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Xia brings the fusion to Winston-Salem

by Kristi Maier

| @triadfoodies

Hiding in plain sight, Xia Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar is propped up off of Liberty Street in what many call the “Sharpe Building” at the corner of 3rd Street. You might miss it if you aren’t looking for it. But in a city that has a variety of ethnic restaurants to enjoy, including an abundance of Thai cuisine, what Winston-Salem has been lacking to this point is “¦ Vietnamese.

How can there be no Vietnamese in this city? It’s not the case anymore as Xia (pronounced C-ya) has quietly””almost too quietly””introduced the ever-adored Pho to their menu, which also includes a variety of Asian cuisines and even sushi. Xia has a well-rounded menu to say the least. They don’t call it fusion for nothing.

We first visited Xia about a year ago and while the service was wonderful, the sushi was just pretty good, not that that’s a bad thing. Finally, we decided to check them out again. This time, to see if the Pho lived up to the promise. And we ordered the Chicken Curry as well. And the little one ordered Honey Sesame Chicken with “no sesame.”

First the Pho. Awesome. Gloriously steaming hot, served with Thai basil, bean sprouts, lime and jalapeños on the side. I’ve had the rare beef pho and the beef combo on another occasion. I like the rare beef version of the two. The beef combo includes delicious meatballs but for some reason the simplicity of the beef was more enjoyable. On another trip, I ordered the chicken. It was almost as good, but I still like the beef best. Next try will have to be shrimp.

My partner in crime almost always hits up the curry when trying a new spot. Xia’s Chicken Curry is not in the form of the soupy version you may have seen. This is chunky with veggies and chicken and shoots with white rice served alongside. Robust and spicy.

A little background. Owner, Xia Lieu, used to have his restaurant in the space occupied by Wen Hwa on Spruce Street. Xia moved to the Liberty and 3rd Location and then Wen Hwa took over at Spruce. We visited Wen Hwa a lot, mostly because my kidlets loved it, but it was damaged in a fire this past spring and has subsequently closed. My children cried when Wen Hwa made the “permanently closing” announcement. We’ve kind of been on the search for a spot that has its awesome Sesame Chicken and General Tso Chicken. And our little one was thrilled when he found that his “no sesame” “sweet” chicken at Xia was perfection. Crispy with a rich, amber sauce just like that place a couple streets over. There’s a reason the recipes are so similar. “My dad is the chef here,” Lieu says. “It’s his family recipe. He taught them how to do it before we moved here.”

Lieu says business is pretty good in the location but he thinks it could be better. “We have free parking. A parking deck below and we’ll validate your parking stub, plus we have free parking all around in the evening.” Lieu says they do a good deal of take out, but his dream would be to also offer delivery, as long as he has the staff to make it happen (hint hint, if you need a job).

Lieu says he’d love to open up a Vietnamese restaurant in the future, “because Winston-Salem needs a true Vietnamese restaurant.” But for now, he’s just making it happen at his current corner of the world.

We’ll definitely be going back for more Pho and “honey sesame chicken with no sesame.” But when asked his favorite dish, Lieu says “Singapore Street Noodles.” And he suggests to get a flavor of what his father is churning out, “try the Seafood with Noodles or the Atlantic Salmon with sweet chili sauce.” Service is pretty speedy during lunch, easily in and out in under an hour. And you can get out of there for less than $8 for lunch which can’t be beat for the caliber of food.

So the next time you’re with a group and the suggestions are something like this:

“Stir fry!”

“Noodles!” “Sushi!” “I need Pho!” or “I want Honey Sesame Chicken but no sesame!””¦.

Well, now you know where to go. !

WANNA go?

Zia Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar is located at 102 West 3rd Street, Winston-Salem.

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