Huong Viet / Eden Center
6785 Wilson Blvd., Falls Church, VA
OK, so I am embarrassed to admit it - this summer marks my 6th year living in the DC Metro area, and I finally had my first visit to Eden Center. Located in Seven Corners, Eden Center is an Asian shopping center that caters primarily to DC's large Vietnamese population. With roughly 120 stores, Eden Center boasts an elaborate lion arch and a clock tower that is an exact replica of one in downtown Saigon "as a reminder of the home away from home for the thousands of immigrants who settled in the Washington DC metropolitan area after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975," according to the Web site.
It's the perfect place to go when hungry, as the center boasts a number of restaurants and bakeries; I counted 32 listed on the Web site. With so much to offer, it was high time for me to get my butt over there, so we met up with some friends at Huong Viet over the holidays.
Small and crowded, Huong Viet only accepts cash. The dishes are inexpensive, with a number of them under $10 (I went all decadent, ordering a shrimp dish for $13). The menu is extensive, and heralded for its offering of traditional Vietnamese dishes. You can choose from khai vi (appetizers); canh and lau (soup and hot pot soup); hu tieu, mi, chao and bun (rice noodle, egg noodle and rice soup); com chien and com dia (fried rice and rice platters); bun-banh hoi-banh uot (rice noodles-rice vermicelli-rice crepes); mi xao (fried egg/rice noodles); plus chicken, pork, beef, seafood and vegetarian options.
Trying to make up for the holiday calorie overload, I ordered #151. Tom Xao Rau Thap Cam, or stir-fried shrimp with mixed vegetables. It was delicious - very light yet immensely flavorful, and the vegetables were a great consistency. The rice went uneaten, it was completely unnecessary because I was so satisfied. The dish that got the best reviews was definitely #129. Bo Luc Lac, or "Shakey Beef," which arrived as a pile of stir-fried, marinated strips of beef served with green peppers and onions. It's a friend's personal fave, and it comes highly recommended.
We didn't order any, but the spring rolls looked killer - they looked amazing. They definitely appeared to have been made in-house, as their skin was brown and crackly. Next time I want to get the Huong Viet Grilled Pork - online reviewers say its awesome. The menu is so large that it's impossible to try everything. I've heard the bubble tea is pretty good, and the pho gets a solid rating as well. If you've never been to Eden Center, remember that there is no time like the present. Go and order the spring rolls, and let me know how they were!
All photos credited to Huong Viet