by The Great Foodini

People ask me why I write this column and do my radio show (I do it for free and have been for most of 20 something years btw). Short answer is because I love food and the experiences surrounding food. As I explain to my sons, food is a way to really understand a place. I am an intellectual type who is always exploring. Luckily, I have developed a way to explore through my sense of taste as much as sight, sound or touch.

On New Year’s Eve, I decided to have my last meal of the decade with my two sons at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant, Kim Long on Division St. in Biloxi.

Kim Long is about as good as it gets when it comes to Vietnamese dishes and you can catch an indication of that by the predominately Vietnamese locals who fill the place every night.

So, as I reflected on my year and tried to keep my sons from flipping the table from cutting up so much, I realized we had stumbled into a magical moment.

The golden light from the sinking sun filtered through a foggy window and danced lazily on our skin and scattered light across steaming bowls of brisket pho and heaps of Pad Thai. My oldest son’s face shined in the last light of this decade and looked up and said. “I love you dad. Thank you for bringing us here.”

Fighting back the emotion that flooded in, I asked “How is the fried rice?” which is his favorite. Our eyes were locked on each other and he nodded with his little smart-assed smirk and said, “It will do”.

Just then my seven-year-old decided to yell, “Beaver Dam this is good.” He really enjoys swear words for some reason and has found a way to sorta get away with them sometimes by making me laugh.

Of course, this drew the attention of the manager, who came over and refilled our waters. I’ve known this family who runs Kim Long for years and they recognize my family and know us by name.

“Is everything good?” he asked.

“I answered back and told him that they have the best Pad Thai tied with Thai Lotus on Hwy 49 in the area, but their Pho was the best by far”.

I went on to explain that I tried to make my own Pho and fell very short of their caliber. He explained that they use a special 48-hour process with certain beef bones and boil all the marrow out of the bone and that’s how the base for the broth starts.

Of course, there is no way I am ever going to get it right, so I will be required to make special trips back here.

Other menu items that are a must for me and my family are the Chicken Satay, which is chicken marinated in coconut milk, herbs and spices grilled and served with peanut sauce. It is delicious.

If you are in a very experimental mood like me, go there and try the Goat Hotpot or the Goat Noodle Soup. They make a new batch every few days and it sells out constantly.