“If I get fat, I’m going to blame it on you!” Laughed Sen. Mee Moua to the owners of Rice Palace Asian Buffet while balancing a plate full of sweet pork, spring rolls and grilled shrimp. “No, I’m not kidding, this place is good!”
During their “Grand Opening”, notables such as St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, City Councilmember Dan Bostrom and Sen. Moua helped to christen the new restaurant by cutting the ribbon and then getting plates of their favorite Hmong dishes.
“When my Irish ancestors came to St. Paul, we were known for opening bars,” Mayor Coleman quipped. “The Hmong are now known for opening delicious restaurants!”
In a town known as the “Capital of the Hmong World”, there seemed to be an emptiness when it came to Hmong culinary desires. Perhaps nobody could get the ingredients right. Perhaps there wasn’t enough authentic Hmong foods to fill a menu. And perhaps nobody was brave enough to try a Hmong buffet.
All these questions were answered when Chue Dang and his wife Gao Jua Vue opened “Rice Palace Asian Buffet” on the East Side of St. Paul.
Ever since the doors have been open, the restaurant has been jam packed with eager eaters getting their all-you-can eat fill of such Hmong delicacies as sweet pork, beef salad and freshly made spring rolls.
Of course, there are a great variety of other Asian favorites that the Vues have incorporated into their buffet, including cuisine from Thailand, Laos, China, Vietnam, Korea and Japan.
Most notably, Rice Palace is the first restaurant in the Twin Cities to offer “all-you -can slurp” pho and kao-poon (curry noodle). At first, it would seem like a hard concept to pull off, considering both dishes need ‘just the right’ ingredients to make a successful broth. However, after years of experimenting at their original Rice Palace in Milwaukee, the Vues are able to provide delicious versions of these favorites.
Better yet, one can personalize each bowl of pho or kao-poon by adding ingredients from the well stocked condiment bar.
The food bonanza doesn’t end at the buffet. A chef will gladly throw a fresh slab of beef, tilapia or shrimp shish kabob onto the grilling island where you will be entertained by the flames and flavorful aromas sizzling on the grill.
As full as you already are, however, a real Hmong meal isn’t complete until you’ve had an ice-cold cup of nab-vam (tapioca / tri-bean dessert drink) and a side of papaya salad.
With your stomach filled to capacity and your Hmong palates satisfied beyond imagination, there’s only one more thing to do: Get back to the line and do it all over again!