Cheap Eats: Song Huong Vietnamese Restaurant

Cold jasmine tea is served with the meal, with a server buzzing around the dining room very anxious to top off your glass. Start with summer rolls  -- you’ll receive two large rice paper rolls stuffed with rice vermicelli, cilantro, lemongrass, steamed shrimp and your choice of pork skin or sliced pork for only $3. The bun (noodle salad) and pho are huge: mounds of noodles, vegetables and herbs. One dining companion thought the fresh spring rolls were a bit heavy on the lemongrass and the Pho was a little heavy on the star anise -- but he still finished every bite.

Shaking Beef is served with rice, sliced tomatoes, grilled onions and peppers and perfect fried pieces of potatoes, a gorgeous dish that would be better if the meat wasn't so gristly. The grilled beef served with the bun has much better texture and flavor. A grilled shrimp rice dish also deserves a thumbs up.

Song Huong Vietnamese Restaurant

4040 W Waters Ave., Tampa, 813-880-9676

For the budget conscious diner, I recommend Vietnamese cuisine: rice vermicelli, grilled beef and pork, steamed shrimp and piles of vegetables and herbs like sprouts, cilantro, lemongrass, cucumbers and carrots flavored with tart lime, spicy chili or briny fish sauce. The flavors are lively and fresh and the price is right, with many entrees around $7.95.

Song Huong is another one of those locations that you may have driven by countless times. Perhaps you stopped in for karaoke night next door at Good Time Charlie’s. Terracotta tile and yellow tablecloths beckon you into this well-lit establishment. A large flatscreen television entertains (presumably the children) with Nickelodeon. The owner greets you and is ready to feed you.


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