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THE DISH: Miss Saigon

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Staff Photos: Meghan Kotowski The restaurant serves, from bottom left clockwise, shrimp pho (Vietnamese beef noodle soup), "shaken" filet mignon with white rice and vegetables, spring rolls and shrimp fried rice.

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Miss Saigon has both indoor and outdoor seating for guests.

Map

Miss Saigon

Miss Saigon

Miss Saigon

6590 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite 201, Duluth

770-418-1818

-- Open since: 2008

-- Owner: Young Noh

-- Location: Miss Saigon is located at the intersection of Sugarloaf Parkway and Meadow Church Road next to the T-Mobile store. The restaurant is next to the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

-- Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays, closed Sundays

-- Atmosphere: Miss Saigon is a laid-back restaurant with a small staff, and guests range from families to business people to athletes who have left the gym -- everyone is welcome.

The spot has tables and booths, plus outdoor seating that looks over the parking lot of the Arena at Gwinnett Center. The patio is very popular, especially when a large concert is in town and cars fill the Arena parking lot.

The walls are sea foam green with wooden ships and shelving hung around the restaurant. Three porcelain geisha girls watch over booth diners as they slurp pho, nibble on rice or receive complimentary chopstick lessons from someone on the wait staff.

The kitchen is open to the dining room, so guests can watch as the cooks mince, dice and chop food into colorful creations.

As a warning, Thursday is this restaurant's busiest day. If you want to avoid the loud crowds, come any other day of the week -- except Sunday because the place is closed.

-- Menu: The cuisine is a blend between Vietnamese, Thai and Korean with hints of Chinese, especially on the lunch and dinner menus for American diners who like to stay in their comfort zone -- think General Tso's chicken and Mongolian beef.

But if patrons haven't been back to Miss Saigon since its opening in 2008, they may be surprised because some of the menu has changed since then. Owner Young Noh took over the restaurant in June 2011 and moved things around.

Now the restaurant makes a variety of Asian dishes, instead of solely Vietnamese, although pho is still very popular. Pho is a Vietnamese beef noodle soup which is the country's famous street and night food, comes with either beef, shrimp or chicken in a beef broth with rice noodles and onions. Then you can add anything to the dish, including hoisin or chili sauce, bean sprouts, Thai basil, cilantro, jalapenos or lime juice -- the flavor is up to you.

The other two popular dishes are rice entrees (fried or white) or bun (vemicelli aka long pasta like spaghetti). Order either one and you have a choice of meat which is served with vegetables.

-- Things you might not know: If it is your birthday, someone special will sing opera for you.