I’m a bit ashamed to admit that after living in D.C. for 10 years, I have never been to the much venerated Eden Center, the local mecca of Vietnamese food. But, I decided to change that this year!
Eden Center is in the Seven Corners area of Falls Church and is home to over 100 food stalls and restaurants. Plus, the variety in the choices of what to eat is incredible. But honestly, a visit to Eden Center can be a bit overwhelming and intimidating for a first timer -- how do you know which spot to pick and what to eat?!
After sourcing tips from friends in the know, I’ve put together a primer to find your way around. Now, it’s going to take numerous visits to really try all the riches it has to offer, but consider this a start. Go hungry, carry cash and leave happy as a clam!
- Thanh Son Tofu
One of the most popular places in Eden Center, there is usually a line to get their housemade deep fried tofu in a variety of flavors. It’s super crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside whether you get the regular, lemongrass chili (a favorite!) or the mushroom onion flavor. You can also pick up fresh soy milk and some Vietnamese desserts here. Pro Tip: Make this your first stop, get a Styrofoam cup full of fried tofu and snack on it as you walk around.
- Huong Viet
This cash-only spot is no frills, but the food is delicious. Their house specialty is the Bun Thit Nuoing -- cold vermicelli noodles topped with pork, pickled carrots, peanuts, cucumbers, cilantro and fish sauce.
- Thanh Van
Try the bun xeo (Vietnamese pancake) or even the bun hue chay (a spicy noodle soup) at this vegetarian restaurant. But for something a little different, try the lot root salad Goi ngo sen, which is a perfect mixture of crunchy stems and pickled vegetables, with fresh herbs and dressing.
- Nhu Lan
There are plenty of spots serving Banh Mi sandwiches, but Nhu Lan is especially popular. Opt for the signature sandwich, which comes with a hefty portion of pate, ham, cilantro and pickled radish. The best part? It costs a measly $3!
- Banh Mi So 1
This might be the easiest place to get to since it’s located on the exterior, but their banh mi’s are worth all the hype they get! It's especially easy to grab and go if you are just driving through the area. They bake their bread daily, and the sandwiches also run about $3.50. Cash only.
No visit to Eden center is complete without a bubble tea. Stop by Pandan to get one before you head out!