Monkey Bridge

Seattle

The double-date food combo of Megan/Evan and Ashley/Matt is something that seems to be a common theme in my Kiichi Chaos-ings. It was the Seattle show of the Dream Theater tour when Meg and Ev picked Ash and I up to (once again) eat some great food in Seattle. 

To date, I feel like I’ve eaten almost everywhere worth eating at in Seattle – and I’ve always been very pleasantly surprised how amazing the food has been. 

Our lunch spot was Monkey Bridge, a Vietnamese joint. If you haven’t been to proper Vietnamese before… or are one of those people who think all Asian food is either mall-food-court fried rice and sweet and sour pork (crap) or sushi… you are wrong. Every Asian country (and region for that matter) has something new and exciting to offer – don’t get me wrong, you can go to the wrong place, you can get something terrible made by someone who doesn’t give a shit about your food experience… food takes a bit of digging. I have found that every single one of my “random” food drop ins (going into somewhere with no research, recommendation, or preparation) of recent – have been absolute shite (even in places like Paris, Vancouver, Sydney – there is food that sucks… you just have to evade that crap – I can help).

Vietnamese is a cuisine of beauty. From it’s humble traditions of mainly being street foods you can get in Vietnam – nowadays in the rest of the world – you find those street foods in a restaurant. In Orlando, near where I live, there is a little Vietnam. You can find some really damn good Vietnamese restaurants. Places known for their Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup – traditionally, beef noodle soup), places known for their Bahn Mi (Vietnamese sub – heavily influenced by the French (tracing it’s roots from the French colonization of Vietnam)). These are the two main things to look for if you’re starting off with Vietnamese food – if your Vietnamese spot doesn’t do either of these well… run like hell.

Monkey Bridge is a more upscale representation of Vietnamese. I am more used to the down-home, semi-shabby interior, office park-ceilinged, humble Vietnamese hole-in-the-walls – so it was interesting to see the more so higher-brow Vietnamese joint.

I ordered the Vietnamese Ham and Egg Baguette (Bahn Mi): French baguette spread with a homemade mayo, slices of Vietnamese ham, fried egg, cilantro, and a drizzle of soy sauce. Rice pudding soup accompanied. This was a great contemporary spin on the Bahn Mi (Bahn Mi typically has more “creep meats” as my wife calls it – the “good stuff” as I call it: things like head cheese-esque lunch meats, tendon-derived yummy bits and all) but! This would be a great introduction to see where the Bahn Mi is nowadays. Clean flavors, clean meats – the ever-so-required fried egg (I think all Asians want a fried egg on their everything), crispy, perfect baguette. Again – I emphasize that this is the cleaned up, modernized version – a great intro if you’re new to Vietnamese. 

I rate Vietnamese places by their Bahn Mi and their Pho. I usually opt for the Pho Dac Biet (I believe that translates to something along the lines of “everything but the kitchen sink” in Vietnamese: typically brisket, rare slices of beef, mystery beef balls, tendon, tripe, and some other offal-goodness), Monkey Bridge Noodle was noodles in chicken brother with prawns, fish balls, quail egg and Vietnamese ham, topped with green onion, cilantro and fried shallots. The traditional toppings of bean sprouts, basil, jalapeno, and lime came with (make sure you put all that stuff in your Pho – makes it better). 

Monkey Bridge’s house Pho was again, a contemporary spin on something traditional – and having to this day, only had super-traditional Vietnamese – this was a fun flavor eye-opener. It contained about the same number of the Dac Biet – but just obviously different things. The quail egg and fish balls were a great combo alongside the other ingredients.

Monkey Bridge did some pretty solid stuff. I may be partial to the traditional-stuff, as I’ve hinted at in this episode, but I’d say this would be a good starting point to work your way backwards into the classics.

15 thoughts on “Monkey Bridge

  1. Have you gone up the space needle Matt? They have a restaurant at the top. It would be awesome to read what you thought about the food there!

  2. I’ve never had the guts to order the tendon, and since I don’t like tripe, that’s double reason to stay away from the dac biet.

    I did enjoy 2 banh mi’s today from the adorable lady at Nha Trang. Is it wrong that I used my phone to record the audio and sent it to some friends? I can’t help it, she’s hilarious!

  3. thai food. interesting. :)
    ‘I think all Asians want a fried egg on their everything’. hilarious! coz being asian myself, it’s kinda true for me. XD
    i was thinking, among asian cuisine, which is your favorite, matt? :’>

  4. Ugh that sounds so delicious. Here in Indiana, there’s not a lot of genuine good food that I’ve found. The nearest to oriental here is a few good Chinese buffets and a noodles and company.

  5. Hei man, I’m a Vietnamese myself. And a Trivium fan. :D

    I really am happy that you appreciate Vietnamese cuisine. That’s what I also love most about my country. Damn good street food everywhere. If you have a chance, come to VN man, it’s a destination to be for any food-lover.

    BTW, it is actually “Banh Mi” not “Bahn Mi”. We don’t have the word “Bahn” in our language.

    Cheers from VN!

  6. As a Vietnamese Trivium fan, I find it so endearing that you appreciate my culture’s traditional cuisine. What I find even more impressive is that you are more into the traditional version of the food, which is hard to find nowadays, even in Vietnam, because people keep adding different ingredients to make their dish “stand out” from other shops. People are starting to forget the traditional Pho (and other dishes as well) and it’s sad to see our true traditional dish gradually morph into something completely wrong and different as people always try to “improve” the dish to suit people’s taste. If this keeps going, my generation and all the ones to follow will never get to know the authentic taste of their culture’s traditional food.
    You, as a foreigner to my culture, on the other hand, still appreciate the real traditional food that my people are starting to forget, and for that I give you my sincerest respect. Hats off to you, sir. :)

    • thank you so much! i am passionately in love with Vietnamese food. i truly hope to get over to Vietnam some day to be able to enjoy the real thing.

      i find a very similar metaphor of what you said happening to metal as well. kids don’t trace the roots… people keep straying away from learning what the influences of what they love are.

      food! it’s roots need to be preserved. you should start that movement! keeping vietnamese food traditional

      • I agree with you (about metal). That is why Trivium is the only new metal band that I love so much. In fact, Trivium is my favorite band. I really appreciate the fact that you guys are really trying to keep metal as it is, as it should be.
        Thank you so much for being awesome! You truly are a person I could look up to.

Leave a Reply to Kathy Nguyen Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *