Satisfy your Vietnamese needs with Indochine
On the corner of Paterson Street and George Street, lies one of New Brunswick’s hidden treasures, Indochine. This treasure is a self-proclaimed authentic Vietnamese restaurant that seems to be quite under the radar.
There are no bright lights, bells or whistles outside the restaurant that draw you in. They only have a sign on display in the glass window and a small green awning listing their name.
When entering the establishment, you are expected to seat yourself at one of the three rows of tables neatly organized across the dining room. The wall to the left has a long booth-like bench for those looking to get a little cozy while dining.
The server kindly greeted us with menus, a cup with multiple sets of chopsticks and table settings, asked us politely what we would like to drink and quickly brought back the beverages. He then politely gave us some time to examine the menu.
Being clueless of what to expect about Vietnamese cuisine, I made sure to ask the server for a recommendation. He made sure to inform me that “Pho,” a traditional Vietnamese beef broth soup, is the most popular dish on the menu.
He went on to explain that the Siracha hot sauce on the table was a favorite among patrons to add an extra kick to the soup, as well as the bottle of Hoisin sauce being a sweet alternative to add flavor.
It was pretty interesting to hear that $9 soup is the most common item on the menu, so I had to give it a try. I ordered the “Pho Tai Gan,” which is beef broth, rice noodles, rare steak and tendon. On the side is cilantro, green onions, bean sprouts, jalapeno peppers, lime and Asian basil to accompany the soup.
Little did I know the bowl of soup was going to be the size of my head, and would be more than enough to fill two people. The soup is brought to you with very little salt or seasoning in the broth, and it is a fun experience to try the various different garnishes, sauces and flavors. It also feels a little healthier than typical sodium filled soups that Americans consume. Let's not forget about those salty crackers served on the side, yikes.
The second item I tried was the “Banh Mi Sandwich," which is served on a crispy baguette style bun with mayo, cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro, pickled radish and carrots. You also have a choice of filler, which varies from pork roll, ham and pate, grilled chicken, grilled pork, jicama or tofu and vegetables. The sandwich is filling, moderately sized and rich in flavor from the various different ingredients. The jalapenos give it a little pizazz, while the cilantro and strong flavor of the pickled radish balance it out.
The menu also has an entrée portion with no item exceeding $14, which keeps the entire menu affordable. Also, seven of the entrées are available at reduced price in a vegetarian portion. As for beverages, nothing really caught my eye except for the various fruit flavored shakes listed on the back of the menu.
Overall, Indochine is a quick, convenient and reasonably priced cultural restaurant in downtown New Brunswick that more students should give a try. The selection of food is pretty diverse, in the sense that they have something for everyone’s taste.