GARAPAN Saipan — With only one other Vietnamese restaurant on the island another one has opened with a promise to keep prices within reach and the food something to crave.

Saigon Vietnam Restaurant which is located along Beach Road started operation on Feb. 7 and offers a wide selection of Vietnamese cuisine — from Cha Gio [spring rolls] to Ga Nuong Lui [barbecued chicken sticks with mints] Phos [rice noodle soups] in a wide variety Bo Tai Chanh [medium rare beef with lime juice and red curry] and Heo Kho Tieu Man [sliced pork with black pepper and brown sauce in a pot].

This is the second Vietnamese restaurant to open on Saipan. Truong’s was the first to open in November 2004.

Chau Chuong Saigon Vietnam Restaurant owner told the Journal “When I came here I noticed there was not enough Vietnamese restaurants.” Chau who moved to New York in 1979 from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam moved to Saipan last December to explore the possibility of doing business on the island. Chau said “In New York Americans love Vietnamese food.” Chau said he has four Vietnamese restaurants in the Manhattan area

“Here our customers so far are mostly statesiders and locals. They keep coming back. They love the good food ” he added.

Chau has five chefs who he said do not pre-cook the food but instead prepare and cook them very fast so as not to keep customers waiting. Yang Song Chau’s wife and the restaurant’s manager said “We prepare food very fast. We understand that people who come here for lunch only have a one-hour break. They are in a hurry ”

Chau said he opened his first Vietnamese restaurant in New York’s Chinatown area in 1982; he named it Pho Viet Huong. The second named Miss Saigon in the Upper Eastside opened in 1983. In 1986 Miss Saigon 2 opened also in the Upper eastside area. The fourth named Vermicelli Restaurant along 2nd Avenue opened in 1990. Chau said he has managers overseeing the restaurants’ operations and reporting to him from there through the phone and email.

Yang said among Saigon Vietnam Restaurant’s attractions is that customers could have a refill for their beef chicken fish or pork rice noodle soup with no extra charge and iced tea is free.

“It’s picking up ” Yang said who herself worked at the Jade Garden Chinese Restaurant of Fiesta Resort & Spa then the Dai-Ichi Hotel Saipan Beach for three years before teaming up with Chau to open Saigon Vietnam Restaurant. MBJ