Asian Restaurant List V1
You can take the girl out of South East Asia, but you can't take the Asia out of the girl, least of all when it comes to food. I've already talked about Golden Coast's buffet for authentic Chinese food on weekends, but what about the other days when I crave food that's familiar and comforting? Where are my go-to spots when I need my fix? Get your bookmarking mouse finger ready, this is a good 'un.
Soy Teriyaki Bistro | 5008 Maryland Way | SoyBistro.com
It's a pretty generalized name, gives you the impression that it's Asian but one might assume it's Japanese. It's actually more Korean leaning (the owners are Korean) and they offer various dishes from Korean inspired tacos served with their house sauces to rice bowls (pictured, right). The bowls are basically fried rice that come in four different styles: Traditional, Curry, Spicy and Hawaiian.
My favorite is the Spicy. It's got a good kick, not an overwhelming flavor and everything about it reminds me of home. At risk of sounding stereotypical, they know how to fry rice. You'd think it'd be hard to mess up something as simple as fried rice but there are places that either douse it with too much soy sauce and turn the dish brown, or have too little flavor or don't use rice cooked the night before.
Soy's fried rice is the right texture, color and most of all, flavor. They also serve traditional Korean dish specials like bulgogi on Saturdays (pictured, left) and bibimbap on Thursdays.
My recommendation is something slightly off-menu - I like my Soy Rice Bowl spicy with spam and a fried egg on top. Top. Notch. Don't knock spam, there are plenty of things you've probably eaten that are way worse than the idea of spam. However if you haven't, I don't think fried rice is a dish you'd even consider eating so, MOVING ON…
King Market | 1801 Antioch Pike
Right as you turn off 24 East onto Haywood Lane, you may not even notice the little Asian market by the Dollar General and Walgreens on Antioch Pike. King Market is a supermarket that sells very very Asian goods from herbal teas to spices and mixes you might not find in other international markets.
In the back corner of King Market is a little restaurant that serves Thai/Laotian/Vietnamese food. Their pho is delicious, they also have sticky rice and other very traditional fare, and a chicken noodle dish called kau piak.
Kau piak is a thick rice noodle (the size of udon) in a chicken broth that's been stewing. They shred fresh chicken with the noodles, top it off with tons of crispy garlic, cilantro and green onions and it's perfect on a rainy day like today.
They also have wings that are more asian style - lightly breaded with batter and spice then fried. I drool just thinking about it so definitely order the wings if you're there with friends.
They have a grab and go section by the check out and you can pick up some bahn mi or the handmade noodles they use in kau piak to take home. I believe they make the noodles fresh everyday.
Miss Saigon | 5849 Charlotte Pike | MissSaigonTN.com
Sure, most people go to Vietnamese places and order pho but that's not my personal favorite item on their menu. Miss Saigon has a crispy fried noodle dish (mi krob) that I highly recommend. I get it with seafood - good sized pieces of fish, shrimp, fish ball, squid and mussels, atop a bed of crisp fried egg noodles in gravy. You have to break the noodles and stir it all up with the gravy, then you can start enjoying the slightly noodle-y, slightly crispy noodles in the sauce and yummy seafood.
As for pho? Order it there, by all means. Most of the Vietnamese place on Charlotte Pike are decent places for pho but if I may offer one more hole-in-the-wall:
V&V Seafood Market | 4021 Nolensville Pike
When you think of Nolensville Road, you probably think of Mexican restaurants or K&S International Market. I learned only a year ago that there's a Vietnamese seafood market called V&V that, like King Market, is also a restaurant. They serve the typical Viet/Lao/Thai dishes and their pho is pretty fantastic.
I don't know if it's the spices they use, or if it's because it's not as frequented by non-regulars or non-Asians and they haven't had to compromise their traditional flavors to please the masses but it's really fragrant.
If you go with a friend who isn't into pho but loves seafood, they also offer crawfish or other boiled seafood, served in a massve bowl. The prices don't reflect the generous portions you'll get. Don't let the look of this place, or any of the other places I listed, fool you because the food is good.
So there you go - some of the places you may or may not have heard of or been to just yet. These are all based on my personal tastes, from the perspective of an Asian girl who's occasionally homesick and who looks to food to help comfort those feelings. These are the places I go to, I hope you give them a try and I hope you like them too.