Lin's Vietnamese Restaurant - Guam's Taste of Vietnam Reborn
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
Lin's Vietnamese Restaurant recently opened across from Hornet Sporting Goods next to Olympia Market in Tamuning. There was not a lot of fanfare to this opening, however I believe that residents in the vicinity are quietly celebrating Lin's putting her prominent sign up along one of Guam's busiest thoroughfares. After all, there aren't any Vietnamese restaurants nearby and, most importantly, the food at Lin's is good...really good.
The owner of Lin's is "Chef" Lieng, who most recently operated the now-closed Nha Trang in Upper Tumon across from Nissan. The old location was not as good as you'd think, since parking was quite difficult which combined with the road construction made access difficult. Lin's has more parking available now in it's smaller parking lot than Nha Trang's had in a larger area. Chef Lieng's experience goes back years, both at Lieng's in the Hafa Adai Exchange and at Lieng's II in Upper Tumon. She has a loyal following who will be pleased to know she'll be cooking up tasty eats at her new home.
Lin's small interior is very clean and well-ventilated. Chef Lieng's two daughters, Marlene and Nina, work as servers, and really bring a special family hospitality and pride to the service experience at Lin's, much as I've found at Mary's and Truong's, two other popular family-operated Vietnamese restaurants.
The menu at Lin's has the typical selection of Vietnamese entrees, with Fried Lumpia (6 pcs), Combination Soup, and Chicken with Lemongrass each for $7. Since so much similarity exists among Vietnamese restaurants, there is no mystery in guessing what the food you order will taste like. This is why people usually order based on their preferences and cravings. We had ours so we ordered Beef with Lemon Grass($8), Chicken Curry ($8), and Shrimp Crispy Noodles ($10) which seemed like more than enough for dinner. We also ordered a lemonade ($1.50) and a French Iced Coffee ($2.00), which is a rich, enjoyable coffee beverage unique to Lin's. The Beef with Lemon Grass was flavorful, tender, and plentiful, and came with the usual fresh salad and rice accompaniment. The bright red tomato slices and the crisp fresh lettuce topped with Thousand Island dressing provide a cooling contrast to the spicy, rich tastes of the stir-fried beef, onion and lemongrass sharing the same plate.
The Chicken Curry's savory red curry aroma previewed great taste before the first bite. Lin's does a good job, filling this entree with onions, carrots, mushrooms, peppers, green onions, and chicken. The curry was pleasant though different (lighter) than the heavier Indian and Thai curries we've grown to appreciate. The portion size was generous with plenty to share.
Last, but not at all least, came our Shrimp Crispy Noodles, which really should be delivered with a drum roll. This impressive dish was created as a crowd-pleaser, since every time one is carried through the aisles of a restaurant it never fails to stir a commotion among diners who praise its size and appearance. All of the ingredients (large shrimp, straw mushrooms, broccoli, cabbage, onions, carrots, and onions) are piled atop a mound of crisp noodles, probably about 7 inches tall. At the bottom of the noodle pile was a pool of flavorful broth. The noodles retained their crunch for most of the meal, which should appease some who like their noodles served separately. Though I enjoy the crisp crunchy bites, I also like their taste once they've absorbed the gravy. This was a very satisfying dish as was the meal.
Lin's Vietnamese is open 7 days a week from 11am until 11pm with take-out orders welcome. Place yours or get more information by calling 647-4432. I am pleased to recommend Lin's Vietnamese Restaurant as a place to enjoy "Guam's Taste of Vietnam".