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Found 98 results

  1. I ventured into Eden Center and promised myself to try a couple of small places inside the Eden Center. Hai Ky Mi Gia specializes in soup noodle. You get a choice of toppings (shrimp, mixed seafood, roast duck, roast quail, or pork), shrimp cracker, Chinese chives, tiny bits of rendered pork fat, and lettuce over yellow noodle or rice noodle, with the soup either laddle on top of the noodles or served on the side. The usual condiments of bean sprouts, hot sauce, and lime are available on the side. The result is a bowl of delicious warm Vietnamese Ramen that costs around $7.50. Nha Trang specialized in Nem Nuong Nihn Hoa ($7 for 4 rolls), these are summer rolls with lettuce, mint, grilled pork sausage, and crispy fried wonton wrapper served with a strange sauce that I can't decipher (bits of garlic, pork, and peanut in a sweet sauce).
  2. FWIW, Pho 88 in Falls Church, which was referenced in the above posts but never got its own thread, has now closed.
  3. I stopped going to Eden Center on a daily basis for lunch because the trips were putting too many miles on my leased car (13 miles round trip). Because it's been at least a month since I last went, I walked around to see what's new. I think there are 2 new joints just in Saigon East (the section in btwn the 2 grocery stores). Bay Lo is no more. And in place of H2O is Hoa Vien Quan. Hoa Vien Quan is brightly lit, shiny, and clean. The menu is one laminated page but with a ton of stuff that's not very well organized - several items don't belong under the headings. I tried their cha gio (spring rolls) and banh xeo. Both are excellent, especially because they give you the proper accompaniments. The spring rolls came with 2 pieces of lettuce, basil and pickled carrots. The banh xeo came with 4 pieces of lettuce, lots of herbs, and pickled carrots. I wrapped everything in lettuce and dipped in their fish sauce. I would have to go back to Eden to try more of their food (as I said, big menu).
  4. A thread to discuss the glories of Pho! I'd like to kick it off with a mention of Pho that I had recently found in an unlikely place, then wrote about, and shamelessly cross-posted, right down to the emoticons. On Monday The Froggy Bottom Pub of all places has the best Pho I've yet tasted. Granted, that's not that much Pho to compare against: I haven't been to 4 Sisters yet for example, but this was good stuff, I'm sure, by any standards. Apparently they do a brisk trade (Or just don't make enough!), as they were sold out by the time I got there last week with the friend who told me about it, and this past Monday they had but one bowl left, which the friend and I split along with an order of pork egg rolls. Sounds like they have one meat, which I'm pretty sure was round eye. So, Froggy's Pho had everything going that a good bowl of Pho should, and is available all day Monday. Added bonus: fun absurdity of going at it sticks and bowls amidst a packed and somewhat rowdy house of Monday 'half price pizza and pitcher special night' -goers. Not that they have the wrong idea nessesarily: Froggy has good pizza! --- [The following posts have been split into separate threads. The posts that were split concentrate on single Pho houses; anything comparative, e.g., comparing Pho Hot with Pho 75, is left in this thread.] Pho Hot (MartyL) Pho 88 (youngfood) Pho Hong Anh (squidsdc) Pho Thang Long (jparrott) Pho Bistro (cigarnv) Saigon Bistro (squidsdc) Pho Hiep Hoa (JPW) Pho N More (Ericandblueboy) Pho Hoa Binh (ALB) Pho 75 (jparrott) Pho Capital (Sundae in the Park) Pho Tay Ho (RWBooneJr.) Pho 50 (The Delicious) Pho Sate (The Hersch) Pho An (DonRocks) Vinh Loi (NolaCaine)
  5. A lady I know has been touting this place for weeks, so we went tonight. It's a few doors down from Dino. The d�cor is plastic but the food is worth a trip. We had Crispy Spring Rolls (truly crunchy), Hue Spicy Beef Soup (needed a couple of hits from the spices on the table), Fried Quail (delicate and delicious), and Grilled Pork Hanoi (nice). She had a VN beer, "33," never heard of it. What happened in VN in 1933? And why do they have the name of the restaurant backwards?
