Thien Ahn is one of Houston’s best Vietnamese restaurants. I frequented this eatery often , since it was delicious, a great value, and only a trolley ride away from my office. How times have changed. The shuttle is no more and Thien Ahn has moved a few blocks away.
It was once located in the spot where Reef is currently. This was a run-down mini mall with a hair salon, several small eateries, and a Asian grocery store. The stores sold out a few years after the gentrification of the mid-town area begin. Thien Ahn was closed briefly during the move. When it reopened it like an event for the many loyal patrons who had been waiting for their favourite Vietnamese restaurant. Thiehn Ahn is the type of small Vietnamese
restaurant you take your friends to when you really want to show them how good authentic Vietnamese food can be. I prefer skipping the large scale palaces located in Houston’s Chinatown West.
Thien Ahn specializes in grilled items, Vietnamese pancakes, and sandwiches. The staff is prompt, but always friendly and the owners greet you with a genuine “Nice to see you again”. While there try their com ga nuong xa (lemon grass grilled chicken, banh xeo (Vietnamese crepes), or a bun dishes (rice vermicelli with grilled meat of your choice). Many Vietnamese grilled dishes require some marinating so be sure to plan ahead for the best flavour.
Recipe for Com Ga Nuong Xa (Vietnamese Lemongrass Grilled chicken)
1 lb. bonless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed off fat and cut into thirds.
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 stalk lemon grass chopped or 3 tbsp. lemon grass
2tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tsp. good quality fish sauce
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1tbsp. lime juice
Place chiken into a medium bowl.
Mix all ingredients except chicken, then put over chicken and mix.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 12 hours.
Heat a grill to 400 and grill the chicken for 5 minutes per side. The sugars in the marinade will create a beautiful finish to the dish.
Serve with broken rice or a good quality short grain rice.