By Ken Swarner on January 28, 2010


Why We Go: When we wish to dine in another world, slightly Third World, steamy, exotic, Asian - as if out of a movie - Vien Dong in the Lincoln District fits the bill. Vien Dong envelopes the senses. The atmosphere takes us immediately to Vietnam without passing go. We pick one of the mix-match chairs, dodge servers moving quickly about, and wish 38th Street would transformed into a Saigon side alley.

What We Eat: Start with iced French pressed coffee and sweet condensed milk - the classic Vietnamese coffee made to perfection. Sip while perusing the extensive menu - the descriptions are nearly as fun to read as the food is to eat. For a sure thing, order the red curry with prawns. Hot and hearty, the meal combines well with the hot summer weather. The soups are delicious. Vien Dong understands culinary craftsmanship.

What We'd Change: We wish we could sip a beer while pondering their fours kinds of pho, nine hu tieu and seven bun noodle soups. Then pound another immediately after running into their red-pepper paste that's murderously hot. Please add beer and wine.

[Vien Dong, 3801 S. Yakima, Tacoma, 253.472.6668]