Tu Do

Tu Do in Pensacola has been around forever it seems.  It has changed ownership once or twice but it remains the only place I would consider sending someone to try out Vietnamese food.  It's not quite my mother's cooking but it sure does comes close.  I have tried a number of items on the menu and few have disappointed me.

Goi Ga
As an appetizer, my friends and I had a small order of goi ga or a chicken salad.  The chunks of chicken is mixed with some cabbage, onions, green onions, and carrots.  The entire thing is then drenched in a citrusy vinaigrette and served chilled.  I love to order a side of shrimp chips to go with this dish.  I heap the salad onto the chip like it's a dip and eat it that way.  If you like Thai food, goi ga is very similar to chicken larb.

Beef Pho
One of the most popular items on the menu is Pho; a Vietnamese noodle soup.  The most important part of this dish is the broth.  Whether it be a chicken or beef version, the broth needs to be simmered for hours.  There's no way you can cheat that home made taste.  Aside from the broth, the soup can be served with number of things including slices of beef, meatballs, tripe, brisket, tendon and chicken.  The picture is a plain beef version.  Pho is served with a big plate of fixins that include bean sprouts, Thai basil, jalapenos and lime.  I like using them all.  I also add hoison, sriracha, and a touch of fish sauce to my pho. For about $7, you get what's really a huge bowl of food.  The only downturn of Pho for me: you would be hungry again in about 3 hours since the whole dish mostly consist of the soup.  

Ban hoi thit nuong
Bbq pork or "thit nuong" at Tu Do is one my favorites.  There's a number of dishes it's the star of.  From a rice plate to noodles but one way I like to eat it is with "noodle cakes" or ban hoi.  The meat is very tender and sweet. You're typically served a bunch of greens, a bowl of relish made of carrots and daikon and a sweet and salty sauce alongside the meal.  You can mix it all together and eat it or take a bite of greens and relish as you go along.

Someone asked me once where they can find the best fried rice in the area.  This is it; Tu Do's "Com Thay Cam."
Com Thay Cam
Com Thay Cam is so different than those fried rice that every other Asian or even pseudo Asian restaurant served.  This dish has more flavor in each little bite than any I've ever tasted.  First, it comes out wrapped this tinfoil package that you have to peel back.  Then ta-da, the rice.  There's pieces of smoked sausage, sweet bbq pork and some vegetables.  The rice is not dry like traditional fried rice either.  The whole pouch is packed with tons of flavor.  You don't need to add any soy sauce but maybe a bit of sriricha if you like it a little spicier.  Unless you're super hungry, there's probably going to be leftovers to take home.  The only about this dish that could turn people off is there is a little greasy, oily element.  The smoked sausage is pretty fatty so when it stirred fried with the rice that fat seeps out and onto the rice, but that's where a lot of the flavor comes from.

Mi Xao Don
The big fail of the night however was the crispy chow mien.  It's chow mien fried to make it look like a bird's nest the, a stir fry of chicken and vegetables is poured over the top.  I don't like crispy chow mien in general so I didn't taste it but my brother did not like the stir fry at all.  The sauce was good but there was something about the meat he couldn't really pinpoint that he just hated.  He left just about the whole thing untouched.

The prices at Tu Do really can't be beat.  There are a few items that are over $10.  The serving size is substantial as well. The biggest problem I think customers have with Tu Do is the language barrier.  The entire menu is in Vietnamese; however the description is in English.  Customers who have been to the restaurant a few times order everything by the number on the menu instead of the dish name.  The servers are not much help either.  I don't think many of them can describe the dish accurately for customers who wants to know more than what's printed on the menu.  The decor is also a little dated.  Everything is still comfortable, it just doesn't look all that great.  I also don't like the paying system.  I'm always confused whether I'm suppose to go up to the counter to pay or will the server get the payment from me.  There doesn't seem to be a set system for that.  I typically just go up to the counter since it takes quite a long time for the server to come back to the table once he/she drops off the check.

Tu-Do Vietnamese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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