Category Archives: Vietnamese food

Pho Cuong a new Vietnamese restaurant out east

Friday was the first day in business for Pho Cuong, a new restaurant in the old Koi Fusion space at 6605 E. 37th St. N. (Koi Fusion opened there in April but closed by early August.)

It’s owned by Cuong Huynh, who previously owned a Vietnamese restaurant in Fort Smith, Ark., and specializes in all the Vietnamese dishes Wichitans have become familiar with, from pho to the vermicelli noodle dishes known as bun.

Huynh remodeled the restaurant, which was an order-at-the-counter place. Now, the restaurant has table service. He says business has been good — and demand for pho was so high on Sunday that he sold out.

The restaurant is open from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 316-220-8218.

Asian restaurant closes, will be replaced by another

Koi Fusion cuisine, available for less than an hour

If you were a fan of Koi Fusion, the little Asian eatery I reviewed a few weeks back, today’s your last day to enjoy it.

The restaurant will close for good at the end of business today, which is 5 p.m. Owner Dave Wan has decided to move back to Oregon and is closing the restaurant, which he opened in April.

A new Vietnamese restaurant is set to open in the space, which formerly held Samurai. I’ll let you know more details when I get them.

Kimlan Sandwiches is yum yum yum

The Kimlan No. 6.

Last week, my co-workers and I took a Friday lunch field trip to the new Kimlan Sandwiches, the banh mi place at 1035 N. Broadway.

YUM.

It was so good, we went back again this week. Just look at the beautiful colors in that sandwich.

We tried the No. 3, made with pork that’d been marinated in a lemongrass-soy dressing, and the No. 6, made with sliced Chinese barbecue pork and topped with mayo.

Both were fabulous. The sandwiches are served in cute little sub sandwich bags with just the meat stuffed into the crusty French bread. The beautiful toppings, which include pickled carrots, jalapenos, cucumber and cilantro, come on the side in a tiny plastic bag, and the sandwich eater is responsible for piling them on.

Kimlan doesn’t have many side options, but we tried their spring rolls, which are giant and delicious, and they serve egg rolls, too. The best part — everything is so cheap. Our Friday to-go order, which included three sandwiches, an order of spring rolls and two egg rolls, was just $15.

Kimlan has altered its hours slightly since opening. They’renow open from1 0 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays through Sundays.

Me with two of my conversants, Tim McKee, center, and Tad Patton.

Incidentally, I gave Kimlan and my other favorite Vietnamese restaurants lots of lavish praise at last night’s Great Conversation, a neat event put on by Friends University. It was at the Wichita Scottish Rite, and it included a catered dinner served to about 15 tables of 10 people each. The tables all had moderators and assigned topics, and those assembled at the tables spent a couple of hours conversing about the topic.

I was the moderator at my table, where the topic was dining out in Wichita. I met several nice people, including a trio of lawyers and their wives from the law firm of Triplett, Woolf & Garretson, LLC. I’ve now been invited to their office Thanskgiving lunch, where they promise me a hunk of homemade goat cheese. Now THAT was a conversation worth having.

The Great Conversation is an annual event, so look for it again next year.

A look at the Kimlan Sandwiches menu

It’s open! It’s open!

Kimlan Sandwiches, the new banh mi place at 1035 N. Broadway, is now open and serving a big menu of Vietnamese sandwiches, stuffed with bbq pork, meatballs, ham, headcheese, veggies and more.

(My co-worker is calling it “Middle Saigon,” a nod to its location in between Saigon at 1103 N. Broadway and Little Saigon at 1015 N. Broadway.)

I dropped by to pick up a menu today, which you can see here. The menu has 15 different sandwiches, and all include pickled carrots, jalapeno, cilantro, cucumber and mayo. The best part: They all cost between $3.50 and $3.75.

The restaurant also has a daily stir-fry lunch, which is available with fried rice, lo mein and an egg roll for $5.50. There are also spring rolls, puddings, boba tea, and cafe sua da, which is iced French coffee.

The hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. For more information, call 316-558-5137.

New banh mi place will open soon

North Broadway is a good street to frequent if you love Vietnamese food.

In a few weeks, a new restaurant called Kimlan Banh Mi Sandwiches will open at 1035 N. Broadway in a former Pizza Hut building. It’s right next door to the fabulous Little Saigon restaurant at 1015 N. Broadway and right down the street from the legendary Saigon, which has operated for years at 1103 N. Broadway.

The business is owned by the former owners of Kim Huong, the Vietnamese restaurant that operated in the Little Saigon space until 2010. It will specialize in banh mi sandwiches, made with grilled Vietnamese meats on crusty French bread with crispy veggies and herbs.

Owners are busy each day working in the building, and several readers have asked about it. I’ll update the blog when the opening date draws near and the owners share the menu.

My Tho will reopen next week

My Tho, the popular Vietnamese restaurant at 500 E. Central, finally has a reopening date, and owners say it is definite for sure this time: Sept. 4, which is a week from today.

The restaurant, which has been closed since June for sprucing and remodeling, will have new floors, new ceilings and more seating in the area of the restaurant that previously held pool tables.

Everything is finished, but Sept. 4 feels like a lucky day to the owners, their son said. It’s a Tuesday, and the restaurant is normally closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. But during the first week back, they’ll be open both Tuesday and Wednesday. After that, they’ll resume the old hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays.

For more information, call 316-262-5452.

My Tho is famous — and still closed

The new issue of Food Network Magazine, which is on newstands now, features a local sandwich: My Tho’s delicious banh mi. (Just take a look at the story and click on ‘KS.’)

The issue names one fabulous sandwich from each of the 50 states, and My Tho’s banh mi — featuring sliced, grilled pork, sliced fresh jalapeno, fresh cilantro, pickled julienne carrots and daikon, soy sauce and black pepper stuffed into a crusty French baguette – represents Kansas. The magazine even has a pretty picture of the colorful sandwich.

Unfortunately, those who haven’t tried the sandwich will have to wait a little longer. Delay after delay has kept My Tho at 500 E. Central, which closed for a big remodeling project in June, from reopening on time. Owners hoped to reopen last week, but now, they’re saying they need one or two more weeks because a new dishwasher and a soda dispenser have yet to be delivered.

Last year, Wichita Pizza Co’.s taco pizza was featured in a similar story in the magazine.

Three Vietnamese food headlines

My Tho's beef stew

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.

The banh mi from Little Saigon

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:

INGREDIENTS
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

Saigon owner Hann Bui and his famous No. 49

2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup sliced green onion
4 tablespoons chopped peanuts

Sauce:
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

DIRECTIONS
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.

My Tho closed through June for remodel

Those in the know about pho often can be seen slurping at My Tho, the unassuming but awesome Vietnamese restaurant at 500 E. Central — right at the corner of Central and Emporia.

But they won’t be seen there for a while. My Tho is closed and will remain so at least through the end of the month while the owners do some remodeling.

They’re redoing the floor, replacing the ceiling and cleaning up the part of the restaurant that’s held old pool tables and other junk so that they can add more tables and expand the dining room.

The work should take about three more weeks. I’ll let you know when the My Tho reopens.

Much phun and phood at Pho Hot

Pho Hot Bistro owner Danny Nguyen supervises Rick Moonen's grilling.

Celeb chef Rick Moonen spent his last night in Wichita partaking in a fabulous Vietnamese feast offered by one of our local chef celebs — Danny Nguyen, owner of Pho Hot Bistro at 306 N. Rock Road.

Nguyen is known for preparing multi-course dinners for his friends, and he’s good friends with former Eagle food editor Joe Stumpe and his wife, Carrie Rengers. The two arranged for Nguyen to prepare one of his decadent dinners for Moonen, who seemed pretty impressed.

And who wouldn’t be? Nguyen brought out course after course after course — shrimp papaya salad, plates of crawfish, sweet and sour shrimp soup served in a hot pot, caramel salmon and fresh lychee fruit for dessert.

The ruins of the meal. In this photo, you can see the hot pot soup, and that platter with all the garnish contains and giant whole catfish.

The highlight was when Nguyen moved the party outdoors to have us grill beef and vegetables on a tiny, tabletop grill and assemble the fillings in rice paper wrappers. Moonen did the grilling for everyone and insisted he was having so much fun, he didn’t care if he got to try any. (He did.)

I was glad that Moonen’s friends arranged for him to visit Pho Hot because it’s one very good example of something Wichita excels in — fresh and flavorful Vietnamese food. We might not have the fine dining Las Vegas does, but when it comes to ethnic cuisine — especially Vietnamese and Mediterranean — we have more than our share of fabulous options

Here are a couple more pics from the evening.

The Pho Hot party: From left to right, John Smith, Pho Hot Bistro owner Danny Nguyen, me, Rick Moonen, Rick's girlfriend Roni Fields, Don Hysko, Carrie Rengers, Joe Stumpe, Pat Hysko and Jackie Smith.

We stuffed the patio-grilled meat into rice paper wrappers with fresh veggies, herbs and sauces.