Alabama Food Blog

Alabama Restaurant Feature: Saigon Noodle House

We sat down with one of Birmingham’s favorite Vietnamese restaurants to kick off our new restaurant feature series where we will spotlight a different place every month! Saigon Noodle house has two Birmingham locations, one on 280 and one in Avondale, and offers the exotic and delicious flavors of South Vietnam! Continue reading to learn more.


Why Alabama? Why Birmingham?2

After fleeing Vietnam, settling in New Orleans, then moving to Birmingham in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, our founders opened the original Saigon Noodle House on Highway 280 in 2009. Pairing with Jim ‘N Nick’s founder Nick Pihakis & his Fresh Hospitality restaurant group (also responsible for Big Bad Breakfast, Little Donkey, & Taziki’s – to name a few), we then sought out the perfect place to open a new location. With what’s been going on and everyone finally realizing the food, entertainment, and residential potential all around downtown Birmingham, specifically Avondale, we knew we wanted to be a part of this new and exciting scene. Our search led us to the old Bottletree building on 3rd Avenue South. With a fun, lively atmosphere, full bar, and fresh authentic food, we are thrilled to add another great spot, as well as a little diversity to the mix!

Where did the concept for Saigon Noodle House come from?4

An homage to the recipes and flavors of their father’s original food cart in Vietnam, our founders wanted to bring a taste of their homeland to the American south. Then, as with all Fresh Hospitality concepts, we start with a commitment to excellence – meaning fresh, never-frozen ingredients (we grow our own Thai Basil!), chef-inspired dishes, and no shortcuts. When you begin with those things, everything else falls into place.

What’s your favorite thing about the food scene here?

That it’s growing and getting noticed! Over the past few years, we have seen a huge influx of restaurants and chefs coming into our city, and they aren’t just coming in, they are succeeding. From James Beard award-winning chef concepts to smaller, family-owned joints, the diversity you have now when picking a place to eat is incredible. Don’t get me wrong, Birmingham has always had a great food scene, but with even more respected restaurants comes even more notoriety and that’s not bad for anyone.

How has it been since you opened?5

We are loving it! Incredibly positive reviews and our love of the process keeps us happy! But ask anyone, opening a restaurant is hard work. Even after the building is built and ingredients are ordered, you still deal with the most important part: people to serve it to! And for them to come in, they have to know we are here. So getting our name out there and letting folks know we are ready to please, as well as convincing some sticklers to try something a little outside the box, is our main goal now. That and our bar should be full every night! It’s really something to see!

Signature dish?

The fan favorite is probably our famous spring rolls. Hand-rolled to order, they are packed with vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs grown right in our garden, lettuce, cucumber, a crunchy rice paper stick, and your choice of char-grilled pork, gulf shrimp, char-grilled pork AND gulf shrimp, chicken or tofu. We also take great pride in creating the traditional Pho soups from South Vietnam. As a result, the broths (chicken, beef, or veggie) are lighter, sweeter, and fresher. Served with a plate of Thai Basil from our garden, bean sprouts, jalapenos and lime for the perfect mix of healthy and hearty – and with three different bowl sizes, it works for a light lunch or a full dinner.


Can’t Miss Food Events: November 2016

PeanutsTaste of Monroeville & Market, Monroeville
November 3

Explore more than 30 vendors with art, antiques, silver, apparel, jewelry and more, entertainment and refreshments.

First Fridays Florence, Florence
November 4

Join friends, family or co-workers to experience the wonderfully festive atmosphere of First Fridays in Downtown Florence! On the first Friday of each month from March through December, Historic Downtown Florence comes alive with art, music, shopping and entertainment for the whole family. Enjoy the sights and sounds around every corner – dine in one of our fine restaurants – shop at our galleries and stores – or take a leisurely stroll to enjoy one-of-a-kind arts and the finest live music around!

Alabama Pecan Festival, Mobile
November 4-6

This family-oriented festival at the Tillman’s Corner Community Center features a carnival atmosphere with rides, food, face painting, arts and crafts, and jewelry. Free grandstand events include a classic country and western show, a Sunday gospel show with topnotch entertainers, and more. Bring the grandparents and bring the kids. There is something for everyone. Friday, 5 p.m. until; Saturday, 9 a.m. until; Sunday, 11 a.m. until. Admission and parking are free. Call 251-401-5555 for more information. The event is held annually on the first full weekend of November.

