Hello there, friendly folk! For this week’s edition of Scruffy City Simplified, the coolest column for Knox-centered cuisine, coffee and fun, I’d like to turn your attention to Bida Saigon. Located near West Town Mall, this family owned Pho cafe never disappoints.

Though it’s a little ways from campus, I can assure you that Bida Saigon’s excellent menu, great prices and friendly staff make it worth the drive. While the Pho, a traditional Vietnamese soup full of rice noodles, herbs and sometimes meat, is clearly the main attraction, there are plenty of other great options. I’m personally a very big fan of the chicken fried rice and recently the Banh Mi sandwich (meat, veggies, and sauce on a baguette).

The prices are also extremely reasonable. The Banh Mi sandwiches are all only $5.50. The Pho, which is phenomenal, is about $9-$10 depending on the meat you choose. Luckily, the Pho portions are massive, which means it’s very easy to eat Pho again for “second dinner.”

I also really enjoy how customizable everything is. When you get your Pho, it will seem a little bit sweet at first. That’s what the chili oil on the table is for. A little bit goes a very, very long way though. The pho is also served with a plate of veggies you can add if you like including sprouts, cucumbers, and jalapeños. At every table there is also a variety of sauces that go very well with the rice or sandwiches.

The menu has a variety of exciting appetizers and drinks. The rice paper shrimp rolls are an absolute necessity, and the peanut sauce goes very well with them. They also serve Thai Tea and Vietnamese coffee for those that want a drink as exciting as their meal.

The Bida Saigon environment is also quite nice. From my experience, the restaurant is almost never overly crowded and the spaced out tables lend to an intimate, private atmosphere. The staff are all also very friendly.

While there are plenty of great Pho restaurants in Knoxville, Bida Saigon is without a doubt the one that I frequent the most. If you’ve never tried Pho before, this is absolutely the best place around to give it a go. If you’re not crazy about Pho, there are still plenty of options that make this a worthwhile place to eat.

Until next week, good eats and goodbye.

Fulton Myrick is a sophomore at UT this year majoring in journalism and cinema studies. He can be reached at rmyrick@vols.utk.edu.

Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.

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