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When the holiday goodies become too much, head to Linh’s

By Brian P. Sharp

If you are in the mood for authentic Vietnamese or Chinese food, Linh’s is the real deal. You could miss this little restaurant if you aren’t careful. Situated next to an international market, Linh’s is located at 4770 Airway Road in Dayton (between Smithville and Woodman). It’s close to the Air Force Museum and only 10 minutes from downtown Dayton.

Filled daily with regulars, you can often find a line of customers waiting to be seated.  But the food is so good, it’s worth the wait. I even overheard a man say to me that there are occasions when he has been there twice in the same day.

On this particular night, my friend Steve and I were lucky enough to walk in and get seated immediately. We were then greeted by servers Lisa and Jacqui who truly know the menu well and can make suggestions from either the Vietnamese or Chinese offerings.

One of the specialties is certainly the pho. If you haven’t tried pho, you need to.  Pho is a noodle soup that is a staple of Vietnamese cuisine. It can be made in different variations, but always has either a beef broth or a chicken broth base. Different sauces like hoisin sauce and peppers accompany the soup. Good in taste and rich in flavor, you can eat pho with both chopsticks and a spoon, in order to enjoy every drop of the broth. The broth is so hot that the meat actually cooks when the broth is poured over it.  There is also a vegetarian pho offering, as well as an entire vegetarian menu.

Linh's soft spring rolls

We decided to start with spring rolls – they are offered in soft and fried options – we ordered both. The soft are offered in both vegetarian and meat options and are served with hoisin sauce topped with chopped peanuts. The fried rolls are served with fish sauce and arrive piping hot. I followed the spring rolls with hot and sour soup from the Chinese menu. The soup is served with crispy noodles on the side.

For our entrees, Steve ordered pho -the spicy beef and pork version with rice noodles rather than egg noodles as it is traditionally served. The soup is accompanied by a plate of herbs and vegetables that can be added to the soup – like jalapenos, bean sprouts, lime wedges, basil and cilantro. The soup arrived steaming – with the meat partially cooked – finishing its cooking as the herbs and vegetables get added at the table as you desire. The soup is served in a large bowl – however for the heartiest appetites you can actually order a larger size – leaving plenty to take home for later.

I chose mala chicken with green beans from the Chinese menu. A mix of grilled chicken, green beans, onions and jalapenos stir-fried in a brown sauce and served with white rice.  The mala chicken is a nice mix of spicy and sweet. All of the entrees are family-sized, leaving plenty for leftovers.

Spicy beef and pork pho with rice noodles

The menu is full of options. Besides the meal-sized soups, there are house specialties, vermicelli salads, stir-fried noodles and clay pot entrees on the Vietnamese menu. Don’t miss the Vietnamese coffee on the beverage menu. On the Chinese menu there are house specials including egg foo young, Szechuan, Kung pao and mala entrees; appetizers and the usual soups (hot and sour, egg drop and wonton).

If you are lucky enough to arrive when Lisa and Jacqui are serving, you are certain to have an amazing experience. While the Chinese menu options are plentiful, full of flavor and expertly prepared – they are not the reason to visit. Linh’s is the best choice for authentic Vietnamese food in Dayton. Always present are chef/owners Hoa and Phan Nguyen.

Linh’s is available for lunch and dinner. Closed Mondays, the restaurant is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Carry out is also available.

Who wants to join me for a piping hot bowl of pho?

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