Best Lunch in Boston: SA PA | Fooda

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While you were getting ready for bed last night, the kitchen staff at SA PA was hard at work marinating and braising the pork for the banh mi you had for lunch today. At this quick-service Vietnamese eatery, everything on the menu is made fresh, in-house with real ingredients. Having spent his childhood in Saigon, where baguettes were baked daily and pho was prepped from scratch each morning, SA PA owner Ky Nguyen wouldn’t run his restaurant any other way. We caught up with the two-time Best of Fooda winner to find out what’s new and what’s in store for SA PA in the coming months.

What’s new at SA PA since we last spoke?

Food truck season is starting. We’ll be serving our Fooda bowl menu as well as banh mi sandwiches on the SA PA food truck. We go all over Boston, out to Waltham, and a few other places around Boston.

When we checked in with you last year, the noodle bowl was your best selling dish. Is it still a huge hit with customers?

Yeah, people really like the noodles. There are a lot of Mexican and Mediterranean places that have rice. Noodles are an Asian thing and people like the texture. It’s a little different than other starches.

How did growing up in Boston surrounded by Vietnamese culture influence the menu at SA PA?

I grew up in a Vietnamese household but lot of my friends were typical American kids, so American culture was very much a part of my culture as well. SA PA is a natural blend of both cultures. We use French cooking techniques to braise our protein along with Vietnamese spices, flavors, and produce. The menu isn’t traditional Vietnamese by any means, but it’s delicious. It’s kind of like a mix of different cooking techniques and flavors that have a background in Vietnamese cuisine.

You’re a back-to-back winner for best lunch in Boston. What do you attribute to your success?

We have a really good, consistent team in the kitchen. We make everything fresh every night and every day. We also have a really good Fooda staff. It’s a lot of work to run these events and the staff I have does it well.

What food trends are you seeing in Boston?

The fast casual, lower price point segment is booming in Boston right now. Tech is playing a huge part in terms of access to food. It’s all about bringing food to the people. From Fooda, to Uber Eats, to Postmates, I’m seeing a trend of third party services connecting people to food. Food trucks are extension of that, too.

Do you have any exciting plans for SA PA in the near future?

We’re working on getting our beer and wine license. Once the liquor license transfers we’ll be opening up for dinner. The dinner menu will be different from what we offer for lunch. Expect more exciting dishes, like street food that pairs with craft beer.

Fooda consumers have voted SA PA the best lunch in Boston for the second year in a row! With a liquor license and a new food menu on the way, this Vietnamese eatery might become your favorite spot for dinner, too.