A few weeks ago a friend and I were driving around looking for dinner on a Friday night. I wanted Asian food. After passing on a few suspicious looking dives, we stumbled upon Huong Giang. We peered inside and decided it was worth a try. Although the decor said "strip-mall", it was about as tasteful as it could be without the budget that is truly required to give a strip mall shop any real character. The Asian accents were strangely offset by a couple of chandeliers with mermaids "holding up" the lampshades with fishing poles. The flat screen TV's were playing cultural appropriate programming. The only real downside is the chairs. The backs strangely lean forward, forcing one to hunch over a bit.
We were promptly presented two menus each, one written, one in pictures. The pictures proved to be very helpful. Our first course was Bahn Nam, little Vietnamese "tamales" of ground pork and shrimp nestled in a rice flour package and steamed in banana leaves. Not only were they tasty, but fun. Every little package was like Christmas morning after you peeked at your presents. Sure, I knew what was in there, but is was still fun to open the presents.
Our entree was a Thai Hot Pot. Large enough for two, the $28.00 entree was worth every penny. The pot of hot stock was placed upon a small gas burner and served with a plate of seafood and one of vegetables. The seafood consisted of shrimp, fish and calamari and the vegetable plate had baby bok choy and julienned strips of banana flower.
The waiter gave us a brief tutorial and we dug in. It seemed nice enough until I put the banana flowers in the pot and this incredible fragrance wafted across our table. The broth was nicely flavored with ginger, and the addition of the flowers made it a heavenly experience. I enjoy food that is also interactive, and this fit the bill nicely.
Throughout our dinner, the service was impeccable. At one point, I dropped my chop stick. Before I could bend over to pick it up, the server had a new set to me. Our table was maintained in a timely manner, without seeming pushy.
I wanted to try a little more before I wrote about it, so I went there for lunch today. The sour pig ear and beef was calling my name. I have never pondered the possible flavor and texture of a pig's ear, but I would say this was the ultimate expression of a pig's ear. The cold, stubby, spring roll shaped treat arrived with a few slices of hot peppers. It had a delicious, slightly sour, flavor and a unique texture. A hint of gelatinous spring was subdued by the firm bite of the finely shredded ear. A slight bite of heat rounded out the flavor. And at only $2.15, this was a bargain.
For my main course, I chose rice noodles with pork and seafood in a pork broth. As with my other items, this was very well executed. The shrimp and calamari were tender and the slices of pork were melt-in-your-mouth tender. With tax and tip, my lunch was $12.00. I look forward to returning to try the other gems that are hidden in this great little find.
4300 Buford Highway NE
Atlanta, GA 30345
$3.00 - $6.00
$6.00 - $60.00 (Family style serving)
10 a.m.-midnight Mondays-Thursdays
10 a.m.-2 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays
10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays