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Katy England Katy England
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Little Vietnam

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Slow down, enjoy a healthy, delicious meal

If you haven't had a chance to check out Little Vietnam, the new restaurant nestled near the Armed Forces Recruitment Center of the Bull Moose Complex on Hogan Road in Bangor, this may be a great time to check it out.

It's an oasis of calm amidst the bustle of the mall, with authentic Vietnamese cuisine that is as delicious as it is healthy. The business is family owned by Xavier Nguyen and Vanessa Nguyen.

'We try to share our culture of Vietnamese food,' said Vanessa. 'We bring you food that is fresh and prepared today. We get our food every other day.'

The pho is a hot beef broth served with a generous portion of rice noodles. You can choose from sliced chicken, beef, shrimp or meatball. When it arrives, you then add the pho sauce, fresh bean sprouts, basil and greens. Stir and enjoy. 

'We're trying to bring in new flavors and trying to promote healthy eating,' said Xavier. 'You don't have to sacrifice taste for eating healthy.'

All of the items on the menu can be made into a vegetarian dish, with the exception of the pho, which has a beef broth base. Xavier said that to change the stock would fundamentally alter the flavor of the pho, and they needed it to taste authentic. 

'When your reputation comes from a culture or a cuisine, you have to do it right,' he said.

But that being said, there is so much a vegetarian can enjoy here.

Xavier said he wanted to change people's perception of Asian cuisine, which he thinks tends to be overcooked or fried. At Little Vietnam, fresh is the watchword and flavor is king.

And it isn't just fresh, healthy food that they are bringing to Bangor it's a change of pace. Sit down and try a Vietnamese coffee, which brews before your eyes over sweetened condensed milk. Vanessa instructed me to stir it in only one direction, as muddling the coffee can change its flavor. The aforementioned taste was rich and flavorful. If you prefer your coffee iced, it undergoes the same process, but then you pour it over ice.

Between courses, you are encouraged to cleanse your palate with jasmine tea. The fragrant tea has a delicate flavor, but no caffeine. This ensures you can enjoy the full flavors of whichever dish you are trying.

And if that isn't relaxing enough, the dcor is lovely, with a waterfall, and a beautiful custom-made crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The hats on the wall are authentic Vietnamese headwear, and Vanessa noted that they were incredibly important to the culture, with various uses, including a head covering for inclement weather, use it to carry food or vegetables or even to gather water.

Xavier said they plan on having servers don authentic Vietnamese long dresses every Thursday. This should happen within the next couple weeks, as they size the servers. All the garb is being crafted in Vietnam. The long garments are what are traditionally worn on formal occasions, such as weddings.

Any fan of healthy eating, flavorful food or simply a wonderful meal should check out Little Vietnam. You'll be glad you did.

Little Vietnam is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information or to check out their full menu, visit their website at or find them on Facebook at


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