5825 Charlotte Pike
I don't know much about Vietnamese food, but I do know I like Kien Giang a lot. We are lucky to have a few Vietnamese restaurants in Nashville, and Kien Giang is the one with the most longevity. Kien Giang is owned by a Vietnamese family, is located in a modest "dead" strip mall, has little ambience to speak of, and diners must get there by 8:30 pm and be ready to order and be ready to leave at 9 pm, when Kien Giang closes. We made that mistake once, we tried to get food at 8:45 pm, and we were turned away due to the lack of time to be able to have the food prepared and eaten within 15 minutes. There are some nights that I do want to go to Kien Giang, but it is already 8:30 pm, and I have to give up that dream for another day. For me, it is worth following all the rules at Kien Giang because this little restaurant is tasty, inexpensive, and family owned.
I always like to start my meal with fresh spring rolls. The rolls have rice noodles, lettuce, mint, thinly slice pork and shrimp, and the dipping sauce is a hoisin and peanut sauce. They are fresh, inexpensive (about $2.50 for 2 rolls), and I just love these rolls. I have tried to make this at home, the basic idea is easy, but to get the rolls to be consistently is difficult. It is apparent that the chef has made many of thousands of these.
I generally go to Kien Giang when I feel like treating myself to a meal out, but have little money in my walllet. I usually stick to entrees that are less than $6, and in my opinion, I think the entrees that are less than $6 are the tastiest, freshest, and "all that". My favorites are binh mi bi - a pork po-boy with great French bread, banh xeo - Happy Pancake, and vermicelli - rice noodles over a bed of lettuce, mint and peanuts and a light sweet and sour sauce. When I get the vermicelli, I usually get the toppings of charred red pork and fried egg roll. It is the one I like the best, and I ask, what is there not to love about it? I have not ventured to any other Vietnamese restaurant in Nashville because I know I can get a consistently good meal at Kien Giang.
As for a lot of good ethnic restaurants in Nashville, Kien Giang is tucked into a hard to find place. It is in the old Kroger Shopping plaza on upper Charlotte, on the south side of Charlotte, and is where Charlotte turns from 2 lanes outbound to one lane. It is now also sharing the plaza with USA Self Storage and K&S Market.
Labels: Kien Giang, Nashville Eats