Dothan, AL - It's no secret the Wiregrass is home to a multitude of restaurants, but if you are growing tired of the typical steak and potatoes you may be pleased to learn some exotic eats have made their way into the area.
Almost two years ago, restaurant entrepreneurs from Tallahassee Tiffany Phan and her husband were looking to open a second Asian restaurant. They chose the circle city.
"Dothan is the center of a lot of small towns, and another thing we noticed is that a lot of restaurants in Dothan are buffet style Chinese. So we think we can maybe show the locals how fresh Chinese food is," says Phan.
Not only does Asian Bistro serve made-to-order Chinese, they are also serving the foods of their native country, Vietnam. Dishes like bahn mi, A Vietnamese sandwich; spicy clay pot, a traditional lunch for farmers; and Vietnamese barbecue.
Phan says, "Most of them are family recipes. Most of my family knows how to cook."
These traditional Vietnamese dishes are not only tasty and full of flavor, but they are also low in calories and can help trim your waistline.
"Most of our food, Vietnamese cuisine is grilled, not deep fried. Steamed or grilled. That's why it is so low in calories,” says Phan.
The salad bowl, a grilled chicken and rice noodle dish, clocks in at about 340 calories, and the traditional Vietnamese soup, pho, is only around 200 calories.
"If you come in and have a bowl of pho in front of you, you can smell the different herbs. It is very healthy, especially if you have a cold. It will clear up everything," says Phan.
Those who are willing to give it a try, say it's almost like the real thing.
Barbara Minsky says, "It's the only place in Dothan I can get authentic Vietnamese food. I've been to Vietnam, and it's the closest thing to real Vietnamese food there is."
However, Asian Bistro is barely breaking even- the restaurant is tucked away in the Metro West shopping center near Outback.
Tiffany's husband is back in Vietnam visiting family and brainstorming on ways to bring in more customers.
"Right now we are just trying to get our name out and to increase the business. When my husband comes back, maybe he'll have more plans for us," says Phan.
Leon Minsky says, "I wish more people would find out about it. It's like a little hidden away gem in Dothan."
"I just hope more people come because I don't want it to close down,” says Barbara.
Asian Bistro is open for lunch and dinner. Customers say the servers are very helpful, and will be more than happy to explain everything on the menu.