Looking for a Vietnamese restaurant in the 13th arrondissement, most Parisians will immediately head for Chinatown, around the Porte d’Ivry and Porte de Choisy stations. And yet just a few hundred yards away, opposite the Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrie, is the sign for Madame Tran’s Xinh Xinh, possibly the most authentic joint of the lot. She serves up traditional Vietnamese cuisine that’s a million miles from the places offering the same old Cantonese rice and sauce dishes.
At Xinh Xinh, you can sample the famous banh cuon (rice pancakes filled with pork and mushrooms, steamed and served with bean sprouts and slices of gio, a sort of Vietnamese ham) or the vegetarian version with prawns; the banh tom (steamed sweet potato fritters sprinkled with minced shrimps); and fried noodles with pork, chicken or shrimp. You can also try slightly more exotic things such as proper Vietnamese caramelised pork – the authentic sauce recipe is a lot lighter and more flavourful than the sticky syrup found in many a bog-standard Asian joint.
But the main reason why you should come to Xinh Xinh is the bo bun. It’s a little more expensive than elsewhere (€12 for the larger version with chopped noodles inside), but the quality of the ingredients is worth it: salad and fresh mint, vermicelli noodles, slices of seasoned and grilled beef, grated carrots and crushed peanuts. And at the end, the chatty propriétaire will undoubtedly offer you a Vietnamese sweet made of cream and soya noodles – all part of this unpretentious, highly recommended experience.
|Venue name:||Xinh Xinh||Contact:|
6-8 rue des Wallons
|Opening hours:||Mon–Sat noon–2.30pm, 7–10.30pm (closed Mon evenings)|
|Transport:||Métro : Saint-Marcel|