Being a person of Asian descent, nothing is more torturous than not being able to satisfy a food craving. This is a constant struggle I (and the rest of the Asian community) face since we live in a college town in the middle of nowhere. Much of the selection Asian students have around Upstate New York is mediocre sushi joints and Americanized Chinese food – great. Recently, my roommate took me to this Vietnamese restaurant close to campus and all of my wildest cravings were tamed.
Located on 518 Kirkpatrick St., in a neighborhood only a few minutes from the infamous Stella’s Diner, New Century serves a wide variety of authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Do not be threatened by the restaurant’s seemingly out-of-place location, because once you walk in, you will never want to leave. From gigantic bowls of pho that could warm up your entire soul to fresh banh mi sandwiches, this place has quickly become my Asian food sanctuary.
The interior of the place is a lot larger than expected. There is a bar on one side and a lot seating on the other. It is not glamorous or heavily decorated, but that’s because the food speaks for itself. The menu is as thick as a small novel, full of pictures and descriptions of all of the incredible Vietnamese food and drinks available. There is a small selection of alcoholic beverages, including Vietnamese beer but a huge selection of smoothies, bubble tea, and coffee.
Whenever I go to New Century, I begin with the Vietnamese iced coffee, or Cà phê đá. It is a must-have. No matter if you are a coffee lover or not, this will change the way you feel about all coffee and drinks. How it works is they brew a medium or dark roast of Vietnamese coffee through a special drip filter with condensed milk (optional). Then you pour the coffee right into a cup of ice and mix. It is the perfect balance of sweet and bitter for every type of coffee drinker to enjoy.
Then I get spring rolls that are stuffed with a various assortment of vegetables like basil and bean sprouts, pork, and shrimp. It also comes with a peanut dipping sauce but I like using the hoisin and Sriracha (because #SrirachaOrDie). And although my stomach is starting to fill up with all of this incredible food, a massive bowl of beef pho appears in front of me. After adding copious amounts of bean sprouts, basil, Sriracha and hoisin sauce, I inhale the warm broth. The noodles are full of the diverse flavors, and the beef is perfectly tender.
I end the meal on that note, and slowly walk out of the restaurant, stuffed with an almost ridiculous amount of amazing and authentic Vietnamese food. But this is a food coma you’re never going to want to end.