  6. Pho Nom Nom, out Rockville Pike is a bit of a drive but so worth it. Best Pho around!
  7. It's hard to believe Teaism closed a year ago. The new tenant - Sunday in Saigon - is still in the slow/soft opening phase, but we had a very pleasant and flavorful meal at the bar last Friday. They were quite busy and it was on the later side, so an item or two wasn't available. They currently have a short but interesting beer menu - including several Hitachino selections and a rice beer from Colorado on draft, along with a few specialty cocktails and wines by the glass. There is also a several-bottle Enomatic station, for which wines were still being selected at the time of our visit. We were told customers will be able to purchase a card and make their own selections shortly. There is nothing on the menu from Caphe Banh Mi (they share the same owners). We started with the Chinese sausage and shrimp roll with egg, jicama, and carrot - a nice change from the standard rolls you find a lot of places. We were quite happy with the Huế noodle soup ( Bún bò Huế) and the grilled eggplant stir-fried with pork and shrimp (cà tím nướng). The noodle soup included pork hock which had been soaked in coconut milk and cooked separately with a variety of spices (I hope I'm getting the details right). I'm not normally one to gnaw on skin/rinds, but was very glad that I was encouraged to do so - the flavor was incredible. If you prefer, you can order the soup without the hocks. The eggplant was generous, well-prepared and seasoned, if a touch oily for me. A nearby diner ordered the deep-fried whole red snapper - it was an attention-getter, but also looked like something I'd order next time out. The menu has a variety of dishes, with prices ranging from $8 for a few smaller dishes to $28 for the snapper, with lots of options in between. The space has been somewhat reconfigured from the previous Teaism layout (bar moved, some interior features removed, fun custom wallpaper installed, entrance shifted). The room has a nice ambiance (as it did before). My - the owner and chef - is very much involved in every aspect of the operation, from the interior design (and exterior - the umbrellas over the patio tables are stunning!) to the recipes. They will be serving brunch soon, too. I hope they see crowds at Sunday in Saigon similar to their other business, which is always packed. I'm not a Vietnamese food expert but the care and attention that have gone into both places is evident. I'm happy to support another tasty, local, woman-owned business in the former location of one of my other favorites that fits that description!
  8. This is kind of exciting: ARLNow is reporting that paperwork has been filed that shows Four Sisters Grill will be taking over the space last occupied by Fatshorty's.
  9. Last week, I got this tweet from Jonathan Copeland: Although I had largely forgotten about it, somewhere in the recesses of my brain, it resided, because I was thirty-minutes early for an appointment in Falls Church today, and - <blink> - I remembered. I didn't remember who sent it, and I didn't remember the name of the restaurant; merely that someone I trusted had mentioned good Banh Mi in Eden Center - I pulled in. I wasn't at all sure which restaurant it was, and there has been *so much* changeover in this shopping center in the past six months that Saigon West is borderline unrecognizable. I waffled a bit, then headed into Banh Ta, and as soon as I walked in, I thought to myself, 'This *must* be the place.' Banh Ta is a tiny little pillbox boutique, just a few stores down from the outstanding Thanh Son Tofu, which has the best tofu I've found in the DC area. Despite being just a counter, it's very upscale looking, with market goods and an atmosphere that reminds me of a smaller version of the incredible Phu Quy Deli Delight. If you haven't been to Thanh Son Tofu or Phu Quy Deli Delight: GO! I ordered a #1, Pork Belly (Bah Mi Thit ??, $4), the ?? being on the sign in the first link in the previous paragraph, and absolutely indecipherable by me and my illiterate Vietnamese (my apologies to native speakers - any guidance will be much appreciated). It's no secret that I haven't exactly been blown away by DC-area Banh Mi - in fact, the only ones I've had that I even consider "good" have been somewhat Americanized (Dickson Wine Bar and the underrated and under-appreciated Ba Bay). Until today, that is. Thanks to Jonathan's recommendation, I've now had what I believe to be the first authentic Banh Mi that I can say, with my European-influenced palate, and with an absolutely clear conscience, is *really, really good*! You don't even need a second one to fill up on, as the size is ample, so both qualitatively and quantitatively, we have ourselves a front runner in the local Banh Mi wars - you could say, if you valued bad puns more than honorable use of language, that this Banh Mi, won me. These three storefronts in Eden Center are less than 100 yards away from each other, and justify a special excursion to experience. I am - *finally* - sold on the merits of this sandwich, and I suspect that in Vietnam, it gets even better than this. Absolutely initialized in Italic in the East Falls Church section of the Virginia Dining Guide, and I'm very much looking forward to a repeat visit, thanks to the recommendation of Jonathan Copeland.
