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Rice Paper, Vietnamese in Eden Center - Charming Interior with Dangerously Classic Dishes


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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.

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Went back today with Hubby and BIL. We had pho and some vermicelli dishes for brunch. We also had some crispy spring rolls. The spring rolls were super fresh, just fried, but not too oily, I love eating them in a bite with the pickled carrots.

I had vermicelli with shrimp, pork, shredded pork and spring roll (didn't know Hubby was ordering spring rolls when I ordered but hey extra crispy spring rolls never a bad thing). But their shrimp have great flavor, I love the sauce they grill them with. Really good. All in all very good mix of veg/noodle/protein in the bowl. BIL's pho looked really good and a girl nearby had one of the lemongrass noodle soups and that looked ridiculously good in an I ordered the wrong thing kind of way.

We got there around 11:15ish, it wasn't packed, but there were some people there with bowls of noodle soups and other dishes, but it got busier as the lunch time approached. I think this is a Vietnamese place I will be able to convince Hubby to come back to a good bit as they had a nice range of interesting v. normal dishes. The servers are very nice they came over to make sure everything was good and were really nice and thorough with refills, or anything else.

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For lunch, we had

40. Cơm Tay Cầm Hến $10 - Baby Clams baked in a Clay Pot with rice and vegetables. The rice is crispy like a bibimbap, but the clams and unrecognizable vegetables (all were chopped into small pieces) have very little flavor. Add Sriracha and it becomes edible, but still nothing that excites me.

54. Bún Thịt Nướng $8 - Grilled Pork on rice vermicelli. Good pork but no different than what you'd get a other Vietnamese restaurants.

108. Ox Tail soup with mixed Vegetables - $15. Good soup with a good amount of oxtail, tendons, and vegetables (mostly bokchoy, napa cabbage and straw mushrooms).

An attractive restaurant with a relative small menu for "entrees." I like orderng lots of entrees and eating family style and this place is more of a noodle/rice type of place. At least that's my impression.

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I very much enjoyed the baby clams and pork from the appetizer menu. This was, to my tastes, one of the best versions of the dish I've had. We also really liked the mango salad with dried fish. Unfortunately, menu description did not list dried shrimp. +1 is allergic, but they were easy enough to avoid. Like Eric, I thought the grilled pork on vermicelli was fine, just not too exciting.

We arrived a little before noon on Saturday, and by noon it was packed. The noise in there is deafening. There are a lot of hard surfaces in there, and many babies exercising their lungs.

I would definitely return, perhaps at an off hour to enjoy the food in a more quiet atmosphere. The walk to Eden Center from the E. Falls Church metro is the perfect way to burn some calories prior to lunch, and yesterday's lovely weather made the walk very pleasant.

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Went there for an early lunch today and ordered their bun bu hue (I tried to order the bun rieu oc but the waiter made some gestures that implied that was not available) and #123 do bien rang muoi - crispy salted and spiced assorted seafood. First, the bun bo hue was really good in my opinion - two slices of pork trotter (with skin and all, which I didn't eat), slices of thinly sliced beef brisket, a cube of pork blood (didn't eat - I've never liked cubes of blood by themselves), a slice of delicious fish cake, a tasty seafood ball (can't tell what kind but it was pinkish), a hunk of tendon, all immersed in the most flavorful broth that I tried thus far (which is pretty much every place in Eden Center) and with a decent amount of heat. Don't be afraid to dump all the veggies (bean sprouts, cabbage, mint, basil, and whatever else they give you - I don't use lime though) into the hot broth and let everything cook for a little while. As I was finishing the noodle soup, the assorted seafood arrived. I would've preferred to have the dish served earlier (i.e., before I stuff myself silly with noodles) but they didn't ask how I like to be served (some places do ask if I order both noodles and an entree). Immediately I see some squid and shrimp, but I couldn't tell what the rest of the seafood was. After eating at least half the plate, I think there might be some pieces of scallops, and at least two kinds of fish/seafood ball/cake. The batter was a little thick and if you were just looking for salt/pepper squid, I say go to Huong Viet. On the other hand, if you want to try a plate of mystery seafood that was nevertheless pretty good, then order this dish. The shrimp were also a bit overcooked - I suspect because not everything on the plate should be fried for the same amount of time. The photo sucks - I've been taking photos with my Blackberry.

