Hmong Village in St. Paul: 25 Tastes

Kate NG Sommers (top image) and Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The newly opened Hmong Village shopping complex in St. Paul makes no apologies: as you walk among the literally hundreds of U-Store-It-style stalls that fill its warehouse-sized space, you quickly become aware that many, if not most, of the buyers and sellers are first-generation Hmong immigrants. Your English will be of only limited use. Even getting into the building is a challenge; it has cryptic entrances labeled with letters, all of which drop you seemingly at random into a steel and concrete labyrinth. (Once you’re in, wander at random until you hit the wall that’s nothing but restaurants — you’ll know it when you get there.)

“Do you have a Hmong guide with you?” asked the avuncular counterman at Kad’s Deli. “Most people, when they come here, have a Hmong guide to do the talking, and explain,” he added, hoping, I think, that perhaps I did have a Hmong guide somewhere whom I’d simply forgotten to introduce.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

When you come to Hmong Village and dine at one or more of its 17 similar food court stall-style restaurants, get ready to:

a) Pay cash
b) Visit some restaurants that only identify their dishes by number
c) Not necessarily know either exactly what you ordered, or whether you got it

Also get ready to:

a) Eat some terrific food for cheap
b) Be charmed by friendly, homespun service
c) Learn to enjoy new stuff

If you’ve eaten adventurously up and down Nicollet Ave. in Minneapolis or University Ave. in St. Paul, much of what’s served at Hmong Village will be familiar to you. But there are a number of surprises hiding among the eateries, and the sheer number of restaurants in such a confined space makes the Hmong Village food court a real (if figurative) trip.

The man at Kad’s Deli explained that the restaurant hours are generally 11am to 7pm. That said, when we arrived at 6pm, a couple restaurants were already shut down (no pig uteri for us, alas), and some of the restaurants stayed open until almost 8. “11am to about 2pm is the best time to come,” he said.

Another vendor exhorted us to come on the weekend, when the place was stuffed wall-to-wall with people and we would feel like we were truly in another country. To our mind, even on a Wednesday night: Mission accomplished.

– James Norton

Maja Ingeman, James Norton, Elizabeth Mead Cavert Scheibel, Nick Scheibel, and Jason Walker contributed to this feature.

Kate NG Sommers / Heavy Table

Blueberry: Mango Passionfruit Boba Tea ($3)

By the end of the evening, we’d filled three tables with the assorted bits and pieces of about 25 different items from around 15 different restaurants. The mango passionfruit boba tea from Blueberry was the one item we ordered twice, owing to its bright fruit kick, great balance between tart and sweet, and overall unassailable deliciousness. – JN

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Fue’s Cafe: Pad See Ew ($6)

Actually having a printed menu, unlike most Hmong Village stalls, makes Fue’s Cafe stand out for the first-timer. Its food does, too, based on its vegetarian Pad See Ew, made as you order with Chinese broccoli, eggs, and delectably wide, hearty noodles. The dish’s special Thai soy sauce was the key, as it elevated a simple noodle-and-veggie concoction into a well-balanced sweet-and-salty delight that was inhaled by our testers, including a 2-year-old, and was worth the trip itself. It didn’t hurt that Fue’s Cafe had samples of the dish out for all to try; after the sample it was a done deal. – JW

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Papaya Salad ($5)

This papaya salad had three heat versions. The woman who made ours with a giant mortar and pestle, grinding the peppers before preparing the dish, said ours had “medium” heat. This is disputable, and for Minnesota standards, a flat-out untruth. The “hot” version must be an absolute fireball, yet with all the heat this papaya salad did not lose its flavor. Hot, yes, but the burst of flavors from loads of sweet shaved papaya, garlic, and Thai eggplant still emerged. Papaya salads are relatively common at Hmong Village; Fue’s likely sets the standard. – JW

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Fried Black Sesame Cookie ($1.75 for several)

Light, exceedingly crispy, and delicate in flavor, the Fue’s Cafe sesame cookies are as pleasant to look at they are to eat. Reminiscent of an Italian pizzella, and almost exactly like a Norwegian rosette cookie. — JN

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Dragon Express: Sesame Chicken with Fried Rice ($5)

