Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Green Papaya Offers Great Vietnamese Fare - And Ducks, Too.

Fort Smith's vast culinary landscape is dotted with all sorts of great, reasonably priced eateries. There are many Asian houses featuring Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Chinese cuisine. Green Papaya stands out for its steadfast service, its deep menu and its fine collection of duck-related memorabilia.

Indeed, a visit to the Grand Avenue location of the longtime eatery brings you into hallowed halls where one is watched by one Scrooge McDuck, not only peering from fine cel prints that line the walls but greeting you in place of the traditional Maneki Neko on the register counter.

Eclectic decor aside, Green Papaya fantastically delivers good Vietnamese fare, particularly for those looking for a beautiful deep broth pho, delightfully complete vegetarian dishes and old rice-borne standbys.

Pliant translucent Goi Cuon Tom, spring rolls are always on our ticket, vermicelli and shrimp and vegetables tucked into a soft wonton to be dipped in a rich peanut sauce, a favorite quick, light lunch of mine when I'm in the area, great on their own but also a lovely side with an order of crispy toful with vegetables and fried rice. The crispy calamari are usually pretty good as well, and my dining companions are fans of the fried pork eggrolls.

While the Pho Ga is marvelous, I like to dive into other parts of the menu, like with the Bun Ga Nuong, an ample portion of chicken and fried spring roll over glassy rice noodles, with a splendid array of steamed vegetables. Green Papaya does not skimp on the peanuts, though I go overboard and double down with more of that excellent peanut sauce. I think both go marvelously with the charcoal grilled chicken, which is lightly salted and juicy. 

I also adore the Flat Noodle Plates, where big hand-torn noodles are stir-fried in sauce with vegetables and chicken, shrimp and beef. This is a two-day meal for me, where I will take more than half home for later consumption, as it only gets better the longer it is allowed to marinate. 

Someone in my party always ends up getting the Com Chien Dac Biet, described as one of the best platters of fried rice you'll have in your life. Shrimp and chicken are paired with charcoal seared pork in this egg-heavy fry-up of rice and finely chopped vegetables. There's plenty of protein here for a marvelous meat-to-rice ratio.

I will note, some 12 years ago, Green Papaya was where I was first introduced to the magic that is Thai Iced Coffee, where a dark roast is softened and sweetened with condensed milk. The coffee and tea are made on-site. Soft drinks and fruit juices come in cans or bottles.

Green Papaya is located at 4412 Grand Avenue and 6301 Highway 271 in Fort Smith. You can call ahead your order to )479) 434-4245.or (479) 646-8884.

1 comment:

  1. We visit every Wednesday and always pleased with our food and price


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