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I would never had expected that the best stuffed grape leaves that I would eat would be from a Vietnamese restaurant (actually, these were the first stuff grape leaves that I have ever liked). The dish is Bo Nuong La Nho, and is completely unlike a dolmade in that they were stuffed with seasoned beef. The only reason we could think of for grape leaves showing up on a Vietnamese table would be from the French influence, but I could not think of any French dishes using grape leaves - I am sure they exist, I am just not aware of them. But now I suspect that the dish is actually Bo La Lot using grape leaves in place of the harder to find betel leaves.

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Other dishes we had were Oc Nhoi, an escargot sausage that tasted like boudin blanc. It was really good when dipped in a slightly spicy fish sauce. We also had the Hen Xuc Banh Da - baby clams with minced pork, and Ca Kho To - caramalized fish. I didn't particularly like the the clams here (loved them when I had them at Nha Trang before grandma passed away) and the fish was just too sweet for me, and it was coated with lots of ground black pepper.

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After a chilly 4-inning, coach-pitch baseball game, all little man and I wanted was noodle soup. At first, I wanted pho, but I can't recall where to go for pho at Eden Center (closest to where his game was held), that didn't serve beef stock as their pho base.

So, I thought this would be a good place, as the menu is so versatile. I was initially disappointed to find out that the Chicken pho could not be substituted with a non-beef stock, but then the lovely female server directed me to page 11 (see above menu link) to other types of noodle soups.

We ended up splitting the Hủ Tiếu hoặc Mí¬ Tí´m Thịt ($8), which was noodles with/without soup and choice of egg or clear noodles with sliced roast pork and shrimp. We chose clear noodles with soup, and it really hit the spot (even with the roast pork slices a bit tough to chew).

I am never disappointed here and we left satiated and happy.

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Well, it's not far from you. :)

I know!  But right now I am swamped with work, taking care of the dog while Matthew is on travel for work and coordinating everything for Scottish Walk Weekend and then trying to help my Mom with a big project.  It sounds easy- just get in the car and go, it seems like a very easy thing to do.  I actually have been craving Out the Door (Slanted Door) but since I can't just hop to SF, and Rice Paper I think is the closest thing to their food.  I am surprised there aren't more posts on it actually.

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I don't think I can do anything here but add to the chorus of good things to say about Rice Paper. Inexpensive, extraordinarily flavors, lots of interesting dishes to try you would not get at an ordinary Vietnamese restaurant. Everything we had here was excellent, although the Gí  Xí o Xí£ á»št [Chicken sauteed with Lemongrass & Curry Chili] was easily the standout.

HIGHLY recommended.

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A friend of mine from Nashville was up in this area, she loves Thai food, and I want to get her into Vietnamese food, purely for my own selfish reasons as she is moving back up to this area.  So, of course, I took her to Rice Paper because who could not love Vietnamese food after that.  And the plan worked.  There was a line when we got there, but it moved very quickly and we had a seat in no time.

I got hot tea, she got coconut water.  We ordered Cha Gio, ever so slightly different Cha Gio Rice Paper, Nem Nuong for appetizers.  I would have preferred fresh garden rolls, but she doesn't really prefer shrimp.  The Cha Gio Rice Paper has a tiny bit better flavor of seafood to me with fish sauce I just prefer it, but both were good.  The Nem Nuong were good, and we really liked their dipping sauce, not sure what it was, garlic and...  For entrees I got Pho Ga as I just wanted something simple and light.  I love Pho Ga, it's kind of the ideal sick soup, but good any other time too.  I like the different spices from traditional chicken noodle.  The star anise, thai basil, etc.  The Pho Ga here has a great broth, that I could literally just drink by itself.  Which means you really couldn't screw up the noodles, which were also good.  Traditional accompaniments and plenty of chicken in there.  My friend had Com Bo Luc Lac I believe.  Rice with beef, carmelized onions, etc.  I had a bite and it was delicious and a good choice for her as it was really approachable.  Definitely can convince her to do it again.

