Food & Beverage
Merrilville Saigon Noodle House was a great experience, except for…
I’ve always been open-minded when it comes to trying new food, so when a guest brought over some soup I had heard about but never tried. I wanted to see what the deal was. The moment the broth touched my tongue, I was instantly hit with flavor combinations that I had never tried before, and yet they felt oh so familiar. It was someone’s leftovers and it was cold, but it didn’t matter because I was hooked.
And that was my first experience with Vietnamese food and pho, which for those that don’t know, is pronounced more like “fuh,” as in rhymes with “duh.”
Naturally, I wanted more and when I asked where they got this pho from, they referred me to Saigon Noodle House in Merrillville, Indiana. My eagerness to have more was met with frustration however, when I realized they were closed for the day. I would have to wait until a Saturday before I could make the trip out to this restaurant, but man was it worth it.
After making the long trek out there, I noticed they were quite busy and short-staffed. Even still, I had come this far and there was no turning back. After being seated, I waited a few minutes before they took my order, and even though they didn’t give me the drink I had ordered until well after my meal had arrived, it didn’t matter because the food at Saigon Noodle House was worth it.
The Pho Was Wonderful!
One thing I love about Merrillville Saigon Noodle House is that they have such large portions! Typically when I go out for ramen I have to pay more than what I paid here … and it was for less food. Over here, they gave me twice the portion size that I’m used to. I ordered their pho dac biet sai gon and I had so much fun eating it! All the sprouts that were there made me feel like a rabbit, until the well-done flank brisket, soft tendon, meatballs, and spices made me completely forget about it. Each spoonful was like a minty blast of flavor combinations that I had never experienced until I had my first pho experience.
The Shrimp Spring Rolls Were the Best Thing I Ordered There!
Granted I came to Saigon Noodle House for the pho, but what would a food adventure be without trying something new? So I also ordered the restaurant’s goi cuon tom, which are shrimp spring rolls, but not the kind you get in a typical Chinese restaurant in America. Instead, these were wrapped in an edible transparent white rice paper (which tastes absolutely nothing like the pulpy kind you write on). This was definitely the best thing I ordered at this restaurant. The sauce that they gave only heightened the flavor. My only regret is that I didn’t order more. Even as I sit here typing this I am shaking my head asking myself that question.
The Tra Dao Wasn’t That Good
If the pho was good and the spring rolls were great, the tra dao (sweet peach ice tea) was where Merrillville Saigon Noodle House dropped the ball. Not only did I have to remind the waiter that I had ordered it (it was on the check), but when I finally did get it, there was way too much ice in it.
Now you might be asking yourself “what’s wrong with a cold drink?” The issue is that they put too much ice there to give me less drink but at the same price. The tea was anything but sweet too, so this ended up being a blemish on what was otherwise a wonderful experience at Saigon Noodle House.
There Was So Much Pho!
A few years ago, downing this amount of food would have been nothing for me. Ever since I decided not to go past weighing a certain amount though, my stomach has clearly shrunk. Although my pride as a foodie was hurt, I knew that I would live to eat another day as I politely asked for a take-home container for my pho.
(I’m beginning to remember why I didn’t order an extra set of spring rolls).
As I hobbled back to my vehicle bloated, yet satisfied, I felt like I had discovered a diamond in the rough. Although Merrillville Saigon Noodle House bested me that day, I knew that I would return, only this time, it would be on an empty stomach.
What are you waiting for?
Although the tra dao was a real letdown, this is still a great place for good Vietnamese food without having to go to the city. The restaurant’s pho portion size is great and their appetizers are some of the best things on the menu. Whether you love Asian food or are just itching to try something different, Saigon Noodle House in Merrillville, Indiana is worth your time and money.
The restaurant doesn’t have a website, but you can check out their menu here: