Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
If you've ever driven north all the way up Marine Drive to Yigo, you'll come to a stoplight at Gayinero Road (just before Our Lady of Lourdes Church), and you'll notice a small white building on the right corner with a sign that says "Tuan's Restaurant!" If you've not been there to eat yet, I highly recommend you park your car and go in...they're open seven days a week from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm (you will be glad you did!).
Tuan's has become a favorite diner for those wanting a quick, inexpensive, tasty, and filling meal. Though the entrees are your typical Vietnamese/Chinese fast food items, from Won Ton, Beef, Shrimp, Seafood, and Combination soups to several Fried Noodle plates, and the assortment of Beef, Pork, Chicken, Shrimp and Fish Dishes, Tuan's has "hit" the taste target with their special preparation of quality ingredients.
Their Fried Lumpia is a "must-have" dish, and at $5.00 for five rolls, it's one of Guam's better bargains. The fact that they're also deeee-licious is just an added bonus. I even learned a new eating trick from my lunch companion who advised me to put some hot chili paste into my fish sauce before dipping my wrapped creation into it. For those who've not tried Fried Lumpia this way, you start out with a large leaf of Romaine lettuce, then you sprinkle some white rice noodles onto it, kind of like making a bed, add a few bean sprouts, then place your lumpia roll in the center, and wrap it up in the lettuce leaf. Then you dip it and bite it...marvelous taste! And you need to be careful not to spill too much as you bite.
Kat, our waitress, speedily brought our other dishes out so that we could start eating everything simultaneously...it was a hard decision ordering, because there are over 65 entrees on the menu. The Beef with Lemongrass is one of my favorites...it's the way the onions, lemongrass, and hot peppers are grilled with the beef, resulting in an irresistable savory meal so good that your taste buds will program it into memory. The plate comes with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers, which, when adding some of that ubiquitous 1000 island dressing, creates a soothing salve for your excited tongue! (Ever wonder why every Vietnamese restaurant has 1000 island dressing for salads? I guess that KRAFT dressing salesman made quite an impression with his first sample!!!)
If you're not into beef, Tuan's has Shrimp, Pork, and Chicken with Lemongrass dishes. I've had the chicken one before, and it's quite good, too!
Our other entree was Shrimp with Combination Vegetables. The plump shrimp pieces were peeled and sauteed in a crisp vegetable blend that was fresh and slightly seasoned, with the vegetables dominating the flavors. Although it was Sunday afternoon and I was free to eat anything as part of my special diet (my day off!), I only ate a half bowl of white rice - a fact that I take pride in, as rice tends to be an over-consumed carbohydrate! (I compensated by having two San Miguel's!)
I am partial to Tuan's Fried Tilapia...I've driven all the way up there just to have the Tilapia (Large Size Order is $10.00, and the Small is $8.00). They make a white vinegar finadene that does wonders to that crispy fried fresh water fish. Their Beef Salad is very popular, too, with many liking how well that sauteed sliced steak with garlic goes on that fresh chopped salad bed, topped with vinegar dressing.
Tuan Nguyen, the high-energy, hard-working owner of this establishment, takes great pride and satisfaction in how his customer base has expanded...he has regular customers who eat there several times a week. Tuan's usually in the kitchen overseeing the preparation of the meals and even fixing them himself. He wants to make sure his customers get their money's worth, so he serves over-sized portions and pays more for better quality ingredients. He wants you to return for more!
Tuan's Restaurant is as casual as you can get...shorts and zories are fine, though, I suggest longer pants because the aircons cool the room pretty well. It's a pleasant, well-lit atmosphere, and you'll usually see families at long tables, or happy couples and foursomes tucked away in booths, all enjoying their eating experiences.
It may be useful to write down their phone number (653-8136), as I noticed it was not listed in the Guam Phone Book, nor was it in the GBN (Guam Business News) Restaurant Guide 2000. From what I've seen, a good portion of their customer business is phone orders, and with Tuan's serving a winning combination of good food, quickly, at an affordable price...well, I wouldn't be surprised if he branches out and opens a new location sometime in the future! Try Tuan's - see for yourself!