Dragon Express didn’t have much to offer — just two entrees and rice, as well as fried bananas and egg rolls. Let’s hope we caught them on an off night, because the sesame chicken was fine, but certainly no better than your average China buffet. Not overly battered and well-seasoned, it didn’t scream MSG and was probably pretty darn good when it was fresh. But with the array of offerings elsewhere at Hmong Village, you’d be hard-pressed to justify this order, unless you were simply dying for an old standby. The fried rice was decent but forgettable. – JW

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Famous Deli: Chicken Feet ($4)

An impulse purchase of chicken feet from Famous Deli offered a pungent hit of five-spice and scallion. Though the strong flavors provided a nice balance to the sticky texture, the visceral presentation of bone and chewy skin enrobed in the cold, seasoned gelatin leaching from the feet may prove too adventurous for the average Western palate. – MI

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Spicy Chicken ($5)

A more approachable use of the flavors in the Famous Deli chicken feet can be found in the restaurant’s Spicy Chicken. A steaming plate of chicken wings loaded with scallions and hot chili oil, the dish sparkles with contrast — from the crispy deposits of sweet-spicy glaze to the moist, juicy meat underneath. We were sold on the first bite — despite many dishes to taste in one sitting, no wing was left uneaten. – MI

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Her Kitchen: Pho Fawm ($6)

You get a lot for your six bucks at Her Kitchen. Yes, the bowl of pho is huge, like bowls of pho all over the city. But it’s really, really huge. And it contains more sources of protein than your tiny brain can accurately assess. From one order, we pulled pieces of beef, fish cakes, shrimp, meatballs, and tripe. (I was fairly sure I didn’t like tripe before trying this dish; now I’m positive. The rubber-band texture was its undoing.)

But tripe aside, the other elements of this dish are, as a whole, delightful. Garnished properly (with judicious scoops of chili paste, MSG, lime juice, and peanuts), the flavor explodes. And the dish’s thin, delicate noodles serve as a wonderful base for all the hot jazz going on up top. – JN

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Hmong Bakery & Deli: Roll ($1)

This one is attributable to writer error. I tried to order a taro roll; they were out; somehow they gave me a non-taro roll. It tasted like a roll. If you found yourself at Hmong Village wrestling with, say, a skewer of meatballs or a skewer of lacquered chicken (both reasonable scenarios), rest assured — you can dash over to Hmong Bakery and make that skewer into a sandwich. – JN

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Houa Phanh: Pho ($5)

In a pho showdown, the deciding factor is almost exclusively the broth. What Houa Phanh’s beef, shrimp, and meatball version lacks in complexity, it makes up with good, honest flavor. Prior to seasoning, each bite of broth fills your mouth with a mild, pleasantly beefy flavor which dissipates almost completely the instant you swallow — perfect to soothe a sore throat or hangover. Interestingly enough, these rice noodles seem to hold their own the next day — despite having been soaked in broth overnight, they didn’t become the glutinous, saturated mass that day-old pho noodles often devolve into. – MI

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Tricolor ($1)

Among all of the stands serving tricolor, there is an excellent chance that no two serve the same version. If you have enough of a sweet tooth to withstand all the coconut and sugar that goes into that cup, one of the no-holds-barred, noodle-pearl-tapioca combinations may be your best bet. Houa Phanh’s smaller cup layered with red, green, and white pearls doused in the coconut-sugar water combination was a more restrained rendition — despite the sweetness of the liquid, the rice pearls offered a neutral, almost salty flavor which mitigated the sugar rush. — MI

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Kad’s Deli: Mango Sticky Rice ($3)

This is right up there with Blueberry’s Mango Passionfruit Boba Tea in terms of being the correct way to end a meal. Generously dolloped with mild coconut cream and numerous pieces of fresh mango, the Kad’s Deli mango sticky rice is a simple, literal execution of a classic and essentially foolproof dessert. Worth seeking out and savoring every mildly sweet, bright, and creamy bite. – JN

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

California Rolls ($6)

Kad’s Deli sells sushi (questionable!) but restricts itself to non-raw fish varieties such as avocado rolls, cucumber rolls, and California rolls (wise!). The California Rolls are not going to put Origami out of business, but for the amount you get, they’re really not too bad — they’ve got a creamy cucumbery snap to them and very mild imitation crab meat — the overall balance is good.  Hmong Village is not really the place to be hunting down sushi, but if you for some reason feel the need, you will be neither thrilled nor horrified by the offerings at Kad’s Deli. — JN

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The Kitchenette: Hmong Sausage ($2)

