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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Daily 9:00am–9:00pm

Bar None
Credit cards None
Reservations Not accepted

Falls Church, VA
6795 Wilson Blvd.
Falls Church, VA
(703) 532-1476
Thanh Tong
The best bun bo Hue in the Eden Center, which is no small accomplishment

Vietnamese food lovers, rejoice! The Eden Center is a bazaar paradise of All Things Vietnamese, from shops to bakeries to restaurants. If you mean to make your way through every eatery in this plaza, you’ll have your month pretty well booked up. Where to start?

Thanh Tong is a safe bet. This simple, bright, exceedingly popular hole-in-the-mall epitomizes what’s great about Eden Center: it’s cheap, it’s straightforward, and its kitchen peddles some of the most authentic Vietnamese food in America.

We especially like bun bo Hue, the classic beef noodle soup, whose showstopping broth displays unusual richness and depth of spice. Plenty of fresh greens are served on the side for you to add in. Though bun bo Hue is the runaway winner here, rice soups are good, too, as are banh, especially banh hoi thit nuong. It’s the textural heaven banh should be, from the baguette’s easy brittleness, to its warm fluffiness, then the crunch of pickled vegetables and creamy spread. Green papaya salad is also a fresh, tart treat.

Such unusual specialties as hen xuc banh da show up as well. That dish is described somewhat enigmatically on the menu as “baby clams sheet” (we assume it’s referring to the traditional rice crackers meant for scooping). And then there’s a salad of duck and bamboo shoots, which is also a real crowd-pleaser.

Thanh Tong does set the bar kind of high, but this whole plaza is perfect for venturing around and mining your favorites. Perhaps that’s the subject for another book: Fearless Critic Eden Center Guide.

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