Dedicated in memory of my grandmother Frances Crews Tanner
Two close friends in Savannah are my “Thai food buddies”. When we get a hankering for Thai, three of us meet at Saigon on Broughton Street in Savannah, GA. One friend is a vegetarian and Thai is perfect for her. The other friend and I both lost our grandmothers in the past several weeks. The evening of her grandmother’s funeral I met her at her favorite neighborhood eatery, Green Truck Pub. The evening after my grandmother’s funeral last week, I craved green curry and suggested we meet at Saigon. Lo and behold, she replied back saying Saigon had closed. What?! Where had I been? Not out as much lately, apparently. Did their expansion contribute to their demise? Saigon didn’t have the most attentive wait staff, but their food was always pretty consistent.
My tummy was still craving Asian food, so my friend suggested The King & I or Saigon Flavors. We’re talking two different categories of dining atmospheres here. I decided on Saigon Flavors. Many of you reading this probably have no idea where Saigon Flavors is. It’s located in the small strip mall directly across from CVS at Waters and Stephenson Avenues and directly north of Byrd Cookie Company. Most people drive right past it and don’t even know it’s there. That’s because it is a visually unappealing place. You walk in and sit in plastic bucket chairs at particle board “wood” tables under fluorescent panel lighting with white ceiling panels. There are no more than seven or eight tables in the whole place. Saigon Flavors is a no frills, sort of hole-in-the-wall “diner” kind of place, but also down-to-earth with no false pretenses.
What lacked in ambience and décor was made up for with decent food, service and the company of a close friend. My friend and I each ordered a Saigon Spring Roll as an appetizer at $1.45 each. I have had better spring rolls elsewhere, but it satisfied my hunger at the time. Saigon Flavors is known primarily for their Pho soup bowls (of which my friend ordered one), but I had the Spicy Hue Beef Noodle Soup (Bún bò Huế) for an entrée. The soup bowls come with a side plate of bean sprouts, fresh sliced jalapeños and limes. Bún bò Huế is a popular Vietnamese soup containing rice vermicelli (bún) and beef (bò). Huế is a city in central Vietnam associated with the cooking style of the former royal court. Compared to Pho or bún riêu, the noodles are thicker and more cylindrical. It was mildly spicy and had a lemongrass flavor. At only $8.25, the price couldn’t be beat and it satisfied my cravings.
I imagine most Asian people would say they’ve had better, but unfortunately we don’t have many choices in Savannah. The waitress was friendly, yet not very attentive. I had to get up once to ask for more water and again to get the check. Several people came in to pick up take-out orders. Saigon Flavors is family owned and operated, a little “mom and pop” establishment. If you are looking for a reasonably-priced, fairly quick meal in the Midtown/Southside area, I recommend Saigon Flavors for lunch or take-out. Open 7 days a week 11am-9pm. The atmosphere is just not very appealing for a nice sit-down dinner. Find their menu online at http://saigonflavors.com/. They are located at 6604 Waters Avenue at Stephenson Avenue.
Website: http://saigonflavors.com/ • Phone: 912-352-4182
Open 7 days a week 11am-9pm • 6604 Waters Ave., Savannah, GA 31406
Written by Jamie Marie Smith
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