SEASIDE The word pho, name of the Vietnamese soup of broth, herbs, meat and rice noodles, was added to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary in 2007. The dish entered the mainstream in the 1990s, rapidly gaining popularity throughout the U.S. with the spread of Vietnamese refugees in the wake of the Vietnam war.
When Andy Nguyen came to Seaside on vacation from Portland last spring break, he saw an open space in a food court along the main drag and a chance to add the specialty dish to the North Coast and live in a place where he and his three daughters have vacationed for many years.
Hes started in earnest by opening the Saigon Deli June 6 at 200 Broadway, the beginnings of what he hopes will one day be a larger establishment.
I love Seaside, said Nguyen, adding that hes been looking to open such a restaurant for more than a decade. He recently sold his north Portland business, New York Nails, to prepare for the opening of the Saigon Deli.
Nguyen said his family wasnt too excited about the salon and the chemicals involved in its operations, but theyre gung-ho about the restaurant. His two sisters Cindy and Lily, along with his parents, are even helping out in his new business venture.
Two of Nguyens main specialties are the Vietnamese noodle soup, pho, and the his banh mi, baguette sandwiches with beef or pork. Saigon Deli offers several varieties of fruit and milk-flavored bubble teas complete with oversized straws to suck up the tapioca pearls at the bottom, along with hot and cold specialty Vietnamese coffees, smoothies and Thai iced teas. The restaurant also serves a wide variety of fried and white rice and vermicelli noodle plates with grilled beef, pork and chicken.
Nguyen and his family have talked about expanding the menu, adding more Thai-style dishes such as mango and sweet rice and fried bananas, but that might have to wait for an even newer Saigon Deli.
In my plan, for now we do Saigon Deli, said Nguyen. Im not sure, but for next year I might do ... a bigger restaurant.
Saigon Deli is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., available for catering and can be reached at 503-738-6628.