9th Annual Oyster Cook Off at The Hangout, Gulf Shores
November 4-6

Held annually on the white sands of the Alabama coastline in the heart of the Gulf Coast, the first weekend of November, this year’s Oyster Cook-off will bring together celebrity chefs from across the U.S. as well as a long list of well-known Gulf coast restaurateurs.

Moss Rock Festival, Hoover
November 5-6

On November 5 and 6, 2016 Hoover, Alabama will be a regional focus for art, design and environmental lovers everywhere with the return of the 9th Annual MOSS ROCK FESTIVAL. This highly anticipated one-of-a-kind outdoor eco-creative festival, which in 2012 welcomed 15,000 visitors to The Preserve in Hoover, will explore nature and eco-ideas in the same breath with art and design. There is something around every corner for visitors to discover at MRF. So, grab the whole family and get outside this Fall! Admission is FREE. Hours are 10 am-5 pm Saturday and 10 am-4 pm Sunday.

St. Nicholas Annual Food Festival, Brookside
November 5-6

Established in 1894, the current temple was erected in 1916 and renovated in 1965. Tours of the temple are available. The Sisterhood of St. Olga prepares food and pastries from recipes handed down from Slovak relatives and friends who immigrated to Brookside from Western Ukraine and Slovakia. Enjoy the Russian Beriozka Store with imported gifts and souvenirs and ethnic music and dancing. Food is take-out or eat in. First Saturday and Sunday in November each year. Over 32 consecutive years. Saturday 10-4 and Sunday 12-5.

National Peanut Festival, Dothan
November 4-13

The nation’s largest peanut festival is held each fall to honor peanut growers and to celebrate the harvest season. Festivities include amusement rides, animal shows, agricultural displays, concerts, beauty pageants, arts and crafts displays, contests, food, a two-hour parade and tons of peanuts. Fri., 5-11 p.m.; Sat., noon until; Mon., 5-10 p.m.; Tues., 3-10 p.m.; Wed., 5-10 p.m.; Thurs., 4-10 p.m.

Pepper Place Saturday Market, Birmingham
Every Saturday in November

Visit the region’s farming families who grow fruits and vegetables, and enjoy live music, a light breakfast and cooking demonstrations with Birmingham’s finest chefs. The Market at Pepper Place will be hosting a Makers Village that is being held every Saturday through Oct. 1, rain or shine, in the parking lot of Oven Bird restaurant on 28th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues South. It will feature 25 tents and display areas with a rotating collection of Alabama makers, plus live and DJ’d music, ready-to-eat food and drink, and weekly demonstrations, workshops, and lectures in Scene Gallery, adjacent to the display area. For more information see


Some like it hot: 6 must-try Alabama coffee shops

Whether you’re a java novice or you grind your own beans, the coffee scene in Alabama has something for everyone. From sweet specialty drinks to no-frills caffeination, you’re sure to find your next regular spot among these local favorites. Read More >

Where to eat in Alabama’s football towns

American Football near the Fifty Yard LineIt’s the most wonderful time of the year in Alabama: football season. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hardcore fan or just in it for the Saturday revelry, you’re going to get hungry. Leave the suspense to fourth and 1 – we’ve got the go-to places for chowing down on game day figured out.

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Can’t Miss Alabama Food Events: October 2016

slide_losterfest53rd Annual Bluff Park Art Show, Hoover
(October 1)

The Bluff Park Art Association celebrates its 53rd year in 2016. Always held on the first Saturday in October, this juried fine arts show attracts the best artists in the southeast and beyond for a one-day celebration of artistic talent. Meet the artists and enjoy seeing and purchasing their works of art in a beautiful wooded park setting.

