Eating authentically prepared food lets you taste the very essence of a country and draws far fewer angry glares than chewing on its national flag. Enjoy harmonious international relations with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of contemporary Asian cuisine and drinks at Rice Paper in Edina.
At Rice Paper, owner An Nguyen dishes out the Vietnamese fare she grew up enjoying, enlivening traditional plates with healthy preparation that preserves flavor and texture. Begin a jaunt down the menu by stretching hamstrings, donning a jumpsuit, and noshing on the roadside smoky plate, an homage to street-cart cuisine that tosses crispy tofu in a fresh ginger, mint, and lemongrass sauce, among the eatery's bamboo-grove-inspired decoration ($10.95 for lunch; $14.95 for dinner). Stacked with vegetables, the Mekong Encounter chicken dish blends crunchy snow peas, tender asparagus, and creamy curry-coconut sauce into a dish both tactile and tasty ($12.95 for lunch; $17.95 for dinner). A comprehensive gluten- and dairy-free menu re-mixes lunch and dinner dishes to fit selective diets and provide soundtracks for the hottest clubs. Traditional beverages such as sake ($8+/glass) or Thai Singha beer ($5.50) complement bites, and wine ($6+/glass; $26+/bottle) fuels great conversation.
An Nguyen's full-wall photos of cool, shadowy bamboo groves serve as a tranquil backdrop to her restaurant and a reminder of her homeland of Vietnam, which she left in 1970. All of Rice Paper's recipes emerged from An's childhood in Vietnam, with an emphasis on contrasts such as sweet and sour, soft and crunchy, hot and cold, or Laurel and Hardy.
Though the dishes are traditional, they have been stripped of fat and salt in favor of healthier steaming and grilling. While perusing the eatery's separate gluten- and dairy-free menu, guests can sip on a glass of wine or artisan sake.
3948 W 50th St.
Edina, Minnesota 55424