Just north of Orlando’s downtown, along a stretch of 1950s storefronts around Colonial and Mills avenues, a thriving Vietnamese area (variously called Little Vietnam, ViMi, and Mills 50) is flourishing. Many people fled here upon the fall of Saigon, and now diners can find cheap meals here, true to Vietnam’s reputation for nuanced flavors. Park anywhere (most buildings hide secret lots behind them).
The quickest meal is bánh mi, addictive baguette sandwiches stuffed with thinly sliced veggies (cucumbers, daikon, carrots), cilantro, hot peppers, a buttery secret sauce, and meats such as roast pork, pâté, or meatball (or tofu). They’re shockingly cheap ($4), hot, and made to order. The best are at Bánh Mì Nha Trang, hidden in an ancient strip mall (1237 E. Colonial Dr.; 407/346-4549; Mon–Wed and Fri–Sun 10:30am–6pm), where they barely speak English but are improbably friendly—every transaction ends with a chipper “See you tomorrow!” Also get them at the counter beside checkout at Tiên-Hung Market (1108 E. Colonial Dr.; 407/422-0067; daily 9am–6pm), a catch-all for Asian groceries.
At most of the area’s Vietnamese restaurants, where entrees range $8 to $12, menus drone on like a Russian novel, but each place has its specialty. Phó 88 (730 N. Mills Ave.; www.pho88orlando.com; 407/897-3488; daily 10am–10pm) excels with pho beef noodle soup; bowls seem as large as hot tubs, with many flavors vying for dominance. Its two enormous spring rolls could fill an average stomach for $3.25. The specialty at Ánh Hông (1124 E. Colonial Dr.; www.anhhongorlando.com; 407/999-2656; daily 9am–10pm), on the corner of Mills, is tofu (especially fried). Neophytes prefer the mass appeal of Little Saigon (1106 E. Colonial Dr.; www.littlesaigonrestaurant.com; 407/423-8539; daily 10am–9pm), which has dining areas with orange walls and green tablecloths that place it as slightly more upscale than its utilitarian one-room neighbors.
It’s not just Vietnamese food, either—Mamak Asian Street Food (1231 E. Colonial Dr., mamakeats.com; Tues–Sun 11am–10pm) has gathered a fast following for its Malaysian/Singaporean delights like roti canai pull-apart bread with spicy coconut gravy. Japanese desserts make a showing in the form of boxed mocha ice cream and macarons in the one-room Japango (1212 E. Colonial Dr., japangomenu.com; Sun–Thurs 11am–9pm, Fri–Sat 11am–10pm) and mocha doughnuts at Dochi (1222 E. Colonial Dr., dochicompany.com; daily 11am–3:30pm). And the popular China-founded, 300-strong teahouse chain Möge Tee (636 N Mills Ave.; mogeteeusa.com; daily noon–9pm) arrived in early 2021—the signature delight is a concoction of red dragon fruit, green tea, and sweet or salty cheese foam.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.