Xich Lo - Oslo, Norway

We had the day off here in Oslo, Norway and I would have done more had I not realized that Oslo-ans make 4 times more money than we do in the states and therefore everything is 4 times more expensive. We found out that McDonald's employees make a whopping 130kr (~20USD) per hour! You can't go to Burger King and get a whopper meal for less than $15 USD. Needless to say it was going to be a challenge to try to find a place that would satisfy my yearning for good food and keep it under 20 bucks.

I had my work cut out for me but I did the classic move of asking around. My first thing to ask was . . . "Where should I eat? Lemme rephrase that. Where should I eat and not pay and arm and a leg?" The concierge lets out a chuckle and gives me this look as if saying "Silly American you can't eat for cheap in Oslo!" I guess I'm a poor judge of character because he says "Just down the street is a great little Vietnamese place, hardly anyone in the place and it's very reasonably priced. It's just above the 7 Eleven on the second story of the building." I was floored, he just hit all the points I was looking for: 1) Vietnamese, 2) Cheap, 3) Hardly anyone there! Have I just been blessed again by the culinary gods?!

Xich Lo is very nice. I'm not going to say it's a cheap dive you can find authentic Vietnamese food in. In fact they don't actually have any authentic dishes at all. The dish I got was what would traditionally be a Chicken Bun (vermicelli noodles with grilled chicken). The restaurant didn't even have pho which I was hoping for. Nonetheless, the food was very well prepared and flavorful. And the nice lemon, mint, orange water, that they serve with the food is a nice touch too.

--Joe Kwon

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