Soall Viet Kitchen
“Soall’ is a play off of the word soul food. We grew up eating this food. This is the food that nourishes us. And I think for most of us immigrants the very humble beginnings and what we have, or at least what our parents were able to provide for us. And I think that’s comforting, right? It’s family oriented. It is coming together. It’s the bind that keeps everything together. And I think that’s ultimately what food is.
And for true Vietnamese comfort, you’ve got to have Soall.
With locations in Marblehead and this sleek spot on Rantoul Street in Beverly, Soall Viet Kitchen is the heart and soul of owners Sa Nguyen and Mia Lunt- two college friends who wanted to bring their favorite family dishes to the North Shore.
“Our goal was to share the our food. When we ever wanted to eat Vietnamese food, we’d have to go into Dorchester and to Chinatown. And being in North Shore. It’s not as convenient so we thought it was just would be a great opportunity to switch to share our food and eventually our culture.”
So when the two set up shop, they created a beautiful, straight-forward, unpretentious spot with big windows, high ceilings and a comfortable vibe.
“I think Soall Viet Kitchen is comforting we’re not a fancy place. We’re not a five star restaurant. We’re just trying to share with you our food in such a way that makes you feel as comfortable as possible. So if someone walks out, off the street and you know have never had Vietnamese food we’d want them to feel like hey, you could come in and we’ll talk to you about what we serve here and you’ll leave pretty happy I think.”
Every table should plan on ordering a few of the tasty starters at Soall, like the slow braised pork ribs caramelized in soy and honey. Or the light and lovely spring rolls.
“It’s like a little salad wrapped in a rice paper. So you have your spring mix or cucumbers, your protein, your noodles, we do rice noodles in there. Here, we serve it with our peanut sauce. It’s an excellent starter. It’s fulfilling, but light at the same time.”
There’s a Vietnamese take on Bao stuffed with pork, cucumber and pickled vegetables with Vietnamese mayo. And Sweet Potato and Shrimp Fritters- a tried and true recipe from Mia’s family.
“I credit that to Mia’s mom. And while I was at BC I would go to her house and one of the things that is always there would be the sweet potatoes and shrimp fritters. It’s thinly sliced sweet potatoes slightly battered and together with shrimp. It’s a fried exterior. The flour binds the shrimp and the sweet potatoes together. And then when it comes out it crispy shreds of sweet potatoes together with the shrimp, and you dip it and our sweet chili sauce. Of course. I’m gonna say it’s delicious.”
For a Vietnamese handheld, nothing quite beats a bahn mi- whether you get it stuffed with roasted pork, bbq chicken or these caramelized tofu puffs.
“So bahn mi is Vietnamese baguette, French influenced. It’s known for its crispy exterior, but really soft interior. The filling is where it’s really fun. You have layers of cucumbers, pickled vegetables, cilantro, various sauces in there. Our most popular one here is a pork belly. And it’s layered with scallion onions as well as mayo…so it’s really packed with lots of flavor, I would definitely recommend a bahn mi. “
Soup is something the kitchen at Soall prides itself on. Whether you try their Shrimp Tamarind Soup – spiked with cherry tomatoes, okra, bean sprouts and basil chili. Or a hearty bowl of traditional Pho.
“So Pho is the name of the actual noodle that goes into the actual noodle soup. And it’s, it’s the standard, I think, by which anyone who’s Vietnamese judges and other persons Vietnamese cooking. It Is the process that my mother taught me, it was one of the first things that I learned how to make. It should come out steaming hot. It certainly is accompanied with your fresh basil beansprouts who is sent cilantro, lime and jalapeno peppers. And it’s meant for you to enjoy your Pho the way that you want to. So you can add a little bit of everything. A lot of everything are a little bit of some and you make it your own. But it is a very hearty bowl of soup, so it’s a meal in and of itself.”
The authentic dishes roll through the menu with options like this caramelized center-cut pork chop marinated with garlic-lemongrass and honey and a traditional claypot presented with salmon.
“So we grew up eating it. It’s a savory dish. It’s made with you know, sugar fish sauce, a little bit of soy. We use a clay pot that basically helps to keep maintain the heat. You’ll find that when it’s served at the table side is still bubbling hot. Following that bubbly situation is the aroma that comes with it. It’s pretty contagious.”
And to cap it off, nothing compares to Sa’s favorite banana tapioca coconut pudding.
“It’s served warm. Has banana in it tapioca. And I think it’s adds really nice texture to this combination of coconut and banana. And we top it with peanuts. It’s delicious.”
And whether it’s a home grown recipe like the sweet potato fritters or a tried and true favorite like the Pho, you’ll be filled in both your belly and your soul at Soall Viet Kitchen.