Vietnam Kitchen

Pho and Vietnamese Coffee


Words to live by.

Vietnam Kitchen is one of my favorite restaurants in Louisville. Mine and everyone else's, since its been voted a Louisville favorite for more years than I have fingers. Despite being a hole-in-the-wall nestled in a strip mall located in a sketchy neighborhood (it's like the turducken of questionable locales!), a visit there promises a run-in with all types of people. In just one visit, I spotted my college professor, a friend's parents, a local food writer, the grubby kid I babysat for ten years ago and a vegan metal band.

Shhh. Pay no mind to the crowded dining room, harsh fluorescent lighting and sticky tables.  Upon tasting the first bite of your astoundingly delicious meal, you will feel like a stupid asshole for sweating over such trivialities.

Key Points and Trivia:

  • Everything on the extensive menu is super tasty. Their food is revered by meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike.
  • They have the best avocado milkshakes and iced Vietnamese coffee, brewed at your table and sweetened with condensed milk.
  • The owner is an older Vietnamese man who can be seen riding his bicycle to work. One time during a thunder storm, he wouldn't allow anyone to leave the restaurant in fear for their safety.
  • There are festive colored light bulbs protruding from the walls adjacent to every table. If you tell the waiter it is your birthday, the VK staff will dazzle you with an exclusive incandescent light show. This entails dimming the overhead lights and turning on the special bulbs which flash in a jerky sequence as if the cook is back there flipping on and off the switch. All this to the tune of "Happy Birthday" sung by a choir of heavily accented VK employees and reluctant diners.
  • When I was in high school, my best friend drank everyone at our table's saucer of sweet and sour sauce. This was a dare, and of course she earned serious street cred. This feat was trumped by the time she was challenged to fit an entire Qdoba burrito in her mouth and succeeded.
  • Before I came along, Kurt and his friends shared many Christmas dinners here, kind of like in A Christmas Story if it were starring dirty punk kids. I'm on the fence as to whether this is sad or awesome.
  • Their fortune cookies always have the most eerie/absurd/enlightening messages.

Vietnam Kitchen has no website, but you can find it here:
5339 Mitscher Avenue
Louisville, KY 40214


  1. i love that no matter where you are in the world, kids always love food dares. there is just something really funny about making people eat or drink something really gross for entertainment value (and street cred).
    i still love daring people to do this even though i'm 29. I have $1 dares where I just point at something gross 'I'll give you a dollar if you drink/eat that?' Of course, it's been turned back on me and i've had to eat an entire block of butter and snort powdered sherbert. Good times.

  2. HA HA. I was about to reply that I loved this post, and then I got to the end, so now it feels narcissistic. BUT FOR THE RECORD, it was a taco bell taco, not a qdoba burrito. differencia muy grande.

  3. What kind of pho is that? It looks delicious!


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