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Friends and I went to Eden Kitchen this past Friday night. The portions were nicely-sized for the price, but found the taste was along the lines of some of the heavier-handed kitchens in Eden Center. I guess I'm spoiled by Rice Paper. They have a very extensive menu, which is nice. Little man seemed to enjoy his pho and egg rolls.

I ate at Rice Paper a couple of months ago at lunch and was not impressed.  I ordered some grilled pork dish with vermicelli noodles and the pork was very very dry.  Since people seem to like Rice Paper, what are they ordering there that is so good?

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I ate at Rice Paper a couple of months ago at lunch and was not impressed.  I ordered some grilled pork dish with vermicelli noodles and the pork was very very dry.  Since people seem to like Rice Paper, what are they ordering there that is so good?

I've never had any luck with ordering bun (meat/veggie + vermicelli) at any of the Eden Center restaurants, so I've learned to just avoid ordering it, unless I have a massive craving for it. Avoiding basically because all versions I've tried are just too dry.

They make really good noodle soups there, but my favorite dish there is the rice paper wraps with meat (don't get the shrimp option--you get a few shrimps that won't fill you up)--I think it's 101 or 102 on the menu.

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I've never had any luck with ordering bun (meat/veggie + vermicelli) at any of the Eden Center restaurants, so I've learned to just avoid ordering it, unless I have a massive craving for it. Avoiding basically because all versions I've tried are just too dry.

They make really good noodle soups there, but my favorite dish there is the rice paper wraps with meat (don't get the shrimp option--you get a few shrimps that won't fill you up)--I think it's 101 or 102 on the menu.

Mmm. Bí¡nh há»i. I often get that at a Vietnamese place near me (they also do the rice paper and lettuce leaves), so now I want to Rice Paper's version. That said, I am *not* very good at eating it elegantly. My chopstick skills combined with often stuck together noodles? Yeesh...

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Mmm. Bí¡nh há»i. I often get that at a Vietnamese place near me (they also do the rice paper and lettuce leaves), so now I want to Rice Paper's version. That said, I am *not* very good at eating it elegantly. My chopstick skills combined with often stuck together noodles? Yeesh...

I'd be up for a little Rice Paper get together, to try a few new things.  Anyone interested?  (I don't care if you are a messy eater, or not very well practiced with chopsticks.)  I could maybe do a lunch this coming weekend?  Next weekend is a little full for me, but I could also do the weekend after that. I don't think I have ever had the rice paper wraps.  Do you dip those in water before wrapping?  I saw a lot of people eating that there last time I went and was interested in what it was.

I really like a lot of their appetizers, especially their rolls.  I also love their Pho Ga to the point I need to make myself stop ordering it every time I go in, but it's also become somewhere I go when I don't feel 100% because the Pho Ga is really comforting.  Friends have gotten some noodle dishes with stir fry that were very tasty which I stole bites of, would have to look at the menu to recall the dishes.  I normally get pork with vermicelli at Sisters Grill or Nam Viet in Clarendon, so I don't normally order that here.

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I'd be up for a little Rice Paper get together, to try a few new things.  Anyone interested?  (I don't care if you are a messy eater, or not very well practiced with chopsticks.)  I could maybe do a lunch this coming weekend?  Next weekend is a little full for me, but I could also do the weekend after that. I don't think I have ever had the rice paper wraps.  Do you dip those in water before wrapping?  I saw a lot of people eating that there last time I went and was interested in what it was.

I really like a lot of their appetizers, especially their rolls.  I also love their Pho Ga to the point I need to make myself stop ordering it every time I go in, but it's also become somewhere I go when I don't feel 100% because the Pho Ga is really comforting.  Friends have gotten some noodle dishes with stir fry that were very tasty which I stole bites of, would have to look at the menu to recall the dishes.  I normally get pork with vermicelli at Sisters Grill or Nam Viet in Clarendon, so I don't normally order that here.

Yeah, you have to dip them in water. They are stiff and dry and need to be rehydrated.

As for the stir-fried noodles, that's probably something like mi xao mem (stir-fried soft yellow noodles) or hu tieu xao (the flat wide ones), 89-93 on their menu it looks like. I tend to prefer the yellow noodles...for no real reason, I think. Just because I tried them first probably.

I've never tried pho ap chao which, I think, are a noodle both stir-fried and crispy...something like that?

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I've never had any luck with ordering bun (meat/veggie + vermicelli) at any of the Eden Center restaurants, so I've learned to just avoid ordering it, unless I have a massive craving for it. Avoiding basically because all versions I've tried are just too dry.

They make really good noodle soups there, but my favorite dish there is the rice paper wraps with meat (don't get the shrimp option--you get a few shrimps that won't fill you up)--I think it's 101 or 102 on the menu.

Goodeats, are you being served nuoc cham (fish based dipping sauce) when you order the bun dishes? Bun and banh hoi really need to be drenched in fish sauce to avoid dryness. If the restaurant doesn't give you enough, you should ask for more. For a long time, I didn't enjoy bun and banh hoi that much because I thought they were dry and I didn't use a lot of nuoc cham because my family's version was so spicy. It wasn't until my tolerance for spice grew and I could drench my bun and banh hoi in nuoc cham that I grew to like those dishes.

Yeah, you have to dip them in water. They are stiff and dry and need to be rehydrated.

As for the stir-fried noodles, that's probably something like mi xao mem (stir-fried soft yellow noodles) or hu tieu xao (the flat wide ones), 89-93 on their menu it looks like. I tend to prefer the yellow noodles...for no real reason, I think. Just because I tried them first probably.

I've never tried pho ap chao which, I think, are a noodle both stir-fried and crispy...something like that?

I love a good pho (or hu tieu) ap chao, though I haven't had either in a while. Ap chao is stir fry but the cooked noodles are sauteed/fried (almost deep fried) first or separately so they make a little noodle pancake shape before the sauce and toppings are poured over top. Sometimes liquid smoke is involved to give the noodles a little smokiness which is really great. Regular stir fry, where the cooked noodles are added at the end and mixed up with everything else is usually referred to as "xao."

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Yeah, you have to dip them in water. They are stiff and dry and need to be rehydrated.

I really the grilled prawn paste rice paper wraps (107, I think), which are basically shrimp patties grilled on skewers of sugar cane (which the bf loves to chew on).  Sounds a bit strange, perhaps, but we ordered it originally on the waitress's rec and now it's a go-to.  It's three skewers (I think?) and plenty filling if you also use the vermicelli and vegis.  (Plus, when family visited from out of town, they got a kick out of the process of wetting the rice paper and rolling our individualized rolls.)

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Goodeats, are you being served nuoc cham (fish based dipping sauce) when you order the bun dishes? Bun and banh hoi really need to be drenched in fish sauce to avoid dryness. If the restaurant doesn't give you enough, you should ask for more. For a long time, I didn't enjoy bun and banh hoi that much because I thought they were dry and I didn't use a lot of nuoc cham because my family's version was so spicy.

Oh no, it isn't the lack of fish sauce added, although, being the weird Asian that I am, actually don't care that much for fish sauce. So I only add usually a teaspoon of fish sauce, and that's sufficient for me.

It's really the dryness of the pork that I haven't had much luck at. I think at Rice Paper, I had it once and the pork still had some moistness/sauce on it that made it a great bun, but once and at other places I've had bun, the meats have been grilled or cooked to a bit more than well-done. More like the chef put the meat on the grill or start cooking it, multi-tasked and then went, "oops."

I still like to order it because there's nothing like a good pork and egg roll bun at times. So I still do. ^_^

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Guys, I tried this place in November.  I didn't phodown it but I thought the pho was really bad. Just super bland.  It was the day after thanksgiving though so maybe that had something to do with it? The chicken wings were good.

I actually haven't tried their pho because it is made with their beef stock, but their other noodle soups that don't have a beef base are pretty good, but probably not the super rich type of flavor you may be looking for...

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I arrived at Rice Paper at 12 noon, meeting a friend for lunch at 12:15, and noticing there was only one table, a two-top, left in the restaurant. I didn't want to chance being shut out (this time next month, my friend will have two children instead of one), so I went ahead and let a gentleman seat me.