“It’s kind of like a brat, but different.” So said our server at The Kitchenette of the long sausage which evoked images of Kobayashi going to town in a hot dog eating contest. Despite the slightly wrinkled, reddish exterior that prepared me to expect a sweetish Chinese-style sausage, this tasted instead like a Swedish potato sausage: mild, meaty, and bursting with juice that, upon biting through the sausage’s skin, could easily dribble down your chin. Pair it with some white or fried rice, and you’ve got a hearty meal of comfort food. – MI

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Chicken Kebab ($2)

The moist, tender chicken kebab at The Kitchenette offers a kick of soy first and foremost, rounded out with a bit of garlic. Kept in a hot pan in a display case, each thin piece of gristle-free chicken is carefully threaded on a skewer, glazed, and grilled, keeping the moisture and garlic-soy flavor intact. – MI

Kate NG Sommers / Heavy Table

K-Pho: Grilled Meatballs ($4)

These two skewers of four meatballs weren’t bad, but they didn’t stand out in any way; a fairly sweet meatball dipped in a fish sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar sauce was reminiscent of an average egg roll without the roll, and the rather pale color doesn’t do them any favors. The meatballs are also offered in a vermicelli noodle salad, and that would probably be a more satisfying choice. Or, get them into a bun for a sandwich — a couple of good-sized rolls, like those at Hmong Bakery & Deli (see above), with these meatballs, and you’ll have a quick, decent, and cheap lunch for two. These meatballs just aren’t what meatballs can be, so they’re better not left to themselves. – EMCS

Kate NG Sommers

Mai’s Kitchen: Papaya Salad ($5)

Procuring this papaya salad didn’t start out so well. I looked at the menu, noted some $8 dishes (the most I had seen anywhere else was $6), and just blurted out an order. The woman who took the order started making it, with a large mortar and pestle, and then asked me what I wanted. I stupidly replied, “I don’t know,” to which she replied, “you don’t know?!” I mumbled something about “trying stuff.” She handed the pestle off to another woman, who kindly endured constant questions about what she was putting in. Despite my initial reservations about the prices, $5 gets you a thick, big cup of salad, with lots of ingredients, including cherry tomatoes, another larger variety of tomato, lime, long green beans, Thai eggplant, fish sauce, shrimp paste, and a tamarind sauce. I had plenty of time to ask questions, because each batch is made to order, so be prepared to wait.

I asked for mine medium spicy (“What do you mean by medium spicy?” another employee laughed), and at first bite I wished I’d gone bigger. A minute later, the heat was building in my mouth, and within five minutes I was desperate for some boba tea — so I ended up just right. Compared to the papaya salad at Fue’s Kitchen, this salad was oversauced — less sauce would have let the flavors of the various ingredients come through more and would have resulted in a crisper texture. Still, with the varied ingredients, I found it more satisfying than Fue’s offering, and you can’t disregard the time and elbow grease that goes into this fresh product. – EMCS

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Moon’s Kitchen: Tricolor ($2)

For a mere two bucks, you can have probably the most colorful and unusual dessert you’ve ever ingested: three kinds of colored noodles, tapioca pearls, a sweet creamy base, and a few extremely ass-kicking drops of almond and banana extracts. Suck it through a giant straw and brace yourself for the flavor and texture onslaught. (We somewhat preferred the Moon’s Kitchen tricolor to the Y-T Express version that came in a bowl, but the sweet-salty complexity of the Houa Phanh version was probably the consensus favorite.) -- JN

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Mrs. Papaya: Congee ($3)

Mrs. Papaya was the first of the restaurants that we visited, and also perhaps the most enigmatic: There were pictures of three different meals posted, labeled #1, #2, and #3. They were out of #3, so we went with #1, which turned out to be a comforting bowl of congee (rice porridge) with fried onions, chicken, cilantro, and a hard-boiled quail’s egg. We were advised to add chili paste, which added a crucial flavor kick to an otherwise quietly soothing dish.  -- JN

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Nang Kwak: Pho Roll ($5)

The woman making Nang Kwak’s signature pho rolls was pulling the noodles out of a giant bowl that must’ve contained four or five gallons of the soft, pillowy things. An order of pho rolls consists of a long, ghostly white noodle rolled up into tube containing mild ground pork and scallions, cut into six pieces. The underseasoned meat makes sense in context, however; the pho rolls come with a dipping sauce that is hot and funky, containing fish sauce, peanuts, and hot chili peppers. The overall effect is wonderful: tender texture, bright hot flavors, and soothing noodles.  – JN

