An Afternoon in Little Vietnam
corner of Colonial Drive and Mills Avenue, Orlando, FL, USA
An Afternoon in Little Vietnam Orlando Reviews
Apr 16, 2007
If you're in Orlando and want a break from the usual theme parks, tourists and kistch, head for a few hours in the Little Vietnam neighborhood for a few hours for a unique experience.
Start your afternoon by stopping in the popular lunch spot Little Saigon. For about $7 you can have a tasty and filling meal of authentic Vietnamese cuisine. The grilled beef with rice noodles is particularly tasty, and be sure to ask for some peanut sauce. Skip dessert and save some room for a treat later.
After lunch, cross Colonial Drive and head over to Dong A Imports. There you will find cute teapots, plates, wall hangings, man-sized carved tusks, chopsticks, and a plethora of other Asian goods. Prices range from super cheap to whoa expensive furniture. Don't be turned off by lady behind the counter, she will ask you to leave any drinks at the register and might seem a little rude at first. If you decide to buy a teapot (about $14) or chopsticks ($1.50), she'll suggest a tea that you might like ("Gunpowder green tea STRONG! Like gunpowder! POW!") or teach you how to use the chopsticks.
For the fixin's for an Asian dinner to go with your cheap china, head right down the street to the market portion of Dong A, if only to have a look around if fish carcasses take your appetite away. They do carry just about any Asian food item you can think of.
After a stroll through the food market, head back down towards Colonial Drive. Cross Colonial Dr and then Mills Ave, heading towards Lollicup (http://www.lollicup.com/index.cfm), home of the bubble tea (or boba) and pudding. The amount of flavors is extensive, ranging from safe fruity flavors to herbal earthy tastes. The iced milk boba is far better than any other boba teas in the Little Vietnam
After enjoying the perfect cool and refreshing treat for a hot Florida day, head out through the back door towards Hilcrest St. To the right stands Avalon (http://www.avalonbeyond.com/welcome.php), a Wiccan/spiritual shop. Don't let the "Wiccan" tag scare you, long term British owner Miranda and staff are warm and welcoming and you can often find "Sophie," Miranda's daughter playing or asking the visitor questions. There is a wide selection of books on meditation, spiritualism, tarot cards, pendulums, colorful candles... If supernatural phenomena isn't up your alley, check out the large jewelry case of unique silver and semi-precious stone. Miranda buys most of it from an independent vender and the selection is always changing.
While these are some of my favorite spots in Little Vietnam, there are a plethora of other shops in the area. The best way to go is parking behind Little Saigon and walking around.
If the afternoon has left you wanting for a little bit more urban peace before returning to tourist central, hop in your car (or if you're up for a long walk) and head downtown to Lake Eola Park, Orlando's tiny "Central Park." Sit under the shade of some palm trees, take in the balmy weather, feed the happiest ducks on the planet on the lake and watch people from all walks of life go by.
Part of the Orlando Tidbits travel blog
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