Thousands of miles away lies Can Tho, a lush and bountiful region called the “Bread Basket of Southeast Asia,” where French and southern Mekong Delta ingredients infuse “Can-Tho-nese”-style cooking. Although Nam-Viet Pho-79 is located in Clarendon, its cuisine hails straight from the tropical southernmost part of Vietnam.
Nam-Viet’s wholesome culinary dishes meet the demand of its patrons for high energy with non-fattening nourishment to sustain them through the workday. The restaurant has satisfied customers of every nationality with exceptional fare and more than three generations of service.
In each authentic Vietnamese dish, diners will find great appeal with unique distinctions in tastes. An ideal start to any dining experience at Nam-Viet begins with an appetizer. A quickly prepared item, shrimp toast ($4.95) includes shrimp with onions and sesame spread on two French baguettes, then deep-fried and served with fresh romaine lettuce and homemade fish sauce.
For a light luncheon or an elegant dinner, an order of soup offers a warm starter for the health-conscious. An integral part of “Can-Tho-nese” cooking is soup. As one of Nam-Viet’s signature creations, sup mang cua ($4.15) is served with crabmeat, egg whites and white asparagus; fresh cilantro, onions, parsley and chives top the broth.
Filled with an abundant array of spices, herbs and seasonings, grilled entrees are the staple specialties of Vietnamese cuisine. These dishes utilize exceptionally fine quality ingredients, marinated in house sauces and served with rice vermicelli or steamed jasmine rice. Mix xao don ($12.55) is a perfect meal for the indecisive: the sautéed medley of mixed vegetables accompanies tender chunks of beef, chicken and jumbo shrimp served on a bed of crispy yellow noodles.
Ancient secret recipes nuance the chef’s specialties. The lemon grass and ginger-sautéed dishes are highly recommended, offering succulent meats tossed in homemade marinades. Ga Cam ($11.35) combines fried corn flour-breaded chicken with ginger and oranges, served in a house citrus sauce. Diners can choose between mild and hot flavors.
As with all dishes on the menu, chefs take the utmost care in culinary preparation, remaining true to recipes passed down through many generations. Curry-flavored entrees offer a light and subtle taste, and the curry seasoning does not overpower the meats or seafood it complements. In keeping with Vietnamese tradition, cari combo ($13.95) blends shrimp, squid and scallops with curry spices. Snap peas, carrots, ginger and potatoes add to this assortment and the entree comes with steamed rice.
For a low fat and nutritious meal, try the goi tom ($8.45). Fresh shrimp, fried red scallions, chopped peanuts and a special fish sauce dressing top off a mixture of shredded cabbage, celery, bell peppers, onions and mint.
Finish any of the featured meals with a sweet delicacy and a little entertainment. The banana flambe au rhum ($4.95) features drizzled honey and sesame seeds atop fried bananas. Flaming Puerto Rican rum makes this simple banana dessert dish visually stunning. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to cool down this fiery treat.
Friendly smiling waiters add to the welcoming atmosphere at Nam-Viet. For diners in a rush, they can request meals be cooked within a time that best meets their needs. For reasonably priced authentic Vietnamese food, Nam-Viet is a top pick.