Kate NG Sommers / Heavy Table

Thai Ginger Deli: Beef Lab with Sticky Rice ($5 for the lab, $2 for the rice)

If you haven’t had lab (or larb or laab), the first thing to know is that it’s made to be eaten with your hands, by grabbing some lettuce or rice and then scooping the rest in. You can get by with a fork, but the fork will never construct a bite as well as your hand. If you have had this dish at a Thai restaurant, this rendition probably won’t wow you. This lab was mild — given another chance, we would have mixed in some chili sauce, because it needed heat. That said, it makes a suitable entree, with a mix of cilantro and minced beef and tripe (at least, we’re pretty sure it was tripe) atop of a bed of lettuce, with a pleasing flavor from toasted rice powder and lime. Do not skip the rice. It was very sticky and with some practice, you can scoop up a bite with all the tasty components with little mess left on your fingers. And don’t fear the tripe on this one; it adds an excellent chewy texture to the minced beef. – EMCS

Kate NG Sommers / Heavy Table

Yang’s Cuisine: Steamed White Bass ($5)

Asking the man at Yang’s Kitchen, “What’s good?” we ended up with “the fish.” What turned out to be steamed white bass comes on a styrofoam tray wrapped up like a pork chop. Peeling back the plastic wrap, we encountered a pungent odor of rotting fish. Naturally, there was some trepidation. Our fears were unfounded. The smell emanated from the fish sauce used in the delightful pesto-like paste stuffed into the fish’s cavity, and the fish itself was warm and fell from the bone. Inquiring at Yang’s, we learned that alongside fish sauce, the stuffing mixture contains mint, kaffir lime leaves, green onions, chilis, and MSG, as well as other ingredients lost in translation. The fish is wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed whole. Its moist and oily flesh was resplendent with the flavors of the spice mix, and though a bit of a mess to eat, was certainly worth the effort. – NS

Kate NG Sommers / Heavy Table

Fried Bananas ($1 for two pieces)

If you’re looking for a really fine treat, you should probably skip these. If you just want a cheap, quick snack that will be fairly tasty and take the edge off of your hunger, these fried “bananas” will do the job. Despite being called bananas by a Yang’s employee, they were suspiciously plantain-like in color and sweetness. The taste of the batter was too strong and masked the banana / plantain more than is desirable, and some kind of sauce or topping, for a little more interest to the taste, would have been better, but these made a good appetizer to other, more exciting dishes. Share one of the two pieces; otherwise you’ll be too full to properly enjoy the rest of Hmong Village’s offerings. – EMCS

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Y-T Express: Spring Rolls ($2)

Described as fresh-made and certainly tasting that way, Y-T Express’s pair of spring rolls is a bargain. With rice noodles, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, pork meatloaf, shrimp, and crab, the rolls were jam-packed and served with a fantastic sweet peanut paste. As spring rolls go, pretty standard, but for $2, nobody’s complaining. — JW

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Chicken Curry ($5)

This dish’s preparation and price was key. For $5 comes a bowl of made-when-you-order noodles packed with giant bamboo shoots, carrots, Thai, eggplant and a small chicken thigh bone, prepared by a woman who quite possibly has prepared curry the same way for 60 years. A simple dish, the flavor of parsley, mild curry, and chili oil dominated into a not-thrilling but certainly acceptable meal. It’s easy to imagine this as a workday lunch throughout the Hmong community. And after learning a valuable lesson from Fue’s, the Y-T’s curry we tried was ordered “mild.” The counter girl said, “If an Asian says it’s not hot, don’t believe them. It will be.” Good advice. – JW

Hmong Village

1001 Johnson Pkwy
St. Paul, MN 55106
651.771.7886
HOURS:
11am-7pm (may vary)
BAR: None
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Good luck
ENTREE COST: $5-7

Facebook Comments

comments

Staff

The Heavy Table team of writers, editors, and photographers has been documenting food and drink in the Upper Midwest since 2009.

Visit Website

42 Comments

  1. Great reviews, can’t wait to go. We have friends that live just a few blocks from here, so hopefully we get over there soon.