  10. Did not see a thread on this new addition to the Eden Center. Went there yesterday for lunch with a group of Chowhounders. We had a delicious meal with a ton of food. We ordered: Grilled shrimp and pork skewers with steamed vermicelli Whole crispy flounder with mango salad and ginger sauce Baby clams baked in clay pot with rice Grilled pork chop and sweet Chinese sausage on broken rice Marinated quails Garden rolls (called steam rice paper rolls on the menu) Baby clams with pork served with rice cracker My favorites were the whole fish, which was a huge, but really good dish. I lived the difference between the crispy, flaky fish and the tangy, sour salad. It was really nice. I also really liked the broken rice dish, the sausage and pork chops on it were marinated well and really tasty. The baked clams in the clay pot were preferable to the rice cracker ones, I think a bit moister, or maybe it was just the sauce with the salty clams and crispy rice. The shrimp were also good. All in all there weren't any misses, although the garden rolls could be skipped they were fine, but normal. It is a very pretty little space, and we really enjoyed the food. It was also nice to hang out with some very nice and cool people from this area with such great food knowledge, always a plus. I know some are on here too, and it is always so nice to put a face with a name.
  11. ArlNow reports that Pho Deluxe is planning to open on Sunday, July 5, 2015. Address is 2300 Clarendon Blvd (in Courthouse Plaza).
  12. I just realized this little gem of a Vietnamese place did not have its own listing in the Dining Guide, just a few passing mentions in other categories. Because the establishments that dot this plaza apparently are all closing as part of a construction project, I figured now was a good time to pay tribute. Coming in the door, the first thing you see is the bakery. A wide assortment of cakes and sweets are on display, and a book of cake decorations is available to order from. To the right are prepared foods, and I scored some rolls with pork sausage and a fine dipping sauce from the table. The case and the refrigerator have a goodly assortment of pork buns and jars of various vegetables and pickles. To the left is the seating area, with a nice looking buffet of about 8 options, including Don't favorite everything meatballs, pork cutlets, pig belly in sauce and a few other tempting delights. I noticed that most of the diners were indigenous, always a good sign, and a noticed quite a few polished-off bowls of pho with some deeply brown broth left in the bottom of one bowl. I had the combination banh mi, which for $2.75 included ham, head cheese and pate, along with maybe the least industrial bun I've had with banh mi in memory. This was an overall better combination banh mi than the dozen or more I've eaten at DC Sandwich. The aforementioned pork spring rolls were 3 to a pack, loaded with vermicelli, lettuce, shredded veggies and disks of pork sausage, with a tangy-sweet peanut dipping sauce. The pack was about $4.50, and the total with the banh mi and tax was $7.61. I'm stuffed to the gills. Out of fear that it may close or relocated sometime soon, I will put it in my near term rotation and make sure it gets a steady flow of revenue. But as long as it's open, there is absolutely no need to run to Falls Church for my banh mi fix.
  13. I remember going into Saigon City a few years ago when it was mostly lunch-counter pho, where you place the order at the counter and wait for your number to be called, then take your tray to a set. I don't know why I haven't been back in a few years -- it wasn't bad but it wasn't great -- and I don't know what compelled me to try it again today. But I'm really glad I did. Saigon City Restaurant is now a real restaurant, with a full Vietnamese menu and table service. And on a Friday afternoon, of the 25-30 patrons in the place, at least two-thirds were Vietnamese. That's always a good sign when an ethnic restuarant draws its peeps. Although there are many dishes I want to return for on what appears to be the most complete Vietnamese menu in Springfield (yes, I realize that's not saying much, and you can throw in Burke, Lorton and Occoquan as well!), I went with the cha gio and the meat combo pho today. (Note to self -- whenever writing about pho, taste it before you squeeze in the lime, dump in the basil and sprouts, and squirt in the hoisin and sriracha...) Anyway, it was good enough to return for. The cha gio scored high on taste, but they were a little smaller than the many Falls Church versions I've had. I will return and sample my way through the menu -- Shaky Beef and Lemon Grass Chicken, here I come! -- but I wanted to post this so that those of you with a hankering for Vietnamese in the Springfield area would have this place on your radar. http://www.saigoncityrestaurant.com/
  14. Tucked away in the corner is this small restaurant (which accepts credits cards) that serves some unique stuff (various offal, hot pots, seafood, etc.), although it is not clear what the prices are. Interested people must inquire, although they don't seem to speak much English. I ordered some spring rolls and bun cha hanoi (it's #8 on their menu, called bun cha bay lo). Bun cha hanoi are grilled pork, pork patties, and fish served in a bowl of hot fish sauce, accompanied by sides of herbs and rice noodles. One can dip the noodles and herbs in the bowl of fish sauce and eat it with some of the meat, or you can dump some noodles and herbs in another bowl, spoon some fish sauce and meat on top of the noodles/herbs and eat it. I did the latter. You are eating the herbs more or less raw since the fish sauce isn't hot enough like a bowl of pho to cook the herbs. This is certainly a different experience. With the spring rolls, it was $12 (after tax but no tip).
  15. Work overwhelms, phone is ringing, lovesick suitors bore to tears, girl escapes to Eden (Center.) Choosing a place to sit down at Eden Center is like picking a perfect shade of green paint: the problem is that there's only two thousand of them. Weaving through too-dark, too-dingy, too-loud, too-karaoke-infested, we landed at Four Sisters - a bright and welcoming spot smack in the middle of Little Viet Nam known as the Eden Center. The menu is exhaustive as many of these places are. Phorsaking pho, we went for the following: Green Papaya Salad - tart and crisp, full of cilantro and lime. Could have done without a wilted shrimp, but hey, can't have it all. Beef in lime juice appetizer - thin, flavorful slices and again full of cilantro and lime. Personally, these are two of my favorites, so I don't mind the repetition. Pork rice crepes - this dish takes a bit of engineering to be enjoyed fully. Take a slice of pork, lay a small soft crepe stuffed with more pork on top, add a chopstickful of diced carrots, and drizzle with fish sauce. Pray to archangels and cherubs that the whole contraption doesn't collapse. Carefully lift by chopsticks toward mouth. Otherwise it's a bit bland. Short ribs with caramelized onions - yum, so simple, take meat, add heat and a few spices, and a perfect comfort dish materializes. Afterwards, we poked around various bakeries and produce stores to ooh and ahh and open eyes so very wide. I got a bunch of superspringy baby bok choy, some almond cookies and some fish sauce. Also got to marvel at a kinky fantastic miraculous display of every pig part known to man - hearts, kidneys, uteri, tongues, etc. Warning: don't bring the easily shocked and the tender-hearted, they ruin the fun. ("Go back to saving the world," I mumble, administering a mental kick to their vulnerable soft bottoms.) All in all, a fantastic time was had by all and a great distraction when you want to escape from the office and when Cosi just don't beckon any more.
  16. I just realized that I should add this-An excellent Vietnamese restaurant in old town Fairfax (right next to Havabite Eatery, old school Italian/Greek/homey, also very good). We went here last Sunday w/ a group of 6, since it was cloudy & cool, we went for pho. 1 beef, 3 chicken, loads of spring rolls (don't judge) & chicken & veg for my Mom who is doing a whole 30 (& driving me mad w/ her queries about the miniscule amount of sugar in sauce?). i think this is the 3rd or 4th time I've eaten here & it is wonderful-great food, great service. This is the first time we ended our meal w/ sticky rice pudding topped w/ coconut cream & sesame seeds, & mango slices (gratis). It was the perfect choice for a celebratory lunch & I look forward to more meals here.
  17. I'm on a mission to eat at every restaurant in Eden Center. Today I went to Hai Duong, which according to Eden Center's website and Tyler Cowen, specializes in - Sizzling Fish Filet in Northern Style. I don't know if this is the same as Cha Ca La Vong or just something very similar. In this case, I was given a purplish sauce (I believe it's shrimp paste), peanuts, sliced onions, a plate of herbs (minty smelling), lettuce, rice noodle and then a sesame rice cracker. A little later a sizzling fish filet with lots of dill showed up. With Cha Ca La Vong, all the herbs are cooked tableside along with the fish. In this case, I wasn't quite sure what to do. I wrapped some noodles, herbs, fish and dill in lettuce, and dipped the whole thing into the shrimp paste. It was really good. The fish was moist and flavorful. I even liked their shrimp paste (I thought the version at Present was kinda gross). Tyler Cowen says to put everything on top of the cracker. I saw some older ladies eating them like lettuce wraps - so I went with that. I would love some tips on how to eat this. I probably should've asked my waiter.
  18. We tried Present Restaurant this weekend. It's at 6678 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church. (703) 531-1881. Website here, and it has their menu. The restaurant was full of customers. We enjoyed our dinner and definitely want to go back to try more dishes. The Washingtonian had an interesting story on this restaurant and chef. See article here. According to the article, Present is owned by Gene Nguyen who owns Pho Hot, and the chef Luong Tran came from Vietnam. The menu has many choices, and the names of the dishes make for some entertaining reading. I had the Silken shawl imperial autumn roll described in the article, and although I want to try other dishes, I definitely want to get this again next time. It's filled with a mixture of pork and prawns and had a very crackly fried but not greasy mesh surrounding the roll. My husband had Honestly white cloud, a vegetarian appetizer of steamed rice cakes in little plates topped with chopped gluten. It came with a soy based sauce and a little dish of chopped raw spicy peppers to dress up the rice cakes. We really liked this appetizer too. For my entrée I had the Hard-working piglet, which was small pieces of ribs in caramelized sauce. My husband had a tofu dish that sounds like it was Strolling in a lemongrass field (fried tofu with lemongrass) though he thought he ordered tofu with sweet and sour tomato sauce, but what he got was fine with him. We liked both entrees. For dessert, we got the caramel custard and the golden tropical orchard winter roll, which was a fried spring roll with pureed bananas and chopped fruit. We liked the custard better than the winter roll (the pureed bananas just weren't our thing). All the dishes were presented very nicely. The restaurant staff was very nice. Our bill was about $44 before tip (3 courses each and soda, tea). We thought this was a great inexpensive dinner. Have any DR folks been?
  19. I spent all day feeling terrible and craving soup, so when N came home we wandered over to 18th to try out Ben Tre, which apparently opened in August. I've been craving canh chua for weeks now, and I already knew that Pho 14's version doesn't really do it for me. But, man, did I score tonight! The soup hit all the high notes- sweet, sour, spicy- with yummy bits of pineapple and lots of tomato. There were little puffy bits of pork belly in there, too, and okra and pepper flakes. It was amazing and perfect. The shrimp toast appears to be shrimp paste, on toast, and then the whole thing appears to be battered and then deep fried. 3 pieces to an order. It is both good, and a little horrifying. N had a spicy beef soup which was also really tasty, but not what I wanted. Which was fine, because I was blissfully happy with my own soup. Now that I have found this place, I may be here at least once a week, it's a 5 minute walk from home.
  20. Kliman breaks the story that the ground floor of what I always thought was an unobtrusively handsome building will become the site of K&K's next adventure,"inspired by the cuisines of SE Asia." "Southeast Asia" is a pretty broad swath of territory, and the phrase bringing "modern techniques & execution to these traditional dishes," is pretty unhelpful, so I hungrily await further details. As I recall, Karoum once cheffed at Asia Nora -- whether this is relevant, I have no idea (and I never liked that place, anyway). But this sounds more noodle-y. Adam at the bar is always a good sign.
