Vietnamese ‘street food’ on Steiner

Alice Jones
Food Reviewer

Chestnut Street can be a capricious venue, and many restaurants have attempted success between local Steiner Street favorites The Plant and Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers. Whether SaiWalks, a Vietnamese street food restaurant with rolls, banh mi sandwiches, salads, Pho noodle soups, noodle bowls and rice plates, will carve out a permanent niche, remains to be seen.

Saigon Segway ($7.95) are crispy imperial rolls, stuffed with pork, crab, carrots, mush- rooms and taro root with a side of cellophane noodles and mint. The thin, crispy skin is uniquely flaky yet slightly oily, accompanied by a light tangy vinegar based sauce.

The Noisy Nostalgia is a grilled beef bahn mistyle sandwich with the option of spicing it up with some jalapeños. The cilantro blends well with the carrots and cucumbers.
The Noisy Nostalgia is a grilled beef bahn mistyle sandwich with the option of spicing it up with some jalapeños. The cilantro blends well with the carrots and cucumbers.

The vegetarian option for fresh spring rolls, the Marching Monk roll ($7.95), is full of tofu, mushrooms, bean sprouts, taro root and noodles with light accents of basil and mint bound tightly in a cellophane skin.

The side peanut sauce is a little soupy but dips easily to soak up the sauce’s sweet flavor.

The banh mi sandwiches are sizable and heavy on the meat. Served on a French baguette with shavings of cucumber, carrots, cilantro and tomatoes, the Lampost Lingo ($8.95) pork is rather tender and chewy and is complemented perfectly with a sweet mayo.

The Vermicelli bowls are massive, piled with pho noodles’ “thinner cousin,” shredded lettuce, pickled carrots, fresh mint, cucumber, roasted pea- nuts, browned “frizzled” shallots and vinaigrette nuoc mam dressing. The Passport Ponzi ($11.95) is massive and perfect for sharing, filled with delightfully tangy strips of grilled Angus steak and shreds of mango and pineapple. The Banh Xeo are Vietnamese crepes with French influence and made with rice flour and coconut milk. The Saigon Savory ($11.95) with shrimp and pork was rather oily and heavily stuffed, with crunchy bean sprouts that would have been more appeal- ing if it cooked thoroughly.

The Saigon Souvenir is the non-veg- etarian spring roll option. The subtle tang of mango strips sweetens the savory poached shrimp wrapped in a cellophane skin.
The Saigon Souvenir is the non-veg- etarian spring roll option. The subtle tang of mango strips sweetens the savory poached shrimp wrapped in a cellophane skin.

Pho Comfort ($11.95) is piping hot chicken noodle soup with thin flat pho noodles. After diving through the reef of bok choy leaves and thinly-cut carrot, not much chicken is found in the 10-hour slow- cooked broth flavored by green onions.
The staff is friendly and has time to check in on how you are enjoying your meal. SaiWalks hasn’t quite found it’s customer basis yet; locals trickle in for a beverage or just to look inside at the new space. The menu has a lot of variety and is still experimenting and working out the kinks, but overall is worth a try for something different. Saiwalks is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

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