Ha & VL: Restaurant Guide 2014

2738 SE 82nd Ave. Suite 102, 772-0103.

[SOUP'S ON, FOLKS] There's nothing better than a steaming bowl of noodle soup on a chilly day. Unfortunately, many Portland shops would have you believe that all Vietnamese noodle soups consist of gristly beef lying atop stiff noodles, soaking in an anemic broth that needs to be doctored with hefty doses of lime and hoisin before it's remotely edible. But Ha & VL's crab flake soup made me forget all about condiments. It was one of the best noodle soups I've ever had, with large, silky rice noodles, perfectly cooked quail eggs, mushrooms, shrimp and shredded pork, all suspended in a thick, flavorful pork broth. While Ha & VL also serves a steady selection of decent banh mi, these magnificent soups are the real reason people drive from all over Portland to cram into this tiny, lime-green dining room plastered with clippings. It serves two daily, and usually runs out by 1 pm—noon on weekends. Picky eaters, be cautious: If you're allergic to shellfish or don't like seafood, stick to Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays (the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays). The best item on Sunday, however, contains shellfish: turmeric noodles, with shrimp cake, shrimp, shrimp, pork, ground pork, shrimp, ground shrimp, pork and peanuts. This special costs a dollar more than the usual daily selection and is totally worth it. Otherwise, it's impossible to go wrong. Top off your meal with coffee and sweetened condensed milk. Like everything else here, it's one of the best I've ever had. ADRIENNE SO.

Pro tip: Cash only for tickets under $15. The place opens at 8 am and if you call ahead, you can reserve an order for pick-up.

8 am-4 pm Wednesday-Monday. $.