Jeff Smith 4 p.m., Dec. 20
Saigon on Fifth
When looking for this restaurant you need to look on University Avenue in Hillcrest, not 5th Avenue, as the address would have you believe. The actual restaurant is just off the corner of 5th Avenue and University Avenue--this can get complicated.
I visited Saigon on Fifth because I wanted a hot bowl of Pho...and that is what I ordered. But Saigon on Fifth has so much more on their very complete Vietnamese menu. Their Pho is traditional, with quality ingredients. They start with a broth base (beef, chicken or seafood) and add rice noodles to this richly flavored, delicately prepared soup. Then the soup is topped with onions and cilantro and served with fresh basil leaves and bean sprouts on the side. I ordered the chicken broth Pho with shredded chicken ($7.95)
One of the most popular menu items is the Imperial Rolls. Madam Jade's secret recipe uses rice paper filled with fresh crabmeat, shrimp, chicken and vegetables ($5.95). For those who object to fried rolls, Spring Rolls ($5.95) are available.
Coconut Shrimp is another house specialty. Whole shrimp are baked in a fresh whole coconut with the natural coconut juice blended into a seasoned sauce ($15.95).
Saigon on Fifth is open VERY long hours from 11 a.m.–-3 a.m. seven days a week. There are lunch specials, the White Buddha Lounge for late night enjoyment and free underground parking in the adjacent building.
Saigon on Fifth 3900 5th Avenue San Diego, CA 92103 (619) 220-8828 http://saigononfifth.menutoeat.com/
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