  21. One of Jorma Kaukonen’s favorite restaurants (on Arlington Blvd., but not quite Arlington, VA).
  22. When crawfish are in season, it's tough to go a week without heading out for a few pounds, and this weekend we set out early for lunch at what may be the most well-known of Houston's Viet-Cajun joints, Crawfish and Noodles. C&N has hosted Zimmern, Chang, and god knows who else, and they are clearly aware of their celeb-status, with t-shirts for sale prominently displayed as you walk in. That kind of hubris is typically not a great sign, and I have to admit approaching the rest of my visit as though I were cross-examining a hostile witness. C&N held its own, and while I didn't leave with a "We've Got Crabs" t-shirt (I mean, really), I can dig the food they're putting out. We started with an order of honey-garlic chicken wings, as requested by the 4-year old. He fell in love with the "Viet wings" at Cajun Kitchen, and hasn't stopped talking about them for weeks since. C&N's wings were solid, though I think we should have ordered the "Fish sauce" version for a more direct comparison. These were a bit too sweet for my tastes, with no heat. There are a variety of noodles and soups to choose from, and we went with the stir-fried rice noodle with mixed seafood. This is a hefty portion, with onion, celery, carrot, and crispy shallots mixed with shrimp, (chewy) squid, and fish balls, with a peppery sauce on the side ready to be mixed in. Delicious, and devoured quickly, but if we had to go head to head, we all agreed the crabby garlic noodles from Cajun Kitchen might edge out a win. The crawfish delivered. Choices are limited to spice level (though an intriguing "ginger grass" option is listed as being available at some point in the future). Medium is Houston-medium, which is to say, probably "hot" if you're coming from somewhere else. We opted for medium with a side of "hot" dipping sauce, and I would heartily recommend this combo. For the spice-loving but not super-spicy friends, the medium mudbugs alone are perfect. For those of us who prefer to see God when we eat, you can drag the tail through the sauce and get it done. Compared to the purely Cajun versions I grew up with (and have had at Houston places like The Boot in the Heights), these have a more pronounced garlic and citrus flavor. Priced at $10/lb, these were also the most expensive I've had thus far. Note on wait times: We got there just before noon on Sunday, and were 1 of 5 or 6 tables there. 30 minutes later there was a line out the door.
  23. On the advice of my Vietnamese barber, who knows a thing or two about Vietnamese food, I tried Pho 495 today for lunch. Emblazoned on the menu is "Best Vietnamese Noodle Soup in Northern Virginia' (or words to that effect) and I am inclined to accept that assertion. I had the No. 1 beef combo with added meatballs, and I was very impressed. This was a deeply rich and hearty broth, easily simmered for a very long time based on how much deep flavor and complexity it displayed. It was loaded with all the basic bits and pieces -- tripe, tendon, cartilage, beef pieces and the added meatballs. I can't say that I've had any better at all the various places I've tasted pho in northern Virginia, and I'm not stretching the truth. Too bad we're nearing the kind of weather where I tend to avoid hot soups, but I know I'll be back often in the autumn, or the next time we have a raw, rainy day. 7215 Commerce Street, Springfield www.pho495.com
  24. In newer news in Old Town, on Cameron Street just west of N. Royal, is a new-ish Vietnamese restaurant, Caphe Bahn Mi. Spotted it last week on my way back to the office from lunch, so made a point to go there today and try it out. There is seating for about 25 or so people, very simple decor and pleasant inside. Two young women were running the place, the one with the lighter hair was doing the cooking and the darker haired one took care of the FOH work. The menu has about five items under each category, and they are typically a pork , a chicken, a lemongrass, a garlic beef, and a shrimp or tofu prep. Most of the folks in the restaurant were having pho, but I knew with my time constraints today and the blouse I was wearing, pho was much too dangerous to eat (unless I went to the hair salon next door and got a big plastic cape to wear). Bahn mi are $5-$6, salads run $7-$10, entrees $8-10, pho is $8+ extras. I ended up getting the pork vermicelli with vegan imperial roll ($9) and a ginger soda ($3). The roll was very good -- rolled in cornmeal before frying for some added texture, but soooo hot when first served that unfortunately I had to spit the first bite out into a napkin before I burned my mouth. Note to self: imperial roll is best saved for the latter half of the meal! Once I tried it at edible temperature, I liked the texture, it wasn't greasy, it was very crisp and the filling was tasty and good texture, although it was a bit one-note, taste wise. Still, except for the too-hot bite, I made sure I finished it. It arrived with the entree on a long oval plate with a dipping pool at one end with the typical sweet-sour sauce, and the meat plated on top of the vermicelli on one-half of the plate with julienned carrots and cukes served on lettuce. No basil to be seen. Fish sauce and sriacha at the table. The pork was very flavorful and cooked until still a bit pale pink in the very center (I thought it perfect; my Mom would have sent it back b/c it retained a little pinkness and she is old school about overcooking pork). Noodles were fine as well. Overall, the cooking was done well, the veg was fresh, and I thought the pork had a nice grilled flavor. I'll definitely be back to try the pho.
  25. Huong Viet is better than Four Sisters, you wouldn't be going for the service or the atmosphere. It's divey but delicious. Love the lotus root salad with pork and shrimp, their caramel fish and some of the noodle soups.
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