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic and pepper. Place chicken in marinade while preparing vegetables and sauce. Make sauce by mixing lime juice, fish sauce, water, vinegar, sugar, jalapeno and carrot, if using. When ready to cook, prepare noodles according to package directions. Heat oil in a skillet or wok. Pour chicken and marinade into the skillet and stir-fry until done.
Among four bowls, divide lettuce, bean sprouts, cilantro, noodles, onion and chicken. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and sauce and serve.
MAKES 4 SERVINGS.