Sitting alone for awhile, and knowing we had to be gone by 1 PM, I went ahead and ordered myself a drink, and made an executive decision by getting a cold salad for us to split. Soda Sữa Há»™t Gí  ($4) is a Beaten Egg Soda, and seems to be a lemonade-based, slightly carbonated drink, slightly thickened by beaten egg whites (it's certainly possible there was some yolk in there too). If you want to try something new, this is light, refreshing, and only moderately sweet - this is a great soda.

Feeling pressure from a completely full restaurant, I ordered us a Gỏi Ngí³ Sen Tí´m Thịt ($11), a Young Lotus Salad with Shrimp and Pork. My friend arrived several minutes after the salad, and we enjoyed a fairly sweet salad, not comprised of the round, clock-dial slices of lotus root you're accustomed to seeing, but rather with very white-colored stems (or stalks), marinated in a sugared-down vinegar, and coming with middling, somewhat granular-textured pork, and decent, lightly steamed shrimp. It was "okay," but not something I'd rush to order again because it tasted like every other sweet, vinegary Vietnamese salad you've had a million times in your life, with nothing about it emerging as outstanding.

Being nearly nine-months pregnant makes you want a light, cool lunch on a hot day, and so we ordered Gỏi Cuốn ($4) two garden rolls, cut in half to make four pieces, and these, too, were pretty much standard-issue garden rolls - quite good, but nothing out of the ordinary (nor were we expecting anything out of the ordinary, as we were ordering extremely "safely"). Some things take precedence over duck testicles, which is what I had the last time I was here.

And to round out a light lunch sampling, CÆ¡m Chim Cíºt ($10), Marinated Roast Quails on Jasmine Rice - this was the one outstanding dish of the meal, the quails extremely generous in quantity, perfectly marinated, and with the skin beautifully crisped and the dark meat inside succulent and flavorful. This is number 40 on the menu, and I highly recommend it to diners at Rice Paper - quail is a very low-profit item for restaurants, and $10 for this dish was more than just fair; it was flat-out inexpensive.

To summarize, we didn't really test the kitchen at Rice Paper, but the one really "culinary" dish we ordered was a complete winner - it couldn't have been much better, and even the large scoop of Jasmine Rice was very well cooked. As we left Rice Paper at 1 PM, there was a line out the door of perhaps 7-8 people - this is the most popular restaurant in Eden Center right now, and for good reason.

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Don, I love reading this recent run of restaurant/food musings by you although I have not and perhaps will not actually visit any of those places, living two hours away as I do. Your restaurant eating/drinking experiences help draw a map of what a lovely eating and drinking experience might be, despite the potential difference in our palates.  Thank you for the meals you paint.

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Soda Sữa Há»™t Gí  ($4) is a Beaten Egg Soda, and seems to be a lemonade-based, slightly carbonated drink, slightly thickened by beaten egg whites (it's certainly possible there was some yolk in there too). If you want to try something new, this is light, refreshing, and only moderately sweet - this is a great soda. 

We had dinner here about 10 days ago and, for whatever reason, this soda was unavailable.  I really wanted one too!

Because it was our first visit, we ordered fairly simply.  Both the pho and bun bo hue were super-satisfying on a cold December night (yes, it was cold if you can believe that).  The papaya salad was a refreshing counterpoint, though maybe a bit too licorice/fennel-y for my tastes.

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MichaelBDC and I were in the area around lunch time earlier this week and bypassed our usual spot, Huong Viet, for Rice Paper. We were there around 11:30am and it was already nearly full. Luckily there was an open two top so we were able to get seated promptly.

We started with bo nuong la nho, which consisted of five rolls of seasoned ground beef stuffed grape leaves and grilled and garnished with sautéed scallions and peanuts. Pickled daikon and carrots as well and cucumbers and some lettuce leaves were served on the side. A small dish of nuoc cham for dipping was also served. The dish is traditionally made with wild betel leaves (and called bo nuong la lot), but grape leaves were used here, probably because they are easier to get a hold of. Growing up a fermented anchovy paste was generally used for dipping instead of the nuoc cham, but I never cared for the anchovy paste so I didn't miss it even though the nuoc cham didn't add anything to the dish. Overall, the dish was great. The meat was very moist and flavorful, though it was juicier than it should have been.

