Modest restaurant one of region's gems
By Brenda Buchbinder Sachs
For the Poughkeepsie Journal
Owner Hung Truong can attest to the statement "a picture is
worth a thousand words."
His modest, funky little 19-seat restaurant, Saigon Cafe in the Town of
Poughkeepsie, is decorated with dozens of pictures. Some are his own
photographs of his hometown markets in Vietnam.
Others are the indispensable photographs of the unusual dishes turned
out of the compact kitchen by Hung's wife, Hue. When it comes to cuisine
with names like Ga Nuong Chanh,Bank Xeo or Pho Bo Ha Noi,"show and
tell" is clearly the best possible interpretive approach.
The Truongs are clearly a couple that knows how to turn adversity
into opportunity. When Mr. Truong was laid off from his job at IBM six
years ago, he and his wife brought this little Vassar insider's secret
from his sister (it was called Lotus Cafe in those days), and for many, it
is, an undiscovered treasure.
Any way you like it
He is the perfect spokesman for Vietnamese cuisine, which he
from other Asian cuisines by the use of vermicelli in many of the dishes.
Vietnamese vermicelli is made from rice and is a widely used replacement
for those with wheat and gluten allergies.
It's best to just succumb to
Hung's enthusiasm and let him suggest dishes to suit your taste. He
responded to my dislike of cilantro, by saying that everything is made to
order and can be customized to your taste. Plenty of the customers who filled every seat last Thursday at lunchtime seemed to be
regulars who new exactly what they wanted.
My husband, Gene, and I sampled a number of appetizers to start, and
chose green tea over imported Saigon Beers, fresh