Restaurant Review: Ha Long Bay

Vietnamese Lunch

Even though Madison isn’t a super big city, there is a very strong market for foreign cuisine. All over the city, but especially, on State Street & Willy Street, you can find some top notch ethnic food. Some of my, and Sam’s, favorite cuisines include Vietnamese & Thai, Indian & Japanese. We also have this eerie sense of always been on the same wavelength when it comes to food cravings. So after doing a much needed thorough spring clean, we both looked at each other and said “Let’s go out for dinner”. And we both thought of Ha Long Bay.

Vietnamese Lunch

One of our local favorites, Ha Long Bay has an extensive menu of Thai, Vietnamese & Laotian food. Located on Willy Street, this restaurant never changes. And it never needs to. It is just so good. Don’t go in expecting a quick meal (Me and Sam always call it “Ha Long You Wait”) but the wait is well worth it. We had worked up quite an appetite after a morning full of cleaning, so a big, full lunch was in order.

Vietnamese Lunch

We started off the meal with a new item that we hadn’t had before– the sweet and spicy chicken wings. SO GOOD. I was so impressed. They were fried to absolute perfect. The breading was thick enough without being too chewy. The chicken was so hot and tender. And the sauce. Holy cow. It was literally the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, plus it had a wonderful hint of peanut oil in it. This is going on the “we must order” list for future visits.

Vietnamese Lunch

Next on the docket was our bevy of entrees. We decided to share three different entrees. First, came the beef & vermicelli noodle salad. With sauteed lemongrass beef a cold herb, cucumber & noodle salad, this was exactly the light entree that I needed to start. It was so simple and tasty. Next came the star anie and beef stew. WIth big chunks of onion, carrot and potato, this stew is hearty and flavorful. The star anise really comes through and makes for a super unique flavor. And to finish it off, was a classic massaman veggie & chicken curry. Served in a clay pot, the broth on this curry is so thicky and creamy, and has lots of cinnamon, coconut & curry notes. So delicious over rice.

Vietnamese Lunch


Author: Megan Arz

I am a travel and food obsessed Midwesterner living in Chicago and dreaming of the world. I work as a full-time program manager for Greenheart Travel, but I am also committed to integrating the travel lifestyle into my every day routines. I am passionate about ethical travel, meeting new people, creating unique memories and eating local cuisine!

4 thoughts

  1. OMG I am dying over this outfit – those wedges are killer and you look super chic in that white top!! There’s a ton of good Vietnamese food here (I live really close to Little Saigon haha), but your lunch looks delicious! :)

    1. Yeah I love these platform sandals; the color just speaks to me!! And little saigon? omg yum! I would be eating out for lunch and dinner all the time!

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