2016 Moundville Native American Festival, Moundville
(October 5 – October 8)

Located at the University of Alabama’s Moundville Archaeological Park, performers, artists, craftspeople and tradition bearers entertain and educate visitors about the rich culture and heritage that makes Southeastern Indians unique. The festival includes living historians, arts and crafts arbors, a children’s area, arts market and trader’s circle, food courts, and a stage for performances. All ages are welcome. Call 205-371-8732 for group reservations of 10 or more. The Festival will take place October 5-7 from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm and October 8 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Cullman Oktoberfest, Cullman
(October 6 – October 9)

Join us for four days of German heritage, Southern style. Planned activities include authentic German food, costumes and music; multiple stage events, a Biergarten, game-day TV, arts and crafts, a car show featuring classic German cars, a bratwurst-eating contest, stein-hosting contest, the Burgermeister Ball, historical tours, and much more!

Barber Vintage Festival, Birmingham
(October 7 – October 9)

Presented by Triumph Dealers of North America, the festival includes road racing, motocross, cross country events, an air show, a swap meet with more than 250 vendors, a fan zone and more. Visit website for event schedule.

45th Annual Kentuck Festival of the Arts, Northport
(October 15 – October 16)

45th Kentuck Festival of the Arts October 15 & 16, 2016 located at Kentuck Park, 3501 5th Street, Northport, AL 35476 is nationally and internationally acclaimed. 270+ folk, visionary, and contemporary artists and expert craftspeople presenting their work to you, free hands-on art-making area for children and throughout the park interactive live demonstrations by expert craftspeople—basket-makers, blacksmiths, woodworkers, traditional potters, fiber and fabric artists, quilters, jewelers, and a glassblower. Live music and story-telling, food and fellowship – this is one of the USA’s Top Ten Art Fairs and Festivals. The event is held annually on the third weekend of October.

Lobsterfest, Anniston
(October 15)

Festival with complete meals, live lobsters, handmade crafts, games and more! Customers can eat in or take it to go! All money raised goes to Habitat for Humanity of Calhoun County.

Alabama Renaissance Fair, Florence
(October 22 – October 23)

Voted one of the top 20 events in the Southeast during the month of October, the Alabama Renaissance is a premier event that transforms Wilson Park into Fountain-on-the-Green for an entire weekend. It is common to find pirates, fairies, trolls, maidens, kings, and everything in between roaming the park during this exciting event. Vendors, demonstrators, and performers will be situated throughout the park for the entire event. Everyone is welcome – especially those clothed in Renaissance attire!

Magic City Classic, Birmingham
(October 29)

This will be the 75th annual game, and it is the largest attended HBCU Football Classic in the nations, consistently drawing more than 65,000 fans. The game features Alabama A&M University and Alabama State University, and it’s the longest continuous rivalry in the state of Alabama.

Alabama’s Best Pumpkin Treats


We admit it: We can’t get enough pumpkin-flavored treats during the autumn months. Check out these seasonal treats from around the state – and don’t forget to share your own favorites with us on Facebook and Twitter! Read More >

We’re Sweet on Alabama’s Best Cakes and Cupcakes


575886c19bcb9Caramel_Seasalt_MochaIt’s a fact: Some days just call for an indulgent slice of cake or a decadent cupcake. Get your fix with one of these five sweet treats.

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Alabama Restaurant Week

Alabama Restaurant Week is a culinary event that unites Alabama’s diverse range of locally-owned and operated cuisine into a 10-day event running from August 12 through August 21!

Participating restaurants offer two-course lunch and/or three-course dinner offerings at an attractive set price.  A three-course dinner meal typically includes a starter, main course and dessert while the two-course lunch meal includes a main course and either a starter or dessert. Specialty restaurants with very limited menus may have pre-fixed meal offerings that are not multi-course.

There are no coupons or discount books to buy or bring. Just ask for an Alabama Restaurant Week meal at a participating restaurant during the promotion time period and enjoy! With the promotion’s pre-set prices, you know before making your plans your cost.

The Alabama Restaurant Week pricing is fixed at $10, $20 and $30 for dinner and $5, $10 and $15 for lunch. In all cases, the price is per person and does not include tax, tip and drink. Restaurants may offer a meal at all or just one of the preset prices.  A restaurant’s regular menu will also be available.