At 83,000 residents Nampa, Idaho is the second largest city in the state. Both the redneck and spiritual center of the state, Nampa is the rural, God-fearing workingman’s urban hub. But, after suffering a series of brutal economic blows and setbacks, downtown Nampa now teeters at the brink. Or maybe it’s a turning point.
Step aside BoDo. It’s time for another installment of DNT. (Official revival name yet to be determined, but work with me on this.)
Downtown should always be synonymous with diversity (in my opinion), so this week I’m proud to boast about Nampa’s best and only Vietnamese restaurant, smack dab in the middle of downtown.
The Little Saigon
I realize I am a whitey, like most of those here in Nampa (either hispanic or whitey). But I do own a Vietnamese kid and spent a couple weeks in country while acquiring him. My wife and I have eaten Pho in five states and two countries (including the one it originated in). So I have a little authority when I say Little Saigon makes a mean bowl of Pho. (Maybe a little more cracked pepper than traditional, but I find the twist a nice touch). My only criticism is they don’t have a large bowl option. The only size they serve is plenty satisfying for normal or healthy appetites. But there is occasion for a whopping bowl.
The restaurant is actually owned and run by Vietnamese. While they do offer the typical selection of Chines dishes as well, do yourself a favor and order from the Vietnamese selections. A steak house may have a great hamburger, but when you have the chance for excellent steak, why settle for burger?
If you have lived here in Nampa for a while and still haven’t tried Little Saigon’s Phở Thì, for shame. (You don’t want people to think you’re a racist, do you?) Just kidding. But just incase you thought Asians were only good at math and science, remember, cooking involves both! (I know, I’m horrible.)
Doing better than most downtown restaurants, Little Saigon actually maintains good hours even in the summer! They are wisely closed on Sunday, considering that like 80% of Nampa’s population deems it anathema to dine out on the Sabbath (you know I kid!) (Sorta). So feel free to adventure there most anytime you get hungry. Make DNT (Down-Nampa-Town) great!