Tasty Vietnamese lunch at Thanh Tòng in Eden Center, and how we chose to eat there

Some weeks ago when Abby and I were in DC to stay with my sister and her husband in order to see and help out with our new nephew, we took a trip to go to the Great Wall supermarket in Virginia to buy groceries for the household.

Eden Center

But on the way, we stopped at this place we found about called Eden Center that is unique all-Vietnamese shopping/dining center with over a hundred stores. We figured on just exploring a little, then eating lunch, before heading further out to Great Wall.

We didn’t feel like looking up reviews or anything to get a quick lunch. While we were wandering around, Abby ended up picking a place to eat. It was called “Thanh Tòng” (we don’t know any Vietnamese at all, by the way), and we ordered two items and they quickly arrived and we had a very filling lunch.

How did Abby choose where to eat, given the bewildering number of choices?

Salad at Thanh Tòng

Soup at Thanh Tòng

How we chose

There were quite a few restaurants in Eden Center that we saw as we were just walking around. In theory, we could have looked up reviews or looked at menu selections and prices to decide where to eat, but we didn’t.

Abby basically just saw this one little hole-in-the-wall place, remembered it, and we came back to it after looking for alternatives, and she said, “Let’s eat here.” I asked her why, and she noted that the place was small, there were only Vietnamese people (as opposed to “foreigners”) in there eating (and a reasonable number of them) and they looked happy.

Store front

(Photo by Corbo E. from Eden Center web site)

That sounded like reasonable logic to me. I’ve applied similar logic in the past, when in an unfamiliar city looking for Chinese or Indian food. We’re not really interested in fancy furniture or elaborately purple-prosed menu items, just affordable and tasty “authentic” meals.

Abby’s choice worked out pretty well.


Menu board

(Photo by Corbo E. from Eden Center web site)


The salad was large and the main novelty for us was all the bamboo shoots that provided crunch and fiber. It was a filling, tasty salad that came topped with shrimp and a sweet, tangy dressing.


The soup had thick noodles and broth and was chock full of pork, shrimp, scallions, basil, etc. It was satisfying and I slurped down the rest of the broth after Abby was full already with her share.


The time-honored strategy of finding a decent place to eat by looking inside and seeing who’s eating and how fast the action is served us well when grabbing some Vietnamese lunch in Eden Center.

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