Being just past the crest of a hill, it is easy to zip right past Nam Phuong on your way down Buford, but that would be a huge mistake, because this place is a gem. Only open for about a year, this second location isn’t even listed on the original restaurant’s website yet. I haven’t been to the original, but with this location so close, I don’t think I’ll ever need to venture that far.
It is always gratifying when the BuHi Food Expedition project collides with a pre-existing favorite of ours. Adam and I had been to Nam Phuong twice previously, after being turned on to the place by our friends Eden and Nok. So I was looking forward to sharing this place with Ash, Steve, and Steve’s sister, Laura.
The atmosphere is pleasant – the floorplan is very open, and the three banks of windows let in a lot of light. There’s even a little fountain. The staff was very friendly, if not always easy to find. The menus are bilingual, which was very nice, because I am not very good with Vietnamese, and I like looking at the words and trying to learn.
|A sneaked shot of the restaurant.|
For appetizers (which we wolfed down without taking any pics), we had bo bia – rice paper rolls with jicama, eggs, asian sausages and salted shrimp ($3.50) – and thit nuong cuon – barbecue pork rolls ($3.50). Both dishes came with two large rolls, that we were able to cut into three good-sized pieces, letting everyone try. As a group, we seemed to favor the bo bia over the thit nuon cuon, though both were good.
For dinner, Adam was the winner. He ordered banh hoi – what we enjoyed so much at Co’m. It was a little different here. Instead of just lettuce, we also got paper wraps, and hot water to dip them in to make them pliable. The waitress even put on gloves and did a demo for us at the table. It was a fun meal to make, and we enjoyed it quite a lot. So much in fact, that we will attempt to make it on our own this week. Specifically, he ordered the tom nuong – which means the protein on the wrap was seasoned barbecue shrimp. So delicious.
|Adam assembling his tom nuong.|
|A finished roll.|
Ash ordered the bun dac biet – spring rolls, meatballs (more like patties), barbecue chicken, and shrimp on vermicelli ($8.50). I had a bite of the meat patty and it was delicious. Also the fish sauce that you see Ashley pouring on in this shot was heavenly. So good.
|Bun dac biet with fish sauce.|
Laura is a huge fan of fried rice (com chien in vietnamese), so she got the com chien duong chau – deluxe fried rice ($7.95).
| Com chien duong chau.|
I got the canh chua bap chuoi hai san – what a mouthful! Canh means soup in thin broth, according to my menu, and the full dish was seafood with shredded banana flower in sweet and sour broth, topped with herbs. Oh my… so tasty. Adam and I ran out of steam after tearing up the banh hoi, so I wound up taking this to lunch the following Monday and was it ever tasty. I think I enjoyed it even more than I had at dinner, probably because I had a clean palate. Amazing.
|Canh chua bap chuoi hai san. To spot banana flower, look for brown strands in the bottom right part of the pic.|
Steve went for a rice porridge soup affair. The chao do bien, also called seafood congee ($6.95). It wasn’t his favorite thing, or quite what he expected when he ordered. I guess you can’t win them all.
|Chao do bien|
As in previous visits, I had a fantastic meal (I also recommend the shaking beef dish, and the vietnamese egg nog drink), so I very much wanted to give Nam Phuong 5 stars. However, the service was not that great this go-around… we endured a very long wait for our check. So Adam and I gave it 4.5, Ashley and Laura did as well, and Steve was the least impressed with 4 stars. So, 4.5 stars. Hopefully, the spotty service is not a habit, and future visits will earn Nam Phuong 5 stars. In the meantime, I will certainly recommend that you give it a try if you’ve never been.
4051 Buford Highway NE
Atlanta, GA 30345