On Friday afternoon August 3, 2012, I unexpectedly walked into this unassuming Vietnamese restaurant located on lower Main Street, in Wailuku, Maui. Although a small billboard on the building's roof identified the restaurant as Jennifer's Place, this turned out to be the unofficial local name of this delightful Vietnamese eatery which is located in the heart of downtown Maui about a 10 minute drive from the airport.
The official name of the restaurant is "A Saigon Cafe" and it is an absolute gem. Upon entering, patrons are immediately transported to the former capitol of South Vietnam, Maui style. For those familiar with the food in and around Saigon, the dishes deliciously prepared at Jennifer's Place are quite similar to the many eateries located in the city of Vinh Long which is located south of Saigon.
The prices are amazingly reasonable and the waiters (I didn't see any waitresses) are all wonderfully friendly, helpful, happy, and cheery. On Friday, I dined on the fresh shrimp summer rolls and had a chicken salad, both of which were delicious. The chicken was so good that I remarked to the restaurant's owner, Jennifer, how special the chicken tasted. Jennifer explained that she raised her own chickens on Maui. She further shared that nearly every item on her menu is fresh and organically pure and that she grows almost all her fruits and vegetables on Maui.
According to one of the waiters I met, Charlie, you can order most everything on the menu mild, medium or spicy. I stuck with medium and this was perfect, although I did seem to consume more liquids during my meal than usual.
I so enjoyed my late lunch at A Saigon Cafe on Friday that I returned for dinner Saturday night. That turned out to be a good move. To say that the meal was absolutely delicious is to understate things. I started out with a green papaya salad that was the best papaya I have ever tasted. I followed up with a fresh fish, ahi, dish that was truly phenomenal.
The next time you visit Maui, do your friends and family a good deed and take them to Main Street to dine at A Saigon Cafe. They will thank you for the favor and you will be rewarded with the satisfaction of not only sharing a great eatery with family/friends but also enjoying for yourself true culinary delight.
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