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Vietnam in London: Vietnamese Restaurants

Thanks to the influx of Vietnamese migrants towards the end of the Vietnam war in the 1970s, London’s Vietnamese dining is as good as it gets.

A classic bowl of Vietnamese noodle-soup (Pho) is the place to start.  This flavoursome rice-noodle broth is the staple diet for most of the nation. Filled with the fresh aromas of ginger, lemongrass and spice, it’s served with a side plate of garnishes and you add in fresh herbs, bean sprouts and chilli to your liking.

It certainly beats a chicken tikka masala or fish and chips, (both contenders for Britain’s national dish), in my opinion.

To sample great Vietnamese food in London, begin in Shoreditch on Kingsland Road, where you can take your pick from numerous, inexpensive eateries.

Favourites include Song Que (make sure you try their spicy soft shell crab), and Old Street’s trendy Cay Tre around the corner for fabulous grilled fish and peanut-based broths.

Neighbourhood local Namo in Bethnal Green village, offers a lovely environment and top quality food and there’s now a second outlet Hop Namo in Shoreditch’s shipping-container shopping mall – Box Park.

If you’re after a Vietnamese feed in the West End, a second Cay Tre has now opened on Dean Street in Soho and it’s equally as popular as the original so make sure you pre-book. Due to being in the centre of town, prices are slightly higher but the food is just as good and they offer a menu of classic dishes and regional Vietnamese specialities.

For more central Vietnamese dining, look out for the Pho chain with outlets on Great Titchfield Street, Clerkenwell and Soho. No guesses what’s on the menu here!

If you want to sample more upmarket Vietnamese dining, take a trip to Bam Bou, by Charlotte Street. Housed in a beautiful wooden-floored townhouse, the three-floored restaurant offers upmarket Chinese, Thai and French Vietnamese cooking.

Vietnam’s French influences have culminated in national street snack – the Vietnamese baguette (Bánh mì) made up of fresh bread, your choice of marinated meat, pickled carrots, chilli and lashings of coriander. You’ll see many mobile baguette shops being wheeled through the streets of Vietnam.

Recently, Bánh mì shops have been popping up in London. Try Viet Baguette by Goodge Street, or, one of the originals – the Bánh mì 11 baguette stall on Broadway Market open every Saturday.

Read Jo Aspin’s blog for more foodie inspiration http://foodiefollower.blogspot.com/

Where else can you find Vietnamese culture in London?