While Kingsland Road's Vietnamese canteens are packing them in, this family-run restaurant a mile or so east is very much the smart diner's choice. Green Papaya hasn't changed much since opening in 2000, and the interior wouldn't win any design awards, but the combination of cracking food and gratifyingly low prices continues to attract in-the-know locals, enthusiastic visitors and patrons from the revamped Hackney Empire up the road. While bowls of steaming pho have become synonymous with the country's cuisine, the iconic noodle soup is merely a bit player here, with stir-fries and slow-braised dishes taking centre stage. Summer rolls, banh-xeo pancakes and spicy salads are exemplary, but also check out ‘new dishes' such as smoked tofu with asparagus or stewed beef shin with carrot and rice wine. To drink, order an ice-cold Vietnamese beer.
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