Asian cuisine fit for royalty is served at Golden Palace

• NOVEMBER 21, 2008

Diners craving an array of Asian cuisine can head to the Golden Palace for Chinese and Vietnamese dishes. The family-owned restaurant offers Chinese staple foods alongside Vietnamese Pho noodle soups and Vermicelli dishes.

“Moving to the area from Southern California, we are used to great restaurants, cultural and otherwise,” David Gottschalk, Pace resident said. He and his wife, Helaine, are regulars at the Golden Palace.

“We have found that if you go to a restaurant with two different cuisines, usually one or both are bad,” Helaine said. “Here, both are good. You can eat so healthy, that’s what I like about it.” Manager Khoi Nguyen explains that among of plethora of dishes to choose from, the Pho and Com dishes are customer favorites.

“The Pho beef stock is made through an 8- to 12-hour process,” Nguyen said. “We also do a tofu veggie one for vegetarians.”
The Pho Dac Biet is a noodle soup made with round eye steak, well-done flank, soft tendon, tripe and beef meat balls.

University of West Florida student Virginia Thompson frequents the restaurant.
“I usually get the crispy noodle with beef, chicken and shrimp, or the C-1,” Thompson said. “The flavor of the meat is awesome. It’s a savory, sweet flavor.”
The C-1 — or Com Bi Suon Tom Nuong Trung — is a dish of steamed rice with shredded pork skin, broiled pork chop, broiled shrimp and fried egg.

Another popular dish is the Vermicelli bowl.
“The Vermicelli bowl has white rice noodles with a layer of greens on the bottom, cilantro, bean sprouts, parsley, and we also put whatever topping you like,” Nguyen said. “We can put a crushed peanut topping, or pickled cabbage, or lemongrass. A really popular combination is the chicken and lemongrass, and there is a fish sauce on the side. You drizzle it on the top and mix it in so that you get a little bit of everything.”

The restaurant offers unique drinks such as creamy Boba smoothies made with tapioca, in flavors ranging from strawberry or banana to lychee or avocado.
“I always get the avocado because it’s so good,” Thompson said. “I didn’t know avocados could be sweet.”

For Kesha Tran, a nurse at Sacred Heart hospital, Golden Palace offers a reminder of her Vietnamese home.
“It comes close to Mom’s cooking,” Tran said. “Pho is equivalent to the American chicken noodle soup. I’ve been to a lot of other places but they are just missing an essence.”

Dining at the Golden Palace since its opening more than a year ago, the Gottschalks say that they have yet to be disappointed.
“We come in at least once or twice a week, and they treat us like family,” David said. “We’ve brought 12 different friends here, and they’ve all come back.”