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Liz | May 13, 200601:58 PM     1

We had a delicious dinner at Lotus Garden tonight, and I'd like lots of other hounds to do the same so that we can continue to enjoy this wonderful Vietnamese food.

We started off with two orders of the banh khot, which Kathy agreed to make for us even though it's not on the menu. These are so good I can't even begin to tell you about them. A rice flour puff with coconut milk made in something like a mini muffin pan. It's crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, kind of like a convertible popover with the top down and a shrimp in the back seat. Then you place a leaf of mint, a little bit of the special fish sauce, a slice of cucumber on top and wrap it in lettuce. It's divine!

Next were the Vietnamese pot stickers. Not at all like Chinese pot stickers, these are little meatballs with rice stuck into the outside. Then I think that they are fried, so they come out looking like little porcupines. A big hit at the table.

Roasted Vietnamese crab was as good as it could have been this late in the season. I wish we had had the chance to order it a couple of months earlier, because the preparation was exceptional. We got very messy, ate all the crab, used all the napkins, and were delighted with the big finger bowl of warm water with lemon slices that was delivered to our table for cleaning up afterwards.

Green beans with radish was my most favorite dish after the banh khot. Wonderful ingredients expertly prepared. Mother nature doesn't need much help, and I appreciate it when a restaurant acknowledges this.

Fried banana with what I'm pretty sure was Mitchell's macapuno ice cream was dessert. Yum! Are fried bananas just an east coast thing? I miss them from my Boston days.

Sad thing is this was on Friday at about 8:00 p.m. and there were only two other people in the restaurant. Next time you want to eat out, try Lotus Garden. You won't regret it.

3216 Mission at Valencia/29th
282-9088
Open 7 days a week

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