Have you ever wondered, where all the Vietnamese immigrants in Germany go out to eat? There are many here in east Germany, including Leipzig, but I couldn’t seem to find a great bowl of Pho or other delicious Vietnamese food anywhere. There is a restaurant on our street that can be pretty decent from time to time, but they are so stingy with giving herbs. I haven’t been to Vietnam, but from my culinary education on the net and books tell me that Vietnam is one of two countries in the world (the other being Iran) where they eat a large basket full of various aromatic herbs with their food. Apart from the stinginess of herbs, the places I know here in Leipzig are pretty standard fare. Berlin probably has the largest Vietnamese community, and recently there has been a extremely delicious, and dare I say, authentic restaurant opening up every other week. (My favourites are Si An in Prenzlauerberg, and District Mot in Mitte). I also visited dark and grey Lichtenberg once, to go to a Vietnamese warehouse called Dong Xuan Center. They also have fantastic food, mostly accommodating Vietnamese immigrants.
Back in Leipzig, I wished I had something similar here. Last week, my cleaning lady asked me if I have been to a large “Asia Markt” on Maximillian Alle. I don’t usually go to that part of town, as there is pretty much nothing there. I googled it immediately, and found out that there’s a large Vietnamese warehouse like the one in Lichtenberg. Today, my boyfriend and I took a short S-bahn ride to Leipzig Nord, for a mini food adventure. Most of the stores sell ugly clothes (at last to me), bags, and other odd stuff, but they have a few supermarkets. The Asia Markt in the city has a very good selection of fresh produce, but these ones in Dong Xuan Center had much more. I didn’t recognise half of their greens and herbs. They also have fresh tofu, interesting but unrecognizable food wrapped in banana leaves, live mini crabs, meat and their innards, and home-made pickled mustard leaves. I also found two Indian supermarkets with spices, lentils, chapatti flour (!!), and somewhat limited amount of fresh produce Needless to say, I was impressed. Lunch was of course, a delicious bowl of Pho at a small place called Dong Xuan Quan. I walked in, and I knew I found a gem because the whole place smelled like pho broth. There were 6 different kinds of Pho. I ordered the regular pho with thinly sliced beef, and my boyfriend had the one with pounded beef. The broth, people, was the one I was looking for. It was savoury, had depth, and served with a large amount of coriander, and spring onions. And guess how much a bowl cost? 6! 6 euros! A bargain, if you ask me. When we were almost done with our bowl, a group of young second generation Vietnamese-German walked in, speaking in perfect Sächsisch, which I found pretty amusing.
I will definitely be going back to Dong Xuan Quan when I have get a crave for Pho. I’m wondering now though, if they have a special menu for Vietnamese? Next time, I will also find out what all the greens and herbs I didn’t recognize. In meanwhile, I’ll be cooking with a bunch of amaranth greens I found today.
Dong Xuan Center: Maximilian Alle 18. S-bahn stop, “Leipzig Nord”
Dong Xuan Quan: Here. Turn left once you walk in the area, continue until the end of the second building, and turn right.