Food

Cheap Eats 2007: Four Sisters

Amid the hair salons and groceries, delis and coffee shops at the Eden Center—the nexus of Northern Virginia’s Vietnamese community—you’ll hear plenty of lilting Asian pop music but little English.

Except at this orchid-hued dining room, which has a fluent staff, an American nickname (Four Sisters), translated menus, cloth napkins, and forks on every table. It might not be the most adventurous place in the Eden Center, or the truest to its cuisine’s roots, but there’s much to like.

Shredded green-papaya salad is a staple on Thai and Vietnamese menus, but nobody does it as well as here. The dish of tart, crunchy fruit with zingy lime and chili, cooling mint and peanut, and fat pink shrimp is enough for four to share as a starter. The fried pork spring rolls—better than the shredded-pork version—leave nary a trace of oil on your fingers.

Move on to plates of salt-baked shrimp or soft-shells, or caramelized short ribs with black pepper. If you have a yen for bun—bowls of cool vermicelli topped with fresh herbs and grilled meats—look to the northern-style pork rendition, which has a sweetly rich broth.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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