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Bites Nearby: Pho Delight

Vietnamese cuisine is considered one of the healthiest anywhere. Judging from Pho Delight, I can see why.

Did you know that Vietnamese cuisine is considered by many to be among the healthiest on the planet?

I didn't until doing some research after eating at Pho Delight on Lawrenceville Highway in Lilburn. The food was so refreshing -- so little oil, lots of herbs and vegetables -- I think the distinction is warranted.

The steamed spring rolls appetizer (two for $2.75) was a great start to the meal I had there with Stone Mountain Patch Editor Leslie Johnson. They had a crisp freshness, a delicate basil note and a nutty sauce that was both subtle and flavorful. And shrimp!

The talent that Asian cooks have of balancing herbs so that the flavors reach out to you one by one, then end up in a sumptious unisono, is unique, I think. And Pho Delight doesn't disappoint in this.

As an entree, Leslie had the Pho Dac Biet (medium bowl for $6.50), a noodle soup with eye-of-the-round beef, flank and brisket. There was also some soft tendon and tripe involved. Leslie declared the dish delicious, and I'm sure she's willing to answer your questions about the latter ingredients. (You're welcome, Leslie.)

Chef and owner Manh Thi Nguyen recommended the Bun Thit Nyong Cha Gio ($7.50), and that's what I had. It's a dish with grilled pork slices, a crispy egg roll, some cucumber and other shredded veggies, with basil and cilantro leaves, all over a pile of vermicelli noodles. A sauce with an aroma I wish I could describe comes on the side (it's delicate and not something you run across often); you pour it over the dish and the result is a really pleasing melding of flavors, textures and smells.

Pho Delight is all about the food -- don't expect a lot in the way of decor or atmosphere. And it's a good idea to bone up on Vietnamese cuisine before going, in case you have questions about the menu, because English hasn't yet been mastered by all staff members.

What's missing in translation isn't flavor, for sure, though. In the same strip mall as the International Farmer's Market in Lilburn, the place seems to be a favorite for local Asians. That speaks for itself.

Pho Delight doesn't serve alcohol, and there are no desserts on the menu. There are, however, a number of shakes available, made from the likes of durian fruit to avocados and taro. Other drinks include hot jasmine tea, fresh lemonade, salty lemonade and freshly squeezed orange juice.

I told you it's healthy.

Pho Delight is located at 4805 Highway 29, Lilburn, 770-806-8181. Open daily from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Dish prices range from $5.50 to $9.95. Appetizers are $2.75 and $3. Shakes are $3.

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