First there was the three-in-one and a cheeky chicken kung po. Then we moved on to California rolls and sashimi. The came the Pad Thai and of course, spice bags.
We Dubliners are always on the lookout for the next big thing when it comes to food, with only two real requirements: it must be something a little different, and it must taste amazing.
Well, we've gone forth and explored what's out there on your behalf, dear readers, and we would put our money on Vietnamese food being the next thing to explode.
1. It’s a healthy alternative to Chinese food
Dubliners have become a lot more health conscious in recent years, choosing clean eating over filthy Chinese take aways.
Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest foods worldwide, relying on fresh herbs and spices to improve flavour. They also use LOADS of vegetables in their dishes, and unlike the ones you’d find in your chow mein, you know they’re fresh and have been cooked recently. You can leave feeling virtuous.
2. Bánh mì is a meal for less than a fiver
Bánh mì is a product of colonialism. The French in Vietnam would put whatever they could find in their local market into a baguette and eat it on the go.
Like a healthier version of the schneaky chicken baguette you’d get in the shop around the corner, this meal is filling and tasty. You have your meat or tofu, plus cucumber, coriander, carrot, daikon radish, mayonnaise, and chillis for those who like a little spice – all inside a fresh baguette.
I got some bánh mì from Aobaba on Capel Street for just €4.50 and was so big that I ended up leaving some behind. Serious value for money.
3. Ph? is filling and delicious
Ph? is a clear noodle soup, plus your choice of meat or tofu and a ton of fresh vegetables like carrots, brocoli, mushrooms and spring onion, as well as a small plate of bean sprouts, lemons, jalapenos, mint, coriander and lemon to add extra flavour to the dish if you’d like.
I left Ph? Viet on Parnell Street with the HUGE dish only half finished, and feeling so full and satisfied without feeling at all bloated. Plus the meal is apparently only 400-500 calories.
Realistically, you could share one of those dishes, costing €9.50, between two people. It was also a comforting dish to have on a freezing cold night.
4. Vietnamese coffee is great for those with a sweet tooth
Vietnamese iced coffee, also known as cà phê ?á, can also be served hot. It usually contains sweetened condensed milk, which makes it taste like you’re drinking Baileys with a caffeine boost.
There are a few cafés that also serve this amazing coffee outside of strictly Vietnamese restaurants.
5. It’s good for people on restricted diets
Because the food is so simply made, it’s great for people who, for whatever reason, are restricted in what they eat.
They have lots of vegetarian options, and are happy to use tofu instead of meat.
Pretty much all of the food is dairy free, which is great for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan.
Most of the dishes are naturally gluten free, using rice noodles, rice paper and rice flour instead, so that’s coeliacs sorted. It's fab if you're trying to find somewhere for picky eaters.
6. There’s plenty of room to grow
Right now, there are only four or five Vietnamese restaurants in
Dublin, that I know of.
There’s the two mentioned above, as well as Ph? Ta in Temple
Bar, and the Saba chain which has a mix of Thai and Vietnamese
Ph? Viet only opened in 2012 and it is already one of the top 100
restaurants in Dublin according to Trip Advisor.
Healthy, delish and value for money. Sure, what more could you want?
Found any other Vietnamese spots in Dublin that you think we should check out? Let us know in the comments below!