  2. Great work! I have to make a visit soon!

  3. Soleil Ho11/08/2010Reply

    “If an Asian says it’s not hot, don’t believe them.” Words of wisdom, here.

  4. So, how do I get a guide? Do they have an ‘info’ booth? The food looks awesome…but unfortunately I have issues with wheat and MSG. I’d need those translated dining cards or something….

  5. Hey Jessica, no idea about the guides — they certainly weren’t posted or advertised at any point. I wouldn’t, personally, eat at Hmong Village if I had dietary restrictions — it’s really kind of a Wild West atmosphere vis-a-vis what you’re eating.

  6. We went on opening weekend and it was a hectic, fun, madhouse. Don’t miss out on the slabs of roasted ribs that can be found at various stalls. Delicious, a great value, and excellent for takeout.

  7. Oh, this food looks awesome. I’ll be heading over to Hmong Village on my next trip to the Cities. Thanks for letting us know about this new food adventure that’s available for us to experience.

  8. hey, thanks for doing all the leg and mouthwork for this piece, guys and gals…and thanks for noting msg in some of the dishes, I’m another one who likes to avoid the stuff and probably should stay away from this place. But it sounds interesting and fun…so I will probably check it out.

  9. Howard_Child11/08/2010Reply

    …but MSG = mmm, so good!.

  10. Mister Patrick11/09/2010Reply

    I do a lot of my market shopping there as there are great deals on local veggies out back and they are one of the only places to carry non-local tropical fruits like longan, lychee and rambutan which can be found on the inside portion of the market.

    You really don’t need a guide at the restaurants. Just look around and see what look good either at the stalls or on peoples plates. You forgot to mention the great huge plates of purple sticky rice you can get that go great with things like papaya salad and steamed fish.

  11. I was just there the other day, and stopped by The Kitchenette. I tried the chicken kabobs and the BBQ ribs that they had. It was quite delicious! The Kabobs were very flavorful and so were the ribs! The only thing missing was mash potatoes, corn, and some bread. I’d recommend the ribs to anyone to try, I would say they are better than those at Famous Daves! I believe the ribs were about $2 each, not bad at all for the bargain eater!

  12. Just a note on the “Hmong Guide” thing — that had to have been tongue-in-cheek. I probably hit almost half of the food windows last night, as well as chatting with a couple people at non-food places, and every single one of them had people who, I would guess, speak English as their first language.

    Mister Patrick, are you sure you’re not confusing this place with the Hmong Marketplace in St. Paul on Como Ave? I didn’t sense that the one here (on the East Side) has an outdoor farmer’s market.

    Faith, and the rest of the food allergy/ingredient averse crowd, I would argue that you likely have MORE options here than in the average place, being that are dozens and dozens of options of food made from scratch right in front of you. You have every opportunity to tell them, “please no this or that”, including MSG I’m sure.

  13. Yeah, unless Hmong sarcasm differs a lot from the Midwestern variety, he was pretty serious about Westerners usually coming with at least one person from the Hmong culture. MSPD, unless you hit 17+ restaurants — which we did — I have a number of first-hand experiences that contradict your assertion that all restaurants in Hmong Village had someone speaking English as a first language. Personally, I think that’s great — I dig experiencing other cultures when I dine out. But trying to portray Hmong Village as Southdale isn’t going to do anyone any favors.

  14. Hmong village…loved the food loved the food. Great experience!
    I will be back.

  15. I’ve been there twice now, and greatly enjoyed both visits. It’s nice having a decent-sized produce market on the east side, and new places to eat are very welcome over here. I quite enjoyed the sausages from the Kitchenette; I expected them to be either Lop Cheong, or the cured pork sausages you get at Hmong markets, but they were neither. I wouldn’t call ‘em bratwurst-like; maybe more like a weisswurst? Delicious, at any rate – and inexpensive. I definitely have to try the pho rolls, which I don’t recall seeing; those look great.

    Regarding having a guide: Not something they offer, and probably of limited utility, to be honest. The only time I’ve run into a language barrier was with the herb-and-spice merchant in the produce area, who seemed to be selling what might be cinnamon, by the pound. Not that I need, or want, a pound of cinnamon, but I was never able to figure out if it actually *was* cinnamon or not. The young guy across the aisle, on the other hand, spoke excellent English, and gave me a couple bucks of free fruit with the $3 of onions I bought.

