8078 Kingston Pike, 865-694-5999
Mon.–Sun., 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Originally, the place was the most unique eatery/poolhall in town; steaming bowls of Pho—Vietnam’s celebrated noodle soup—were served on one side of the space while pool sharps plied their trade on the other. These days, felt-lined tables are less popular than tables set with big bowls of aromatic broth and plates of add-ins: bean sprouts, basil leaves, and ribs of culantro (an herb that looks like miniature romaine leaves and tastes of cilantro). In addition to the magnificent pho, there are plenty of appetizing and authentic Vietnamese options including banh mi sandwiches, vermicelli noodle dishes, and eggless crepes. No matter what you do, don’t miss trying the spring rolls or one of the specialty (non-alcoholic) drinks.
7818 Montvue Center Way, 865-691-0237
Sun.: 12 p.m.–9 p.m., Tue.-Sat.: 12 p.m.–10 p.m.
This place is like an open secret—everybody seems to know about it but only a few folks have actually eaten here. That’s a shame; it’s a fun place to visit, particularly on a weeknight when you can (often without waiting) grab one of the tables with a grill station for the full experience of grill-your-own Korean BBQ. Even so, the menu offers lots of food that you don’t have to cook yourself—bulgogi, bi-bim-bop (rice, egg, meat and/or vegetables served in a hot stone bowl), and of course banchan. Banchan are the copious little plates of different delicious tidbits of kimchee, marinated or pickled vegetables, and even some sweet glazed tubers. Try starting the meal with a kimchee pancake. Service can be spotty (and moody), so bring patience and a smile.
7741 Northshore Rd, Suite 101, 865-539-9888
Sun.–Mon.: 11: a.m.–9:30 p.m., Tue: CLOSED, Wed.-Thu.: 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m., Fri.-Sat.: 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
Located in Rocky Hill in the same strip mall where you’ll find Casa Don Gallo, Asian Hibachi has been open under its current ownership for only about six months. While it’s true that you can feast on teppanyaki, hibachi, Mongolian beef, sesame chicken and the like, the real reason to stop here is the option to order authentic Malaysian street food. The hand-written menu of options is taped to the wall and includes noodle dishes like tam tam, chow mee hun (sic), and char koay teow as well as laksa noodle soup.
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