A nasty, rainy day in Atlanta, and nothing seemed to be working out right. In a feeble attempt to lift my mood, I headed to Asian Square for lunch, intent on bahn mi at Quốc Hương.

Gà xào xả ớt

Gà xào xả ớt

From the way my day was proceeding, I should have known in advance that it would be preternatural for me to fulfill my desire and actually eat at Quốc Hương. As such, order was in fact maintained in the universe and Quốc Hương was, in fact, closed for the day. Fortunately, Saigon Deli is directly across the parking lot. Saigon Deli is actually where I was first introduced to bahn mi (buy5, get one free!) and it really was time for me to return.

After being seated in the exceedingly yellow dining room (I always refer to Saigon Deli as “the yellow place” when I can’t remember the name) and reviewing the menu, the aforementioned nasty, rainy day came into play and bahn mi went out the window.

I’ve always been drawn to the gà xào xả ớt (chicken with chili and lemongrass) here. While there’s nothing really special about it, it just seems to be comforting to me – much more so than pho. This really is home cooking – a simple dish of chicken, onions, garlic, chilies and nước mắm (fish sauce), that has just enough spice to take the edge off. If you’re not fully attuned to fish sauce yet, it can be a bit – pungent – when it hits the table, but it quickly abates and somehow does that magical thing that fish sauce does – it becomes subtle.

Order is restored.

Saigon Deli

Saigon Deli
5150 Buford Hwy NE
Doraville, GA 30340

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