  16. Just had to let you know my husband and I had lunch on Friday at Hmong Village. We got there around 1:00. The parking lot was packed and overflowing. We browsed through the produce market, first. I was so tempted to buy one of those big bags of fresh persimmons. They were beautiful.
    Lucky for us, shortly after we arrived at the food area, a local man, who told us he eats there a few times each week,offered all kinds of tips about which foods to try from which vendor. I wound up with a wonderful sample salad with thin strips of flavorful pork, an egg roll, bean sprouts and thin rice noodles. It was fresh and delicious as well as beautiful. Also had to order some lemongrass chicken. Watch out for the Vietnamese-style iced coffee. Very sweet and strong. Let it dilute a little as the ice melts and it is perfect.
    We enjoyed our visit and hope to get back to Hmong Village again.

  17. Obviously, I’m not trying to make the place out to be some American food court. I’ve heard the same thing about the Hmong Marketplace on Como, the Mercado Central, and on and on, but have never experienced any difficulty whatsoever with language. My point is that nobody should be hesitant visiting these places because they think it will be a weird experience or ruined by language.

    I wouldn’t want the stigma to keep folks from trying it.

    For what it’s worth, I bought things at 8 vendors and every one (on a Wednesday night if it matters) had English-speaking counter people. I also chatted with two vendors at a dress shop and the clothing shop across the way — I wanted to take photos.

  18. Quite a unique place. I strolled around the place and the vendors offer some unique antiques. The vegetable section offers hard to find fruits and veggies. I also noticed the mural painted throughout the room and was astonished.

    I decided to get some lunch for my wife and I so we stopped by Fue’s Cafe for some Pho. Like the comment for pho in the article, pho basically comes down to broth and it was pretty good here. The only down side of it was the assortment of meats.

    My wife decided to grab a toasted sub from the Hmong Bakery (for $3.50! pretty good deal if you ask me) It was surprising that they had subs, probably the only non-asian dish/meal at “the village.”

    We grab some strawberry cream cheese boba from Blueberry. Gave myself a little brain-freeze for the first time in a while cos I couldn’t stop sucking down this stuff hehe. We also grabbed some fried bananas that were mentioned and they were ok.

    We checked back at the bakery to get something for my mother. They offered filled sweet bread/rolls with coconut, custard, and taro filling. We got 2 of each. I only tried the coconut one and I have to say it was pretty good.

    On our way out we had to go back through the vegetables stalls so i decided to try some fruits. There was this sack of fruits that looked like oranges but green. I asked the vendor what it was called but he didn’t know. He said it was a cross between a grapefruit and something else (i had trouble understanding him). I got home and peeled one of these and it indeed tasted like a grapefruit but not so bitter and slightly sweet.

    Overall this is an interesting place and very different. I was expecting another market like the one at como but this place was very clean and open. The layout is like a maze but all you have to remember is the vegetable section means you’re in the middle of everything :) I advise anyone who to check this place out.

  19. here’s my take…

    http://hogears.blogspot.com/2010/11/hmong-village.html

    As far as Hmong’s speaking english…

    Every booth I went to had younger generation Hmong that spoke perfect english and most of the older generation spoke english well also.

  20. Great pictures of the food options available there!

    I don’t think the man implied that you need a Hmong guide. Instead, I think he was actually admiring how brave you were to venture into a foreign environment by yourself. People tend to stay where they are safe and comfortable. Or they take someone else to ease the comfort. When we (I am Hmong) see “outsiders” in our space, it’s a pleasant surprise. And when they are by themselves and comfortable, it’s an even better surprise because they might understand what we go through everyday. It wasn’t that you needed a Hmong guide. It was that you were admirable because you were comfortable enough to go there without one, because that’s rare to see.

    Just saying, I am Hmong and I am forced to put myself into new situations and try foreign foods every single day, without an American guide by my side. Yet, outsiders often feel that they need “guides” when they come into a Hmong space.

    I agree with the man–you were very brave :)

    Hmong Village welcomes anyone, with or without a guide :) Just be ready for an adventure ;)

  21. Do Hmong Village Provide Phone Service too? contact me back please!!!
    hmongproduction@hotmail.com

  22. Luckybell01/17/2011Reply

    Sad to say that Fue’s is no longer at Hmong Village. It was my favorite stop and the owner was very nice. So sorry to see them go. Does anyone know if she has reopened somewhere else in the Twin Cities?

