Kim’s brings authenticity to cuisine

New Restaurant Kim’s Vietnamese Restaurant offers a wide variety of authentic Vietnamese cuisine. It opened in November 2010, and has affordable food and a helpful staff.

Tricia Peterson

I have always been a stickler for fresh food, especially when it is inexpensive and you get a lot of it.

Kim’s Vietnamese Restaurant is the perfect place to satisfy my craving and many people agree.  If you pass Kim’s on any day, any time there are always people eating there, whether it be two or 15.

The employees are very helpful and kind, offering to share their knowledge of Vietnamese cuisine with whoever walks through their door.

When I arrived, the waitress Chanh Rattanavongsy, who is also a food artist and does some of the garnishes for their dishes, asked me if I had ever eaten authentic Vietnamese food. When I replied that I had not, she immediately brought me samples of each type of noodle and explained them to me while I tried each one.

Rattanavongsy explained that each noodle has a different purpose, whether it be soup, egg roll, or stir fry.

They have four noodles, the clear noodles being the most authentic to Vietnamese cuisine I decided to order “Hu Tieu Tom Ga” which is “clear noodle soup with shrimp and chicken”. I had never eaten anything like this before and was expecting some chicken noodle soup with shrimp in it. Was I ever so wrong.

The waitress brought me a huge steaming bowl of broth, cilantro, noodles and green onion which was aromatic and enticing. She sat it beside a plate of fresh bean sprouts, more cilantro, fresh lime wedge,  and jalapeño.  I didn’t know what to do with it all, and obviously looked confused, which I am sure, she was expecting. She explained you were to put the sprouts, jalapeño, squeeze of lime, and more cilantro into the soup, only if you liked it.  To make it spicy they keep Sriracha sauce on the table, but beware, it packs a punch. It only took a small squeeze to give mine a little kick.

When combining the fresh bean sprouts with the broth it softens them up but keeps them crunchy enough to know that they are bean sprouts. The lime juice is just enough to give it that hint of lime, not to overwhelm the taste buds, but to enhance the other flavors in just a way that makes the dish perfect.  The clear noodles seemed chewy as a sample that was served on a plate, but in the hot broth they were slippery and tender, but they did have a little spring to them still which is a different experience than the spaghetti noodles I am so used to.

They also offer stir fry options, teriyaki chicken, beef with broccoli and many other dishes of that sort.  In addition, they roll their own crab rangoons,  spring rolls and dumplings.  Kim’s even makes its own sweet and sour sauce, which is thinner than what you get in a Chinese restaurant. Their tea was Vietnamese tea called Lotus Tea, and has a different flavor than what Americans are used to. I tasted a hint of clove, which was just enough to not be overpowering.  It is a little darker than normal but a nice change from the Lipton tea bag I am usually served.

I enjoyed my first experience at Kim’s Vietnamese Restaurant and plan on going back many times to try their other dishes.

If you want to experience authentic Vietnamese cuisine in Topeka, Kim’s is the perfect place to go, located at 1901 SW 10th Ave. near the hospital. They offer dine-in, carry-out, and have a drive through, open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.