A beginner’s guide to eating in Little Saigon

• Don’t be put off by bad service. Servers, especially the older ones, tend to just want to get it done, and in the busiest of hours, they won’t have time to give you a customary “hello.” As the wait staff gets younger however, the service tends to get better.

• Little Saigon is cluttered with mom-and-pop operations. If you see a line, go in. If the place is empty as a Monday morning church service, the food’s probably not all that great.

• It’s inevitable. You will get MSG “poisoning,” which feels like your nape is being rung by a specter pair of hands. Or, it manifests itself by that awful stretching feeling your face gets. Solution: 7 Up or Sprite.

• If you’re ordering Asian beer, they give you a glass with ice. I know it sounds strange, but you’d want to do it that way. The ice dampens the strong after-taste. And iced beer goes well with their food.

• Know what you want before you go in. It’s difficult to discern what you’re going to get from the pictures. And don’t bother with the descriptions under a dish’s Vietnamese name. Of course it’s going to sound good.

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