At Aladin Sweets & Market, folks stop in for glasses of milky tea with honey-dipped fried pastries, though savory dishes are the main draw.
At this Vietnamese convenience store, a mere $3 nets you a hefty bánh mì on a fresh baguette. The soft bread has a crackling crust, the bits of grilled pork are supple and salty-sweet, and the pickled vegetables lend the right amount of crunch.
It’s fun to assemble your own goi coun (rice paper spring rolls) at this modest restaurant. Wrap plump grilled shrimp, fermented pork sausage, or grilled lemongrass beef with Vietnamese herbs and douse the bundle in house-made fish sauce spiked with red chilis.
Rumor has it that Manny Pacquiao is a fan of the sisig, pork parts served on a hot plate splashed with sour citrus and hot peppers. You don’t have to be training for a title fight to covet the garlicky punch of topsilog, cured beef mixed with fried rice and a fried egg
The Thai regulars who crowd the closely packed tables can do without the Hello Kitty-adorned picture menu. Here you eat among cognoscenti who specify the width of the noodles and the degree of heat with barely a pause in the conversation.
Steak lovers might squirm at the idea of butchering slabs of filet mignon to nearly transparent sheets. But once the rare slices are submerged in this pho palace’s broth—perfumed with cloves and star anise—they could coax even a Texas cattle commissioner into trying a bowl.