Xuan Saigon

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I’ve mentioned before that finding a good variety of veggie food can be difficult in Loudoun County, VA.  It gets trickier the further west you go.  Leesburg offers a few restaurants with a few veggie options, but nothing anywhere near an all-vegetarian restaurant.

Thankfully, there’s Xuan Saigon, Leesburg’s only Vietnamese restaurant, located on Fort Evans Road in the same shopping center as Anita’s (which is visible from business Route 7).  Their menu [PDF] [1] has a seemingly small vegetarian section, but there are other veggie options scattered throughout the menu, and all are quite good.

Chef Xuan Nguyen’s daughter-in-law is vegetarian (possibly vegan, I’m not sure) and helped to ensure that these dishes are made and served truly vegetarian.  They’re not made with fish sauce, which is comforting, and if they happen to bring you fish sauce as a side, you can ask that they bring out a tasty veggie sweet and sour sauce instead.

I’ve been to some Vietnamese restaurants that offer a “vegetarian pho,” but when grilled about the broth, they admit to using the same beef stock that they use for their beef pho.  Thankfully, this isn’t the case at Xuan Saigon.  Instead, their broth is a homemade veggie broth that’s simply delicious and compliments the full bowl of rice noodles, veggies, and lightly fried tofu.

The one appetizer that you simply have to try is the Ginger-Lime Tofu.  Every guest we’ve taken to the restaurant–including avowed tofu haters–has been amazed at the ginger-and-onion-topped crispy tofu.  It’s finished off in a nice sour-and-salty fashion with a dip in a lime juice, salt, and pepper mixture.  .  For every two people in your party, order one of these appetizers.

Last night while talking with our server (one of the chef/owner’s sons), he asked if I was vegan.  When I nodded a confirmation, he mentioned that they’ve just worked up a new dish that’s not on the menu, a vegan crepe stuffed with all sorts of veggies.  It sounds like banh xeo, which I’ve had homemade before, but never in a restaurant.  Let’s hope it makes it onto the menu soon.

Beyond the food, though, is the service.  Many of the people you’ll encounter are family members and Chef Xuan often comes out and greets diners during their meal.  She’s a kind, generous woman and it’s heartening to see her vision for a unique Vietnamese restaurant succeeding in Leesburg.

So, next time you’re shopping at the outlets or hanging out in Leesburg for some other reason, schedule some time in for a stop by Xuan Saigon.

[1] The menu on their web site seems to be a little out of date – the latest version of the menu has a few more options listed.

2 Responses to “Xuan Saigon”

  1. Mark

    I’m a vegan who loves all kinds of ethnic foods, especially Vietnamese cuisine. One thing that’s offten not on the menu in Vietnamese restaurants is something most of them will happily make for vegan patrons: Lemongrass Chlle Tofu. Be sure to ask for the tofu to be fried, so that it’s extra chewy.

    When ordering the cold rice paper wrapped Spring Rolls, insist on having them served with a side of lettuce leaves and fresh herbs, including mint, basil, and, sometimes cilantro, along with sides of peanut sauce and chile paste. These are usually only served with the hot eggrolls, which are also delicious. Wrap the rolls up in the lettuce leaves, along with some fresh herbs, then top with the sauces. Yum.

    Bon appetit.

    Mark from Ventura.

  2. Nicole

    This is a favorite veg restaurant of mine! The Vegetarian Pho is amazing as is the ginger lime tofu! The food is always so fresh and clean – I always leave so satisfied. Really delicious – especially great as we head into the colder months.

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