Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Saigon Restaurant

Saigon Restaurant is a Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Salem, Oregon.

At lunchtime, Saigon offers a $6.99 all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. The food looks quite good, I must say.

However, I was craving banh mi, a traditional Vietnamese sandwich. I got the grilled chicken banh mi for $3.75:

The sandwich was a pretty good size for $3.75. But most importantly, the sandwich was delicious. I feared that the grilled chicken may be dried pieces of poultry stuffed into a sandwich of vegetables. Instead, I bit into a flavorful juicy chicken sandwich with fresh vegetables and herbs. The carrots, cucumbers, and daikon gave the sandwich a nice crunch. The jalapeno offered the slightest bit of heat, and the cilantro gave a little bitter taste to offset the sugar-soy features from the chicken. Even better, the baguette was slightly toasted, giving the sandwich an enjoyable crunch. The toasting also helped make the bread strong enough to hold everything in place without getting soggy.

Yes, I ended up adding sriracha to the sandwich when I took it home, but it was still a very successful grilled chicken banh mi. The lunch buffet also proved quite popular with people that came in after me.

Saigon gets points from me for having delicious food (and a good amount of it) for very reasonable prices.

I thought the service could have used a little improvement. I found it a bit hard to communicate with the workers when I had questions about the banh mi, and the tone of voice did seem a bit harsh. I also wish there was more lighting in the restaurant. Regardless, if the buffet food is anywhere close to the success of the banh mi, I will have to come back more often. 7/10

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