Springfield MA has a small cluster of Vietnamese restaurants, including a deli that sells awesome Banh Mi sandwiches. Pho Saigon usually wins the local “Best of…” awards in the Vietnamese Restaurant category and as a result is usually packed with yuppies. But in my opinion Pho Saigon is probably the worst of the restaurants in this neighborhood, the flavor profiles are watered down and the service is terribly slow. My pick for more authentic Vietnamese flavors is Bamboo House, it doesn’t get noticed in the “Best of…” lists, but it is where Asian families and the local police officers come for Vietnamese food. They do an excellent grilled pork, they have a fine meat pie, amazing vegetarian spring rolls and their shell on, salt and pepper shrimp is a stand out – they also have incredibly light but flavorful sauces on their stir fry dishes, no oily gloppy sauces here.
The Dumplings – You don’t often see dumplings at a Vietnamese restaurant, at Bamboo House they are in the appetizer section listed as “Pork Stickers”. Bamboo House serves a big burly pork dumpling that very much looks home made, the eight piece appetizer portion will fill you up. The serving of dumplings I got were fried crispy, golden brown on one side and the other facets were also lightly fried, so I think the dumplings were lightly cooked in a deep frier and then pan fried on one side. The pork filling had a rich mouth feel and flavor that was slightly sweet. The left over dumplings also re-fried well the next day for lunch. These are definitely some of the better dumplings available in the Pioneer Valley.
The Dipping Sauce – Bamboo House serves the same excellent multi- layered dipping sauce for a number of its dishes, including the vegetable spring rolls and the Vietnamese crepes. The sauce starts of sweet in the front of your mouth, has a gingery middle taste and then ends with a slight spicy heat. The sauce pairs really well with the dumplings.
The Location – Bamboo House and the other nearby Vietnamese restaurants are in the Six Corners neighborhood of Springfield, at the intersection of Belmont Ave, Sumner Ave and Dickinson Streets.