Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cheap Asian Eats

Curse you human body for only having one can I fit in 2 lunches and 3 dinners in one day if you constantly get full all the time!!...=/.

WARNING: Buttloads of food pictures ahead-->

George has been making a list of must eat restaurants--I think he's got about 30+ places--cheap & good food is all I ask.  I promised my stomach that we're going to hit them all and more!

So the minute the car was delivered last sunday, our goal was to find asian food!.  We live inside the beltway (Arlington/D.C metro where the main freeways surround) in a yuppy-ish area filled with bars and expensive restaurants.  Food here's good but not cheap, especially asian food.  In Westminster, CA, you can get a bowl of pho for $2.99!  In our neighborhood, it's $10.99!! (I don't need no filet mignon special beef!).  So we headed away from the tourists and found...

1) Eden Center 

(Google image)

Located 4 miles west from our apartment. in Falls Church, VA is what Wiki dubbs "Little Westminster"!  I was so scared to move to VA for fear of giving up my nuoc mia, banh beo chen, bun bo hue and (droooolllll) crawfish!!!  But fear no more--it's not Westminster but we've found some pretty awesome replacements!

 Look Ma!! Tons of Vietnamese stores!

Don't be fooled--these stores lead to a plethora of other indoor restaurants and shops--perfect for those cold winter months when no one wants to walk outside.

A che (dessert) store!  Hearing fobby english and loud Vietnamese people scream to order made me smile =)

This was what made it so authentic--we found a dozen of these dark "coffee houses" with scantily dressed waitresses serving....?  I can only imagine coffee and tea...
You'll find plenty of seedy smoking Vietnamese people here! And most shocking? There were slot machines in the shops!?!  I must muster up the courage to walk into some of these one day....

We took a break from walking around to try out a place on our list!  A seafood place of course =D

a) Seaside Crab House

When we first moved down to Irvine, CA we stumbled upon a cajun crawfish placed called Cajun Corner--a place that served crawfish by the pound drenched in garlicky Louisiana boil secret sauce goodness.  I remember coming home that night salivating for more.  I went to bed sniffing my fingers, and came back for another 3 pounds the next day.  Then I discovered an even better crawfish place--Boiling Crab--and I became obsessssseeeeddddddddd!!!  George and I often spent $80 dollars a week ordering 3-5 lbs of crawfish, king crab legs, lobster in that damn amazing whole shabang spicy sauce with an order of cajun fries, dozen raw oysters, shrimp basket and a coke (we do NOT mess around!).  So priorities here! We had to find crawfish!

This place was packed with people eating outside under a giant canopy--old 90s rock playing and people drinking Heinekens in 90 degree heat--feels a bit like home!  Reminded me of a less seedy Cafe Artist in Westmin

I saw a man carry out 10 lbs of this to go.  Plump and juicy, these babies were huge and fresh!  The sauce was not as thick as the crawfish places in O.C but it was a lighter version of the crawfish boil and we definetely tasted the crawfish's sweetness.  Downside: 9.99/lb!  Upside: no acid reflux crazy heartburn afterwards!

This place is also known for grilled clams, oysters and snails.  These bad boys were really yummyy...

We're coming back here today to get the crab fried rice!! I have to try them all!


Jackpot! Better boba balls and flavors out here than our neighborhood!

This place was packed!
MUST get my durian shake =D! it smells delicious!
Update: We came back today and got an avocado shake for me and a pineapple drink for George!

2) We also went to check out this giant SUPER HMart...WoW..

3) Dinner at Yechon!

Annandale has a lot of korean restaurants

A crowded loud mix of koreans and other races lined up to eat here.   Open 24 hrs, this place was packed for dinner!

Deric and Helen! We're saving this Combo #3 for when you guys come! Grilled Lobster with Galbi!!!!!  Tons of people were grilling this! But we were so full =((

So many choices!
Waitresses dressed in Korean garments to serve and grill for you

They have up to 20 different side dishes that you can choose from--and as always, unlimited re-fills!!!

Still full from lunch, we ordered a light dinner of grilled mackerel

Spicy Beef noodle soup--tastes MUCH better than the mole lady's place on Geary in S.F

and crab stew!
We've found our late night place and will definitely come back for the bbq!

Despite our long week at work, George and I managed to sneak out midweek for 2 late night dinners around 10 p.m:

1) Peking Gourmet Inn in Falls Church, VA

I'm a horrible blogger..I forgot my camera and had to use George's phone..

What a random but kinda accurate fortune for my Pig year...

Oh baby here comes our duck!! Carved table side!  They claim to grow their own ducks!

 She carved out all the fat and left nothing but tender meat and crispy skin! mmmm!

2) The Greek Spot in D.C

Hole in the wall..

 This beef gyro hit the right spot..I needed a brief break from all the asian food!  Cheap and delicious!

Long July 4th weekend means big eating and more exploring! This is our 2nd weekend here--so far..still no exercise..But look what we found! The same A&Js in Socal!  

1) A&J in Annandale, VA

 George got the fried crispy pork with rice and I got Dan Dan noodles (i've been craving this all week) and my usual, spicy dumplings in garlic sauce...drooolll

If only I was a cow and had 4 stomach compartments....but no time for break! dessert!

2) Le Matin De Paris in Anandale

  A very cute Korean owned bakery shop with a Paris theme

We settled on what they called a Bingsoo: Shaved ice, frozen yogurt, tons of mixed fruits, mochi, corn flakes (random but added so much crunch!!!) red bean and condensed milk and chocolate drizzles!

3) Light House Tofu in Annandale, VA
After a very necessary Ross, Marshall, Target and Walmart break to buy items for the house and to get our appetite going, we settled on here for dinner! In a random lot across the street from old brick homes--this place was packed and very loud!

We haven't yet learned portion control and once again..ate ourselves into deep food coma

Seafood Pancake with a light soy sauce dipping sauce

Spicy squid noodle stew

 And the reason why we came...this place is known for really soft and silk tofu stews...really good!

I made a BIG mistake of wearingTIGHT hoochie shorts to some of these places which meant a bulging stomach with no room to give or breath....dammit..

To end, it's only been our 2nd weekend here and we're still exploring and setting up the apartment.  So far I've learned:

1) Roads here are NOT fun!  Driving is crazy...the roads split in a bagillion directions with no signs.  There's actually an intersection called 7 corners--where 7 different roads meet! There are literally 14 different lights and signs telling you where and when to go! Merges and crazy drivers make for one hell of a death ride!... for everyone's sake..I've decided not to drive around here!

2) I welcome and appreciate the diversity.  I was so shocked to find a mix diverse crowd at some of these asian places and everywhere we went!  Reminds me of S.F.

3) There's really a lot of good food to eat--a mix diverse bunch means a great authentic eating experience!

4) Sale Tax here is 5%! YAYER!

5) Thunder storms in 90 degree heat--> SCARY as hell!  60 mile winds, thunder and lighting and side ways rain assault!!!  We just experienced our first one today!

Tomorrow is July 4th and we're planning to watch fireworks at the National Mall..George read that about 1 million people show up each year for the festivities and concert (!...Hopefully next weekend we can head out to Richmond, VA for a more historical tour of the Revolutionary War and Civil War.


  1. you're so crazy TAM PHAM! BTW, Yechon has some great deals! all that for just $60?!?!?!

  2. uh huh!!! everyone was getting it!!! We have to come back and conquer it!

  3. *shakes head* I don't know what to can take the girl outta Westminster, but you can't take the little skinny viet girl with a helluva appetite for asian food outta Hot Dayam Tam Pham!