Tuesday Chinatown Special: Candy-Like Grilled Pork Over Vermicelli At Thai Son
The string of Vietnamese restaurants on Baxter St. between Bayard St. and Walker are among my favorite places to eat in Chinatown and although I’ve tried the pho at Nha Trang, I’d never eaten at Thai Son . Since it was a sweltering summer day, I bypassed the pho section of the menu and instead went for some bun with a mix of Vietnamese spring rolls and grilled pork on top. The generic “grilled pork” on the menu sounds pretty basic, and it is, but calling it pork candy may be more accurate.
Many things at Thai Son can be had for $10 or less, although there doesn’t seem to be any lunch special. The bun range in price from $6.25 to $7.50 depending on what you want as a topping and most are combinations of beef, pork or spring rolls.
The version with grilled pork and springs rolls ($7.50) contained three rolls and four or five hunks of thin meat. Underneath is both a pile of vermicelli noodles and a salad of lettuce and cucumber to balance out all of the meatiness. On the side you get a container of sauce to dip the spring rolls in and some hot sauce if you want it. If I were to order bun from Thai Son again, I’d just go for the straight grilled pork as it was the best thing going on here. It had been grilled over charcoal until the pieces were caramelized, yet not dried out, and was some of the best-tasting meat I’ve had in quite some time.
I’m not sure if this would be better eaten in house, but my take-out version was pretty great. Either way, if you’re stuck at jury duty or you work near Vietnamese row (my name, not an official one) on Baxter St., this is a filling and cheap option. Stick with the grilled pork and you’ll be fine.
Thai Son, 89 Baxter St. (btw. Bayard & Walker), (212) 732-2822, (212) 732-3766