Saigon Noodle serves amazing Pho and delicious food in the heart of Lafayette, Louisiana. Don’t let the strip mall location fool you…the food and the service will impress!
Last month my parents and I drove to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl. I wouldn’t have made the drive myself, but since I had them with me I figured it would be fine. Of course, about an hour after our lunch at Meso Maya in Dallas they were both sound asleep, so I had no co-pilots. Instead I had the radio and drive-by scenery to keep me company. I don’t like driving in the dark when I don’t know my surroundings, so my original plan was to stay in Shreveport. However, we left Stillwater very early that morning, which would put us in Shreveport by 3pm…and a 5-hour drive the next day. That made no sense, so we continued a few extra hours to Lafayette.
After checking into the hotel, it was time for dinner. I went on TripAdvisor, and found Saigon Noodle. As the #13 ranked restaurant in town, I knew it had to be pretty good. It’s about a 5-minute drive from the hotel, in a strip mall.
Saigon Noodle is a small place, seating maybe 30. As you enter there is a small space for a host stand, and a continuous waterfall. Behind that there are booths along both walls, tables in the middle, and the kitchen is in the back of the space. You just never know what the crowd is going to be like on a Tuesday evening, but the restaurant was full, which is a very good sign.
The Saigon Noodle menu is quite large, and I don’t do well with big menus. They offer appetizers, pho, noodle soups, vermicelli noodles, grilled meats, and egg noodles. Each page has 10-20 items on it. Since we were starving, we nailed down appetizers first, and started with the Winter roll for my parents
It wasn’t until I was writing this post that I realized the first 4 rolls listed on the menu are the seasons of the year (spring, summer, autumn, winter). The winter roll is served cold, and is the only vegetarian roll. I tried a bite, and it was very light and flavorful, and had a good mix of textures. The peanut sauce is much richer than I expected, especially for such a light tasting roll. But it was very good and not overpowering.
I got an order of the Vietnamese egg rolls
The freshly fried rolls came to the table screaming hot. The rolls are delicious, and the light sauce is a great accompaniment to the rolls. These are a perfect single-serving appetizer, unlike other restaurants where the appetizers could be a small meal.
I started to encourage my mom to get pho, but the server confirmed that all of the pho has a beef based broth. That’s not going to work out well for vegetarians. So they decided to both get the stir-fried egg noodles & vegetables, and got it with tofu
My mom ordered it medium spice, and my dad got it mild. A few bites in, and my dad’s forehead was sweating, a sure sign that his was spicy. When he commented about it, my mom said hers wasn’t spicy at all. The server clearly had put the plates down incorrectly, but we quickly fixed that. My mom wasn’t a fan of the sauce. I tried it, and thought it was very good. My dad really liked it.
My first pho experience was at Main Street Noodle in Stillwater, and although I really liked the dish, I wasn’t a fan of some of the meat textures. But I didn’t want to let that stop me from trying it again. As I mentioned earlier, the Saigon Noodle menu is very large. I couldn’t decide between pho and bun bo hue (spicy beef noodles). And then there are 25 different types of pho! No way I could figure that out on my own. Our server was very friendly and accommodating, and patiently explained the differences and her recommendations. I couldn’t decide which broth to get, so the server brought me a sample of both
The spicy beef broth was very good, and had a definite kick. The pho has a bit of anise flavor. I’m usually not a fan of that because I don’t care for black licorice. But this one was very mild, and I decided to go with that. Next up, the meat. Remember, 25 different types to choose from. I eventually settled on the oxtail combination
Oh. My. Word. This is absolutely amazing. The broth has such an incredible depth of flavor from the oxtail, and you really can’t taste the anise at all. I decided to be adventurous, and take a bite of the beef tendon and the tripe. NOT a fan. It doesn’t have any flavor, but the texture was just too much. I can’t even describe it. Our server told me that even though I got the combination, I could mix and match different types meat. The oxtail was my favorite meat. It was incredibly tender, and falling off the bone.
With the pho you get the enhancements on the side, so you can determine how much of anything you want to add
They also have this handy condiment display at every table so you can add your own sauces
At Main Street Noodle my server mixed the sauce combination for me. At first I thought that was a little weird, but it’s probably because I had never done it before. And besides, watching her helped me on this visit so I could mix my own. I have to say, I did a really good job.
I worked as hard as I could, but I just couldn’t finish the bowl. They definitely don’t skimp on the broth with pho. But I was not complaining at all.
Saigon Noodle was a great find. The food is fantastic, the service was good, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere.