When you’re searching for awesome ethnic food, always check out strip malls. The rent is low, and these spots usually cater to diners who grew up eating the food -- which leads to high standards and non-Americanized tastes. As the central food hub of one of the largest Vietnamese populations on the East Coast, Eden Center is the gold standard of high-quality strip mall dining.
If you’ve lived in DC for more than five minutes, you’ve probably already heard of it. Maybe you’ve already been. But you almost certainly haven’t done what I did, which is hit up almost every single one of them (yeah, there are like, 120) to find the best dishes under $10.
Before starting this list, I’ll level with you guys... there’s no pho. Let me guess: “No pho? What the pho-ck?” Listen, if you live in DC and you’re reading this, the odds are that you’ve already had really good pho. Step outside your comfort zone with these amazing dishes instead.
Bun thit nuong cha gio
Banh Cuon Saigon
Bun thit nuong, which literally means “grilled meat on noodles,” is a bowl of rice vermicelli topped with delicious char-grilled pork, tons of fresh herbs and vegetables, and chopped peanuts. Go with the option that includes cha gio (crispy spring rolls), dump the ubiquitous nuoc cham that comes on the side, mix, and boom. That’s the sound of the flavor bomb that just exploded right in your mouth.