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Exploring Asian cuisine in the Triad

by Kristi Maier

The Triad is definitely changing in the way of Asian cuisine. While one city may be lacking in a certain area, another makes up for it. For instance, good luck finding some decent Vietnamese in Winston-Salem but it’s trying to come along.

It still can’t hold a candle to Greensboro. But Thai places? Winston-Salem is where it’s at. And High Point may have the best Chinese restaurant in the area.

Here’s a hit list of some of our favorite Asian restaurants and what makes them shine. If you don’t see one of your favorites, it’s probably because it either didn’t make the cut or it’s one of the few places I haven’t tried. Don’t worry, just send me a tweet or email and I’ll put it on our list for next time, because my little microfoodies might not always enjoy a cheeseburger, but they can knock down some Asian cuisine.

PHO HIEN VUONG 4109 SPRING GARDEN ST., GSO

PHV used to be tiny and now it basically stretches the length of what used to be a shopping plaza. Known for its amazing fried spring rolls and various types of pho and vermicelli bowls too. Plus the Chicken Curry is second to none. They serve Thai food as well. I’ve never had a bad meal at PHV and boy do I leave full. Don’t do like I do. Take some home for the next day.

SAIGON 4205 GATE CITY BLVD. (ALSO KNOWN AS HIGH POINT ROAD), GSO

Another Greensboro institution. We told you that the Gate City is where it’s at for Vietnamese. At Saigon you can get hot pots and such. Saigon also has the best fresh spring rolls in the Triad”¦or at least their dipping sauce elevates the rolls above others. Tom Ka is delicious here as well. But if something comes in a pot, just get that okay?

CHA DA THAI 420 JONESTOWN RD., WS

Located in a shopping center on Jonestown Road (as well as a location in Boone) there’s a great selection of Thai specialties and favorites and pretty moderate prices. Food here is also served somewhat family style as most Thai places and it comes out piping hot with fresh vegetables cooked al dente. The curry here comes with a few more colorful veggies than PHV. The broth is flavorful but not quite creamy with coconut milk. Lovely ambience as well.

THAI SAWATDEE (3 LOCATIONS IN WS)

Thai Sawatdee has three locations, but if you ask anybody in WS, they will probably tell you that their favorite Thai is actually the one that’s a walk up counter at the Harris Teeter on Cloverdale Avenue, affectionately called Teeter Thai. There’s a new location that’s a bit farther out on Robinhood that is more relaxing. What makes Thai Sawatdee at HT so cool is that you can order your Thai, grocery shop, and then pick up your Thai to either eat there or take home. I’d take it home since it’s not awesome sitting between tomatoes and the bathroom.

98 ASIAN BISTRO 1800 NORTH MAIN ST., HIGH POINT

Talk about one of the prettiest restaurants in the area. 98 Asian is located in an old car dealership that’s been turned into retail/restaurant space. It’s dimly lit with a big Buddha watching over. The accessories and dipping bowls are hammered steel and just give everything a romantic vibe while still family friendly. The food is delicious but definitely try the White Pepper & Garlic dishes while you are there.

MIZU 3374 ROBINHOOD RD., WS

The sushi at Mizu will make you happy to be alive. It’s gorgeous, inventive and delicious. It’s pricier than some places, but totally worth it. And you can get hibachi and rice dishes but the sushi is where it’s at. Located beside a Lowe’s Foods in a shopping center. Blink and you’ll miss it. Don’t blink.

SUSHI REPUBLIC 329 TATE ST., GSO

A very close #2 for sushi (and it used to be my #1 before I met Mizu), this Asian Fusion restaurant also has gorgeous , fresh sushi. If you like edamame, you should order the garlic version. Incredible. Our favorite roll there is the Black Tiger Roll but you really can’t go wrong no matter what you order. Vegetable tempura is delicious too, though I wish the dipping sauce were more on the traditional sweet side. Nice, spacious location in a modern atmosphere.

FULL KEE 3783 SAMET DR., HIGH POINT

Full Kee is not just Chinese, it’s GOUR- MET Chinese and it puts to shame just about any other Chinese restaurant, take-out or otherwise. This is the place my microfoodies discovered that yes they do like Asian cuisine. Full Kee has many of the Chinese dishes you’ve come to love, but I implore you to try some of Chef George Yu’s specialties like the Crispy Beef and especially, ESPECIALLY the Full Kee Shrimp.

It’s a combination of Philomena Shrimp, jumbo shrimp in a creamy white sauce (think that somewhat sweet seafood sauce you might like with your Hibachi) and Walnut Shrimp, jumbo shrimp in a sweet tomato, walnut sauce. Full Kee has an elegant setting and bar, a full-service sit down restaurant with great lighting and authentic decor.

SAMPAN 985 PETERS CREEK PKWY., WS

We recently discovered Sampan because it seems like every chef in Winston-Salem loves the place. If it’s loved by the pros, you definitely should check it out. The thing to do at Sampan is ask for the “other menu.” You’ll have “authentic options” on the regular menu, but the “other menu” has photos and very VERY authentic dishes. The #1 dish to try seems to be the Foo Keen Chicken. Just order from the other menu and you’ll be glad you did.

WEN HWA 134 SPRUCE ST. N, WS

This restaurant deserves a mention. Wen Hwa suffered fire back in April and we are still waiting for owner Connie and her team to resurrect this place. It’s easily the number one visited restaurant by my family in all of Winston-Salem. Yes, it’s right down from our office, but you really can’t beat a lunch that includes an egg roll and an entrée for $6.95. We know that like the phoenix, it will rise from the ashes and when it does, definitely stop in for lunch or dinner. The beautiful décor and excellent service, in addition to stellar, fresh and hot food will keep you coming back for more. We wait, however.

Honorable mentions:

PHOENIX ASIAN CUISINE 1461 NEW GARDEN RD., GSO

Looks like a restaurant based on a major chain that has initials. The way I see it, Phoenix was in GSO before that other place was. And they are 10x better too. The Pineapple Fried Rice is amazing. The Firecracker shrimp is crispy, light and slightly spicy and I get it every.single.time I go. Spicy Fish is another fave. They also serve sushi. A winner, for sure.

DA SA RANG 4929 WEST MARKET ST., GSO

Korean, located in the Super G shopping center on Market Street in Greensboro. It’s a tiny place but quite popular. I’ve only been there once for a tasting type event so I can’t speak of what specifically to get. Know you’ll have great service when you are there. Steamed buns are a hit as well as the bulgogi. After you are finished, you must shop at Super G. !

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