For entrees, MichaelBDC had the bun bo hue while I had the bun cha Hanoi. Unfortunately, the bun bo hue, was a big disappointment. I knew something wasn't quite right as soon as it came out and even wondered if they brought us the wrong order. One sip of the broth confirmed that MichaelBDC did get bun bo hue, but one in which the broth was oily, without much depth, and severely lacking in lemongrass. Still, it wasn't too bad and MichaelBDC ate about half the bowl before declaring himself full and tapping out. The bun cha Hanoi was really good. I really enjoyed the mix of the grilled pork, pork patties, rice noodles and herbs doused in plenty of nuoc cham.

To drink Michael had the soda chanh, fresh squeeze limeade with sugar and club soda while I could not pass up the café sua da, which did not disappoint.

Overall, we had a nice time and ate well but the subpar bun bo hue was the most memorable part of lunch.

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I'm surprised at the review for the bun bo hue. I've had it several times and have enjoyed it each time. I think it is a pretty authentic version of this dish for the area.

I think that this restaurant is doing consistently good Vietnamese food. I'm so glad it opened at Eden Center, especially since Four Sisters moved to Merrifield, which is more out of my way.

Some dishes I enjoy:

  1. Bun bo hue - as I said earlier, I think it's very authentic and I've always been impressed with the flavor. Sometimes, they have the traditional accompaniment of shredded banana blossom and sometimes they don't but the flavor always delivers.
  2. Bo luc lac - the beef is really well done, very tender and not at all chewy. 
  3. Goi cuon  - always freshly made, none of the chewy premade stuff you find at other places.
  4. Goi vit - boiled duck on a bed of lightly dressed shredded cabbage and banana blossom. It's substantial enough to make a meal but also very light at the same time.
  5. Goi ngo sen- more heavily dressed than the goi vit and has both shrimp and fatty pork
  6. Com tay cam dac biet - similar roots to China Chilcano's concholon. I seldom see this dish at other Vietnamese places. While not as rich as the concholon, it is a hearty comfort food kind of dish.
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Taking MK's parents to Rice Paper was a lot of fun.  They both got vermicelli with caramelized pork and spring rolls.  And they liked it!  They were fascinated that I got a dish with rice paper rolls.  We got a parking space right up front which was amazing.  Anyway a good time had by all, we were in the neighborhood to go to a fabric store to get some silk button enclosures and it worked out.

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We had a very enjoyable meal the other night. We started with 2 types of rolls, #6 Chả Giò and #7 Nem Nướng, both of which were great in their own way -- the crispy-ness of the fried rice paper, the jerky-ness of the Vietnamese pork. They also came with tasty dipping sauces, and a helpful explanation from our server, which was forgotten within moments of her walking away. I don't know what the sausage was in #42 Cơm TayCầm Đặt Biệt, but combine it with the crunchy rice at the bottom of the pot, and you have yourself a tasty morsel. #65 Bún Đặt Biệt was a standard meat and noodle dish, and was solid if unspectacular. You wouldn't want it as your only main, but it served as a nice accompaniment to the other dishes we got. Finally #126 Bò Lúc Lắc was as described by thuand above, small and tender chunks of beef in a tasty soy-based sauce. It also came with a dipping sauce for extra flavor enhancement. My one quibble with the dish is a minor one: I could have done with less watercress (which just gets in the way) and more onions.

The service was very good, offering tips on how to eat the food, and multiple water refills without having to ask.

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I had dinner last night at Rice Paper, and went with someone who wasn't familiar with Vietnamese cuisine.

I ordered a sampler platter, and the old saw, Caramel Fish in a Clay Pot (in this case, an iron pot), and we came away largely disappointed.

#24 Cơm Tấm Đặc Biệt ($11) was the RICE PAPER Special Combo Rice Platter with Grilled Pork Chop.tofu stuffed with shrimp paste.shrimp.fried egg.shredded pork.shrimp rolls with sweet chinese sausage on broken rice.lettuce.tomatoes.fish sauce. It was a nice "intro course" to various Vietnamese dishes, but once you got past the cultural aspect, there was nothing there of any culinary interest. I sort-of "knew" this heading in, but ordered it anyway, so it's largely my fault. 

#116 Cá Kho Tộ ($13) Caramelized Fish in a Clay Pot was just plain bad. Tilapia in something resembling a thick, gooey, Oyster sauce - it was pretty bad, not being very caramelized, and the portion being surprisingly small. I thought *sure* this would be a can't-miss dish for a neophyte, but I was wrong.

I'll tell you what *did* look good: Two tables had something that looked like a Masala Dosa - I went and asked what it was, and was told it was a crêpe, folded in half to make a semi-circle, and stuffed with all sorts of things. The crêpe itself was egg-based, and a very appealing yellow color - I said to the woman who ordered it, that it looked wonderful, and she said it was. So next time, I'm heading straight for a crêpe dish. One example of this might be:

#106 Bánh Xèo ($10) Southern Crepe stuffed with Shrimps.Pork.Mung Beans.Onion.Bean Sprouts - that sounds about right. 

Note that these numbers are slightly different in the restaurant than on the online menu, so don't memorize them; the menus themselves are organized very similarly, so you might at least want to browse it before you go.

Also note that we went here at around 4:30 on a Tuesday, and all my other meals here have been terrific, so I'm going to assume that the Caramelized Fish was a one-off. In general, I find anything that says "... cake" (fish cake, shrimp cake, etc.) to be about as exciting as a Chicken McNugget, and that holds true for all Vietnamese restaurants.

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Google how to eat Banh Xeo before you order one.  In short, you're supposed to cut up the Banh Xeo, wrap it in lettuce with herbs, and dip in sauce.  It makes a world of difference in flavor.  If you just eat the Banh Xeo like an omelette, it's pretty bland.  I haven't found a way of eating it neatly yet.  You will need lots of lettuce, so I ask for extra.  Some restaurants charge you for extra lettuce.  Banh Xeo is one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes.

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Rice Paper does make a pretty good bánh xèo, so I'd recommend giving it a try.

Or, you can get what I usually get there, the fajitas of Vietnamese cuisine: chả cá thì là (aka chả cá thăng long). Turmeric-colored fish covered in dill served on a sizzling platter. Comes with rice noodles, lettuce, herbs, etc. to wrap just like bánh xèo. And a piece of bánh tráng mè, the black sesame cracker. Never quite figured out why...I might not be eating the dish quite correctly. :)

(Aside: Not sure if it's the best variant in Eden Center because I haven't tried the Hai Duong version (well, at Eden Center; I've tried the Hai Duong Springfield one). This dish and the Hainan chicken rice a couple places serve in Eden Center are ones I'd love to know who makes the "best" version to eat there. I say Banh Cuon Thanh Long has the best banh cuon just because I love it and head there most often at Eden Center to eat.)

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Ate here last night with my wife and son.  My son who had never eaten Vietnamese food ordered after discussing with server.  Not sure what we had but the three dishes were great including one of the signature rice paper dishes where you make your burrito. we did ours with beef.  Place was rocking so that we had a 10 minute wait for a table at 730.

We will definitely put it into our rotation as son lives close by in south Arlington and we stay in Tysons Tuesday and Wednesday nights,

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On 3/14/2018 at 10:23 AM, Ericandblueboy said:

Google how to eat Banh Xeo before you order one.  In short, you're supposed to cut up the Banh Xeo, wrap it in lettuce with herbs, and dip in sauce.  It makes a world of difference in flavor.  If you just eat the Banh Xeo like an omelette, it's pretty bland.  I haven't found a way of eating it neatly yet.  You will need lots of lettuce, so I ask for extra.  Some restaurants charge you for extra lettuce.  Banh Xeo is one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes.

Actually it shouldn't be lettuce but mustard green. The bitterness of mustard green balances out the flavor nicely. Add the sweetness of Jicama instead of blandness of bean sprout then you are in for a treat.

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Went to Rice Paper last Thursday night for the first time and was really impressed with the duck curry soup special I got.  They actually had a number of duck dishes on special that evening which I would be interested in trying if they're available again.  We also got spring rolls which were good but I'm generally indifferent towards as an appetizer and then the "Imperial Autumn Roll" which on the menu is described as: "Crispy rice thread wrapper filled with marinated minced prawn, crab, taro, and yam combined with added spices and wrapped into rolls" which I really liked.  Next time I'd definitely like to try the quails which I saw come out and looked beautiful.

 

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