A new Vietnamese restaurant in Frisco is offering a fresh way to enjoy the cuisine that is different from the rest. Called Saigon Box, it's a family-run restaurant with a traditional heart, but with contemporary twists in the food, presentation, and service.
The restaurant features a 72-year-old mom in the kitchen, Tha Tong. Born in Vietnam, she relies on traditional recipes, while her daughter, Huong Tran, adds modern touches.
They opened just before COVID-19 hit, with a novel approach that ended up being completely appropriate for our present-day virus mode.
"Our theme is basically 'Saigon flavors packed in a box,' and in the current environment where to-go orders are so prevalent, we unknowingly chose an approach that worked out well," Tran says.
Their "boxes" are like assembled meals which come in three options: rice, noodles, or salad. They're accompanied by pickled veggies, cucumber, tomatoes, and green onions, and then you choose a protein topping such as Grilled Lemongrass Pork, Pork Sausage, Five Spice Chicken, Caramelized Shrimp, or Sweet Chili Tofu.
They also have a big selection of banh mi, including traditional pork sausage and less-traditional brisket.
"The brisket banh mi is one of our top sellers," Tran says. "That was a spontaneous addition. We also do pho and my mom was making brisket for the pho and she made some for us to eat as sandwiches, and we realized we had to add it."
Like many Vietnamese refugees, Tong emigrated to New Orleans, which is where Tran grew up, and some of their dishes reflect their New Orleans heritage including a shrimp po'boy and a unique rendition of pho, rich with marrow, to which Tong adds red chile spices to give it some red color and spicy heat.
One surprise hit: their fried chicken, an appetizer so popular they feature it as one of their take-out meals, with 22 fried wings, fried rice, and a side of pickled veggies.
"There's American fried chicken, and Korean fried chicken, and we're calling this Vietnamese fried chicken, because my mom adds fish sauce which is used so often in Vietnamese cuisine," Tran says. "If it has fish sauce, it's Vietnamese."
They're in a space at 6363 Dallas Pkwy. that used to be a location of the Tastea boba tea shop chain, which they also owned. But they came to realize that doing their own kind of Vietnamese place was something closer to their heart.
"Most of the Vietnamese places in Dallas-Fort Worth are sit-down style with dozens of items on their menu," she says. "Saigon Box is fast-casual with a modern style. We wanted to provide the authentic cuisine but allow people to experience it in a different, convenient way."