Restaurants & Bars

attractions and repulsions, asian style

andy huse | May 22, 200012:27 PM    

anyone know of good asian restaurants in Tampa area? especially Chinese, Korean, Thai, and vietnamese.

had a very mediocre dining experience in Tampa this weekend. A Korean-Japanese rest called Seoul Kwan on Hillsborough near Hanley (town and country area). i know, the hyphen can be a bad sign, but i tried it anyway. the tempura veggies were good, the battervery light and fluffy (flaky?). the ownton was mild and generous.

The marinaded spareribs were of low quality, and for $14.95, they shouldn't have been. my first bite was gristle and fat, and i knew they weren't muchg good for anything. they tasted alright, but lacked pizazz. the variety of pickled meats and veggies served as accompaniment were decent, though (cold, spicy bok choy, pickled pork (or was it beef?), some tough spinavch, some kelp, and so on. the pork stir fry my partner had also suffered from low quality meat--- greasy, tough, fatty, and the whole dish suffered as a result.

didn't try the sushi, but i don't have to. avoid this place, as i spent almost $50 on a sub-standard asian dinner. no wonder the place was huge but largely empty.

if you want good Korean food in Tampa, try Sam Oh Jong on S. Dale Mabry. i haven't eaten there in a while, but i had a similar sliced beef ribs dish there that was quite good. good sushi, too (says my mate). definately a safer bet.

anyone looking for good Vietnamese should try Trang Viet Cuisine (one on Fowler near USF, one on Armenia near Waters). Viet is hard to beat, with its comporting subtlety, light brothy dishes, and healthy preparation. the fish oil gives everythng a great flavor without imparting too much fishiness (i'm not the biggest seafood lover).

try thier 4 seasons platter, spring, summer, autumn and winter rolls--- all works of art. the autumn roll is my fave, a grilled mixture of ground pork and shrimp wrapped in lettuce and herbs then wrapped in rice paper. hot and cold at its finest. i could eat them everyday.

the happy pan cake is awesome, a kind of bean flour omelette stuffed with roast pork, bean sprouts, and shrimp. you use the omelette as a stufgfing along with fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, etc), and cucumber in lettuce.

just as good is the pho soup, a subtle (not too salty!) beef broth with rice noodles. you add raw veggies to the piping hot broth (cinnamon basil, bean sprouts, chiles, etc). one of the most comforting and easily-digested dishes known to man.

Trang's is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. have been going for 5 years or so, and have never gotten a bad meal. Took a group of 6 there for a vast 4-course feast, cost me a mere $80, and we had everything we could have wanted.

haven't found a superior Thai Place. avoid Lai Thai's buffet (i know, i should have anyway), as it is spotty and keeps you waiting for fresh food. i think they hope you'll just leave---- not a good bet when on lunch break. i've heard a lot about Jasmine Thai but i wasn't too impressed. is it just me, or does most Thai food taste the same? coconut plus curry and anything else? if not, where can i get some interesting Thai?

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