Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nam Phuong - Atlanta

Nam Phuong is by no means a newcomer to Atlanta’s collection of Vietnamese restaurants but their Jimmy Carter Blvd location has, for me, kept it out of sight and out of mind. However, that all changed when Nam Phuong’s Buford Highway outpost opened. I was back in Atlanta after the fourth and Jennifer & Aaron had a new pho restaurant that they were eager to show me. With promises of better broth than Pho Dai Loi #2, I was more than happy to head to the new Nam Phuong for dinner.

Like so many other meals at a Vietnamese restaurant, this one began with an order of cha gio.

The shells may have broken during frying but these spring rolls had a satisfying crunch without any hint of greasiness.


Inside each spring roll is a juicy, well balanced, and meaty filling that was only made better with a little nuoc cham.

If there was one dish that I had not yet encountered, it was the bot chien or pan fried cubed rice cake.

With a crisp almost burned crust and fairly gummy interior, these rice cubes were odd but pleasant mix of textures. A little bland on their own, when combined with the eggs and a dipping sauce, these rice cubes really begin to shine.

Banh xeo, the Vietnamese crepe, staggering in size but always a crowd pleaser was next to the table.


I still have not figured out how to eat these without making a mess, but Nam Phuong’s banh xeo is worth the effort.
Filled with a small mountain of bean sprouts, this crepe also contains pieces of shrimp and sliced pork, all wrapped in a relatively thick fried rice flour wrapper.

Although Nam Phuong offers a dizzying array of soups and entrées, I had arrived with pho dac biet on my mind and after a small mix up, I had my bowl of pho.


Instead of a pronounced onion or anise flavor, this broth was a little more complex. Besides the beef and anise, there was something else that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. While it’s a perfectly decent broth on its own when doctored up with a little chile oil and fish sauce to match the tiny globules of beef fat, this pho broth became great.

There’s the usual array of beef in Nam Phuong’s pho dac biet. Tripe, soft tendon, eye-round steak, flank, and brisket, it’s all there. One interesting feature is how the beef has been cut. The brisket, especially, doesn’t have the rough thick cuts of a hand slicing nor does it have the trim, razor thin cuts from a meat slicer, each piece of beef is somewhere in between.

Of course, it doesn’t seem right to leave out the bubble tea.
This particular bubble tea is jackfruit and it was full of still warm, tender tapioca pearls.

Sadly, this was just a fraction of what the Nam Phuong menu has to offer, but, to me, there is just one important question, how does the pho stack up? I may sound like a broken record but I still think that Pho Dai Loi #2 wins out for my favorite pho in Atlanta but Nam Phuong is no slouch. Even if they didn’t take the top pho spot in my book, there are still myriad items on their menu that I can’t wait to try. It’s good to know that with Nam Phuong, there’s another quality Vietnamese restaurant on Buford Highway.

Nam Phuong Address & Information

4051 Buford Highway, Atlanta, GA 30345 // 404.633.2400 // Nam Phuong Website // Nam Phuong Menu

Nam Phuong on Urbanspoon

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