Cilantro’s Chicken Noodle Bowl

Neighborhoods adjacent to college campuses consistently have plenty of cheap eats, but good luck finding something healthy. Enter Cilantro Vietnamese Bistro. Recently relocated from its tiny lunch counter location on Clifton Avenue to its more spacious bistro-style home on West McMillan, the restaurant’s menu has fortunately stayed mostly the same, including my longtime favorite, the noodle bowl. Cilantro’s noodle bowls, called bun in Vietnamese, are enormous portions of thin rice vermicelli, chilled and tossed with shredded romaine, cucumber, carrots, mung bean sprouts, sautéed onions, fresh herbs, peanuts, and nuoc mam dressing. Each bowl is then topped with a choice of beef, chicken, shrimp, tofu, porkabobs (skewers), or pork egg rolls. Priced at $6.50 (add $1 more for shrimp), I think this spot earns high marks for a healthy, budget-friendly lunch.

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