Food Review: Saiwok Vietnamese Street Food in Rogers, AR

All of the ratings online for this place were amazing. It is the #1 restaurant on Yelp in Rogers now. So, I had to check it out. Here’s the breakdown:

ENVIRONMENT

Located in a new shopping center, this place looks like every other business here.

When you walk in, you grab a menu or read it on screen. You order up front, take a number, then find a seat.
There is a bar area with t.v.s to watch or plenty of wooden stools and tables to enjoy.

Overall, it is very modern. Each wall is unique with different modern wallpaper. A large “Saiwok” sign is lit up on one wall. It is very fun.

Where you get your own drinks, you can also pick up sriracha, hoisin, soy sauce, salt and pepper, and sugar or sugar substitutes.

MENU

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Saiwok/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1844062562490958

Their menu can be found on their Facebook page, linked above. However, this menu is a little outdated. The cucumber salad is missing.
Overall, there are a lot of options: fun appetizers such as fried brussel sprouts or street corn, banh mi sandwiches, baos, bowls, soups, salads, and even desserts.

FOOD

Cucumber Salad, $9
Description: Cucumber cubes, heirloom tomatoes, wafu dressing

We started with this beautiful cucumber salad. One of the best veggie dishes I’ve ever tasted was a cucumber salad in Chinatown in NYC. So, I expected flavors of heat, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar.
While this was gorgeous, the flavor was lacking. Their “wafu dressing” is tasty, but there’s no heat. There’s not much salt either. So, I added some soy and sriracha and that made it enjoyable.

House Salad, $6 or $2 to add on to a meal
Description: Mixed greens, cucumber ribbons, heirloom tomatoes, red onions, ginger sesame dressing

We also got our add-on house salad for $2 before our entrees, which I requested. This salad was as tasty as it looked. And it was beautiful! Ribbons of carrots and cucumber, heirloom tomatoes, perfect greens. The dressing was just the right amount and very flavorfully sweet. Loved it!

Saiwok Bowl with Grilled Lemongrass Pork, $9.95
Description: Choose your meat, choose your base, add any additional items. All bowls come with pickled veggies, tomato, cucumber, scallion oil, and chili lime vinaigrette.

Our first entree (I make Drew share everything we get so I can taste it all) was the Saiwok bowl. I choose the grilled lemongrass pork, which was amazing! It was large, tender, so flavorful, and juicy. We put it on top of greens, which may have been a mistake as we just ate two salads already. Rice may have been a more satisfying choice. And I topped it off with an over easy egg.
The egg was perfect! The veggies were perfect. I couldn’t tell there was any scallion oil, it was very dry. So, I used the entire small side of chili lime vinaigrette. After it is all mixed up, it was very tasty.
My only issue was there were no knives to cut the pork into smaller pieces. The pork pieces were about 3 bites each, so I ended holding a piece of pork in my hand and taking a bite with every forkful….it didn’t look very graceful.

Pho Au Jus Banh Mi, $9
Description: Sliced brisket, pho broth, hoisin sauce, sriracha, with shrimp chips. All banh mis come with two small ones.

OH. MY. GOODNESS. I was weary of these banh mis, as they look very bread-heavy. However, I was mistaken. The bread is perfect. The inside is so soft, it is hardly there, just enough to keep your juices in….well, mostly.

This little baby was so flavorful and juicy. I loved every bite. I didn’t even need to dunk it into the pho broth on the side. It was one of the best banh mis I have had…and I’ve had MANY.

The pho broth was delicious on its own, I would definitely suggest trying it!

The problem came with the shrimp chips. I LOVE shrimp chips. I buy them by the bags when I can find them at Asian grocery stores. These, however, were horribly stale and had no flavor. They were left un-eaten.

OVERALL

This is definitely a place to try while in Rogers. It is fun and casual, and can make quite the tasty, healthy meal if you order right…..or it can be as carb-filled and fried as you please. So, really, it’s the perfect place for a group that has varying dietary wants.

While the service is almost missing, you aren’t going to be treated as if you are at a 5 star restaurant. But that’s ok. In fact, I kind of enjoy that. Get what you want, take care of yourself, you’re an adult.

You MUST try the banh mis. Add on the $2 house salad.
Let me know any other must-tries for my next visit.

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