Saigon of the South
Vietnamese immigrants have been congregating in New Orleans East and in the Westbank suburbs since the seventies, but their eateries are starting to gain a foothold in NOLA proper. Herewith, the cheat sheet of Poppy Tooker, host of the WWNO radio show “Louisiana Eats!”
For casual takeout:
Dong Phuong Bakery
14207 Chef Menteur Hwy.
“Their phô is crazy-delicious, but I also love their steamed buns and mung-bean pies.”
For chicer environs:
Tamarind by Dominique inside the Hotel Modern
936 St. Charles Ave.
“It’s brand-new and divinely good. I’ve been going for the Vietnamese crêpes, Wagyu phô (pictured), and a five-spice lemongrass beef-and-red-wine bánh mì that’s as good as any po’boy you’ve ever found.”
For uptown authenticity:
Magasin Vietnamese Café
4201 Magazine St.
“The pig belly with rice special is rocking my universe. It’s braised 40 hours until it forms this unctuous sauce. Oh, and their oxtail phô is enough to make you cry.”
For a straight-to-the-source experience:
Vietnamese Farmers Market
4500 Alcee Fortier Blvd.; Saturdays 6 to 9 a.m.
“It’s like you’re in Vietnam. There’s rabbits and chickens in cages, and everyone’s selling these little bundles of herbs they gathered in their garden that morning.”
Belly On Up
Ann Tuennerman, founder of the city’s annual Tales of the Cocktail convention (July 25 to 29), on five archetypal Louisiana drinks and where to order them.
$11 at Arnaud’s French 75 (813 Rue Bienville)
“Like the mojito of New Orleans, but fashioned with anise-flavored liqueur.”
$8 at Bellocq (936 St. Charles Ave.)
“Fresh fruit and lots of crushed ice. Super-refreshing.”
Dark ’n’ Stormy:
$9 at Sylvain(625 Chartres St.)
“Made with rum and their own ginger beer.”
$15 at Cure (4905 Freret St.)
“Like a Pimm’s Cup, but with strawberries and two ounces of Peychaud’s bitters.”
$13 at Vitascope Hall (601 Loyola Ave.)
“A riff on the Sazerac, with bourbon, pecan bitters, absinthe, and a teeny bit of caramel.”