Last night I had the pleasure of dining at Hoa Hong 9 Roses. I've been wanting to eat at this restaurant for a few years and with our other favorite Vietnamese restaurants still out of comission our friend Heather made the brilliant suggestion that a bunch of us go.
9 Roses is physically the largest Vietnamese restuarant I've been to in the city. It's huge, nearly banquet hall sized, with giant tables set up with lazy susans and occupied almost entirely by Asian families out for a big dinner. Like the restaurant itself, the menu is enormous. There must be at least 150 items on the menu and choosing what to order is a daunting task.
After much deliberation I finally settled on the Crepe appetizer, a large egg crepe filled with herbs, chicken, and mung bean sprouts, a bowl of some of the best Pho I've ever had and delicious ground pork balls which were grilled and served with pickled carrots, various herbs, lettuce, peanut sauce and spring roll wrappers. The resulting rolls had some of the best flavor contrasts I've enjoyed in a while.
The plates came out in waves and everyone at the table shared. I was able to constantly sample all kinds of different treats including delicious spring rolls, a fantastic sweet and sour catfish soup, chinese broccoli with ginger and grilled lemongrass and sweet onion Bun.
It was so nice to experience authentic Vietnamese flavors again, something that I have come to associate with living in New Orleans but has been lost to me since the storm. 9 Roses is a new favorite and I foresee many pleasant evenings spent there in the near future.