EXOTIC TASTES

Vietnamese Cuisine in Kihei offers authentic fare from owner’s homeland — catering, too

Longtime server Kiet Tran (from left) with chefs Taingu Yen, Ann Carpenter and Khanh Chau  and Carpenter’s Oahu sister Sandy Nguyen. The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photos

Longtime server Kiet Tran (from left) with chefs Taingu Yen, Ann Carpenter and Khanh Chau and Carpenter’s Oahu sister Sandy Nguyen. The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photos

Those still stuffed from turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving may want to venture into light and exotic foods for the holidays.

Vietnamese Cuisine at Azeka Makai in Kihei is just the ticket. For 18 years now, owner and Vietnam native Ann Carpenter has dished up quality-driven and authentic fare of her home country.

“Our house seafood combo is popular,” says Carpenter, the older sister of Jennifer Nguyen of the award-winning A Saigon Cafe in Wailuku.

“It’s got mahimahi, clams, mussels, crab and scallops brewed with Chinese cabbage, served in an open fire pot with jasmine rice or vermicelli noodles,” she adds. “And we have 23 vegetarian entrees.”

Choose from ever-popular green papaya salad to stuffed tofu with fresh tomato sauce to sauteed eggplant, garlic bok choy, string beans and much more.

Shrimp pops are grilled on sugarcane sticks, sliced and rolled in lettuce leaves with fresh mint and cilantro.

Shrimp pops are grilled on sugarcane sticks, sliced and rolled in lettuce leaves with fresh mint and cilantro.

Soups are soul-satisfying at this time of year and Vietnamese Cuisine offers classic pho in a number of styles along with wonton chicken soup, sweet-and-sour soup; and egg noodle soup.

Create your own Vietnamese burritos, dive into rice in the clay pot, crunch crisp calamari and sip iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk. Add whiskey for some zing as the restaurant has a full bar.

“Now through Jan. 15, we are offering 10 percent off catering on take-out only,” says Carpenter. “I can cook for 10 to 100 people. Inside, we seat 50 diners, but I need a week’s notice for that. I want to thank customers. Come back and see me again!”

• Where: Located at 1280 S. Kihei Rod., in Kihei at Azeka Makai retail mall.

• Hours: Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. for lunch and dinner. Will be open Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Tofu-tomato salad is piled high and exudes refreshing tastes and flavors.

Tofu-tomato salad is piled high and exudes refreshing tastes and flavors.

• Catering: Everyone may get 10 percent off take-out food bill through Jan. 15.

• For more details: Call 875-2088 or visit www.mauivietnameserestaurant.com.

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