One of my top International District restaurants is Huong Binh.
Ten plus years ago, my Vietnamese friend brought me there for their famous grilled meat.
Ten plus years later, I still believe they have the best grilled pork and pork balls.
Located in Ding How shopping center, there was no way one would miss Huong Binh with the most colorful display of snacks, candies, cookies and to-go food outside the restaurant.
I still remembered when all those display used to be around the cashier inside the restaurant; they piled so high that it was difficult to find the cashier.
My favorite in Huong Binh is the grilled pork, grilled shrimp and grilled pork balls combo, and there are different carbohydrates options: steamed rice, wide noodle sheet or vermicelli.
Rice option has simple sliced cucumber and sliced tomatoes, comes on a plate with awesome fish sauce.
For wide noodle, it comes in a tray with a plate of the meat on top of noodle, a plate of greens consists of basil, lettuce and cilantro, and a side of dipping fish sauce.
If the choice of noodle is vermicelli, there is the tray option similar to the wild noodle, or the more common, bowl version, with noodle at the bottom of the bowl, meats on top with bean spouts, lettuce and etc.
Recent visit with my parents to Huong Binh made my Dad really happy; he thought the food was better than Hong Kong’s Vietnamese food.
The pork balls were a little less bouncy than usual that day, but still of great texture, tender and awesome.
Flavors were strong — an absolute garlic love fest, with lemongrass, and soy sauce; they were also fatty, but not in an unpleasant way — it almost felt like the fatty mouthfeel left by toro — wonderfully desirable.
The grilled pork carried the same flavors as the pork balls, with perfect amount of meat to fat ratio, and a perfect amount of char on the meat.
However, warning: grilled shrimps were a “meh”.
Probably frozen and not the greatest quality, texture was so-so and flavor was ok.
I only ordered the three-way combo because that was the only way to get grilled pork and grilled pork balls on the same plate.
The deluxe combo was all of the above with a fried shrimp paste wrapped sugar cane, a signature Vietnamese preparation.
My Mom had their soup noodle with fried crab and fish balls, which was decent as well.
Broth was delicious, and the seafood balls were fairly bouncy.
The best part of the meal was the fresh-squeezed sugar cane juice.
Machine is right out in the front, and for $5, I received a 12 oz. cup, which is certainly way cheaper than Chaat House.
As long as Huong Binh’s food stays the same, I will be back for the next 20 years!