No. 60: Sesame Balls at Vinh Xuong Bakery 2370 West Alameda Avenue 303-922-0999
The Vinh Xuong Bakery in the Alameda Square shopping center sits in sharp contrast to its parent on Federal Boulevard. While the older store is cluttered and close, the newer version is bright and airy. Comfortable chairs and gleaming green tile invite customers to linger over a cup of Novo coffee and a pastry. Vinh Xuong makes all the baked goods for both locations daily, including crusty baguettes for the banh mi, so you can always stock up on Vietnamese delicacies at the Federal shop. But if you want to hang out and enjoy them in a modern environment without the urban bustle, the Alameda bakery is the place to go. Our favorites are the sesame balls, sweet treats to end a lunchtime sandwich excursion or as a complement to a Saturday morning cappuccino.
See also: 100 Favorite Dishes of 2014
Sesame balls are deep-fried rice-flour spheres coated in sesame seeds and filled with bean paste. While red bean paste is not uncommon, Vinh Xuong's are filled with yellow mung bean paste. The sesame balls puff up when they're fried, resulting in a hollow center. The soft bean paste center rolls around the inside -- a hidden treat beneath the tender and chewy rice-flour skin.
Lightly sweetened sesame seeds provide nutty flavor and a touch of crunchy texture to the golden surface. Despite a bath in hot oil, the pastries aren't greasy or heavy. And at $1.50 each, two sesame balls with a cup of coffee won't set you back much -- and they won't fill you up like sweeter, heavier doughnuts. Of course, Vinh Xuong is known for its Vietnamese sandwiches, so grab a barbecue pork banh mi and save the sesame ball -- or two -- for dessert.
In advance of the Best of Denver 2015, we're already loading our plates with contenders for the best dishes in the city. And over the next nine months, we'll be sharing many of them with you, counting down (in no particular order) one hundred of our favorite dishes before the the Best of Denver 2015 hits the streets on March 26. In the meantime, if there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section below, or shoot us an e-mail at email@example.com.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2014 countdown are linked below.
No. 100: Chile Relleno at La Fiesta No. 99: Gurage Kitfo at Megenagna Ethiopian Restaurant No. 98: Cochinita Pibil at Work & Class No. 97: The Greggers Tongue Sandwich at Olive & Finch No 96: Baum Cakes at Glaze by Sasa No. 95: Goat hot pot from Viet's No 94: Head cheese from Beast + Bottle No. 93: Kettle Chips from Amerigo Delicatus No. 92: Pork Belly Confit at Solera Restaurant and Wine Bar No. 91: Tacos Campechanos from La Calle Taqueria No. 90: Biscuits from Denver Biscuit Co. No. 89: Clams and Chorizo at Gozo No. 88: Aburi Sushi at Sushi Den and Izakaya Den No. 87: Kimchi and Sausage Torta at City, O' City No. 86: Mar y Tierra Molcajete at Paxia No. 85: Crispy Pork Spare Ribs at Table Top No. 84: Chips and Dip at Euclid Hall No. 83: Chile Relleno Burrito at El Taco de Mexico No. 82: Scallop Crudo at Stoic & Genuine No. 81: Ceylon Curry Dosa at Khazana No. 80: The Lambada Torta at La Torteria No. 79: Pork Bulgogi at Dae Gee No. 78: the Pulled Pork Pig Pen Sandwich at Boney's No. 77: IPA Mac & Cheese at Hops & Pie No. 76: Chiles en Nogada at Chili Verde No. 75: Udon Noodle Bowl at Bones No. 74: Cinnamon Rolls at the Duffeyroll Cafe No. 73: Smoked Turkey Croque-Madame at Acorn No. 72: Pickled Lake Michigan Perch at Trillium No. 71: Oysters at Jax Fish House Glendale No. 70: Venezuelan Tostadas at Empanada Express Grill No. 69: Tahini Cauliflower from Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs No. 68: The Ham and Cheese Tartita from Maria Empanada No. 67: Ronnie's Favorite from Rosenberg's Bagels and Deli No. 66: Shoo-fly Pie from the Long i Pie Shop No. 65: Czech Potato Pancakes at Sobo 151 No. 64: Fried Chicken at the Post Brewing Co. No. 63: Braised Brisket Sandwich at Masterpiece Delicatessen No. 62: The Scotch Egg from Argyll Whisky Beer No. 61: Butternut Squash Ravioli at DiFranco's
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