  23. Yet another reason to move to the East Side!

    I want to be within crawling distance of this place…because I will be too full to walk when I leave. :D

  24. Minnesota Wild Tickets10/26/2011Reply

    This place is a hidden gem in st. paul featuring maybe the most authentic asian cooking anywhere in the Twin Cities. I found the large variety of fresh foods not that expensive either. Another great place to visit in St. Paul!

  25. Maimoua Chrsitons04/23/2012Reply

    I live within 30 miles from Hmong Village and I love going out to this place with my family. We visit atleast twice a week and now we do on a family basic. My kids love the lychee flavor with lychee jelly and lychee-strawberry flavor with lychee jelly bubble tea at The Blueberry Bubble Tea place their bubble teas are just perfect everytime I get them. The very same flavor everytime…..We just love this place. Quality in flavor very rich and creamy. There’s a no doubt that my next stop I will grab one in and out. The food are wonderful and I love Mrs.Papaya papaya salad and Mai’s Deli tapioca drink with taro. Who’s know maybe tomorrow I might just have to make a trip there and have my favorite Lychee w lychee jelly bubble tea and spicy papaya salad with Moon kitchen beef pho. anyone who are wondering about this place don’t wonder try it and find out…..

  26. Went today, all by myself! It was great! Just moved to St. Paul, and am already in love with all it has to offer. This was yet another place I will visit regularly. Got the papaya salad at Mai’s deli, and it was amazing. Another vendor made me fresh veggie spring rolls right in front of my eyes. For $8, I have at LEAST 3 meals! Go there!

  27. The food is cheap and the taste is very unique. Not something you find outside of these settings.

  28. You don’t need a guide to go to Hmong village. If you get there and find that you would really like one, get one of the security guards to find you one, simple. Also there are many younger Hmong people there that would be glad to give you guys a tour. Hmong people are very friendly and accommodating–just go and enjoy yourselves.

  29. Everyone should step out of their comfort zone once in a while. Makes life more interesting. First generation people can understand simple English. Just don’t use big complicated words. Plus everyone will leave you alone so don’t be afraid. In the spring and summer time they have produce and other stuff laid out in the back to sell too. It’s like a little festival everyday. Well that’s what it feels like when I have gone there or the Hmong soccer tournament without the soccer. Hahaha. Well now I want to go. Field trip this weekend, maybe.

  30. Por Soua Yang04/16/2013Reply

    Hi my Name is Por Soua Yang i want to find a jobs for this summer if your have the essay jobs please email to me my email nkaujxiaxyooj@hotmail.com

  31. Por Soua Yang04/16/2013Reply

    I know how to write Hmong if your send my something to my email your can write hmong or english ok. I very very love to working at Hmong Store please to me ok???

Trackbacks for this post

  1. [...] out a session of squirrel hunting, Hmong style, over on Perennial Plate (on a related note, we ate our way through the newly opened Hmong Village last week). » Blackbird’s Return and Morning Roundup » Print Version // [...]

  2. [...] by the Heavy Table field trip to the new Hmong Village in St. Paul, I grabbed a friend (Erica, owner of Foxy Falafel) [...]

  3. [...] one of our writers), Crystal checks out the newly opened Hmong Village (our posse-sized visit was chronicled here), and the Steepery Tea Bar (by the Tea Garden) opens in Woodbury. » Local Food Scales Up [...]

  4. [...] started simmering up in my mind a few weeks ago when I was in the Twin Cities. After reading a recent review at Heavy Table about some interesting food being served for lunch at Hmong Village in St. Paul, I [...]

  5. [...] generally the same, was also just a little different. Following some of the suggestions laid out in the Heavy Table piece on Hmong Village I set out looking for Fue’s papaya salad. According to the Heavy Table the heat level was off [...]

  6. [...] Heavy table piece on St Paul Hmong Village Details: document food from each of the 20 stands in the food court Goals: natural light [...]

  7. [...] food at Target Field (here’s our scorecard of new eats), and some photo outtakes from our 25 Tastes of Hmong Village feature. » Smack Shack in the Spotlight and Morning Roundup Tags: All Pints North, Hmong Village, [...]

  8. […] For more information, head over to Heavy Table! […]

  9. […] Southern food joint featuring fried chicken. A guide to great local pho (pictured above: pho fawm from Hmong Village). Apparently there are people who still eat ice cream in this weather. Big Wood Brewery is poised […]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*