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A Review of Saigon Delights in Kingston, Ontario

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Simon Lam loves to eat. Although he isn't a trained chef, he sure knows what good food tastes like.

Saigon Delights' exterior

Saigon Delights' exterior

Maybe I Went On a Bad Day?

Saigon Delights has the distinction of being the first Vietnamese restaurant in Kingston. It opened its doors in 1992. It has become quite popular over the years, and in response to this popularity, the owners opened two more Saigon Delights locations in Kingston. They offer a variety of traditional Vietnamese cuisine, including Phở, Bún chả giò thịt nướng and Bánh xèo. I went with several friends in late winter 2018. I ordered the Bún chả giò thịt nướng, which is one of my favourite dishes. It has all of my beloved items including spring rolls, grilled pork and rice vermicelli. The price was probably the highest of all the Vietnamese restaurants in Kingston. Although the dish looked fantastic, the taste was a disappointment. The grilled pork was slightly dry. The spring rolls were just alright. My friends seemed to enjoy their meals, so maybe I'm just overly critical. Service-wise, our male server was very good, quite efficient and quick. Their washroom was fairly clean and well-stocked. As for their health record, they made one critical violation, which was corrected. Overall, I think you should try Saigon Delights, but maybe have their Phở or Bánh xèo instead of the Bún chả giò thịt nướng.

A Bit of History

The original Saigon Delights in downtown Kingston was first opened in 1992. It has the distinction of being the first Vietnamese restaurant in Kingston. There are three Saigon Delights in the city altogether. The uptown location opened in 2001, and the newest location in the west end opened in 2013. Saigon Delights has become quite popular with Kingston diners looking for traditional Vietnamese food.

Saigon Delights' interior

Saigon Delights' interior

The Atmosphere

As you walk into Saigon Delights, you are greeted by lime-green walls, mauve trim and a wooden-frame drop ceiling. Artwork adds interest to the bare green walls. Light-brown caramel-coloured wooden chairs and tables populate the restaurant. Living green plants add a touch of nature to the space. Overhead, white pendant lights nicely illuminate the oblong interior of Saigon Delights. Overall, the space is relaxed and comfortable.

The Menu

Saigon Delights offers traditional Vietnamese fare including Phở, Bún chả giò thịt nướng and Bánh xèo. They also have some less sophisticated dishes such as rice and stir-fries.

Bún chả giò thịt nướng

Bún chả giò thịt nướng

Bún chả giò thịt nướng

Bún chả giò thịt nướng is one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes. This dish has all the things I love—the vermicelli, the spring rolls and the grilled pork. So when I was at Saigon Delights, this was the dish I ordered.

When it arrived, it looked so yummy. There was plenty of grilled pork and two spring rolls served with fish sauce, which had carrots in it. Other places just have the fish sauce without much in it, so Saigon Delights gets points for dressing up their fish sauce.

Although it looked quite tasty, I was kind of disappointed. The pork was a bit dry and tasted like excess oil. The spring rolls were not bad, but they also weren't the best I've ever had. Overall, I wasn't impressed with the food. My friends said they enjoyed their food and that it was good. Maybe I'm just too critical.

The Price

The price at Saigon Delights is a bit higher than most of the other Vietnamese restaurants in Kingston. The Bún chả giò thịt nướng was $12.83. I also got a Jasmine tea, which costs $2.

The Service

We were served by a young Asian man. He seemed polite and was very efficient. Our food came out very fast. We didn't have to wait too long for it. That is one of the special things about Saigon Delights—they are fast!

The Washroom

The state of a restaurant's washroom is often an indication of their overall cleanliness and upkeep. When I was at Saigon Delights, I didn't have to use their washroom. One of my friends did use their facilities. She said their washroom was fair but not exceptionally clean. It was, however, well-stocked.

Know Before You Go

The Kingston Public Health Unit has a website called Know Before You Go where they show the results of health inspections of local food facilities. I went on there to check how Saigon Delights did on their most recent inspection. The website recently underwent a major change. Now, they show any violations made by the restaurant. Saigon Delights made one critical violation: "Inadequate thawing of hazardous foods." This was subsequently corrected. I'm pleased their infraction was corrected.