When we talk about the 13th, we are using the shorthand for the Chinatown of Paris (which itself is a bit of a misnomer because almost every Asian ethnicity is represented here).  Specifically, we are referring to the abundance of food choices in this arrondissement, most of which could be had for a real bargain when compared with the prices in the central part of town.  More than just cost, however, one can find here the authenticity that is often lacking elsewhere.  While some people may not think of eating anything but “French” food when they visit, by doing so, they would be mistaken and selling themselves short of the multicultural experience that is this modern-day capital.

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Three Baguettes
Tan Lido
86, avenue d’Ivry
Closed Mondays
M° Tolbiac

Euro - 8 or less
One memory of a meal here goes something like this:  We had just come back to Paris from Tallinn and were in a cab into town from CDG.  Because we had left that old Baltic port in the wee hours of the morning with nary a bite to eat, our desire to get back to the hotel seemed insignificant in comparison to the growing discontent of our stomachs.  Before our driver could make the final turn into the street leading to our Right Bank hotel, Riot leaned forward and asked the Vietnamese driver (a nice coincidence) if he could take us to a good Vietnamese restaurant in the 13th, on the other side of the river and town, instead.  The driver was clearly surprised but he complied, surely loving his enlarged fare.  He delivered us here on avenue d’Ivry.  We were the only customers with luggage in tow; we had a very pleasing meal.
  Is there any other way to start?:  Crispy nems straight from the deep-fryer and an abundance of herbs.

Another memory:  We had recently come back from the German trip with Nez’s dad, her sister, and sister’s family (see the account of that trip here).  After many days of hit and miss German cuisine, we craved nothing more than something as far from it as possible.  Once more, we found our way back to Tan Lido.  It was a beautiful summer day so we parked our hungry selves at one of the outside tables.  We started with a plate of nems, its scarred, crispy exterior crunched delightfully in our mouths as our teeth dug deep into the steamy meat-filled interior.  These were good nems and in light of our recent trip, they were even better nems.  Nez followed with a sure bowl of pho tai (6€), which did its job while clearly was not in the same league as our standard bowl of pho across the street at Pho Mui.  Riot, still very hungry, ordered a huge plate of com suong nuong (8€), which resembled the portion size of something served Stateside.  Between the tasty and juicy grilled pork, the accompaniment of pickled carrots and daikon, and the large serving of rice, Riot achieved exactly what he came here to do:  gorge on non-Western food.  It was a very solid meal and we both left happy, except the fact that Riot had regressed a bit back to the bad over-eating habits of home across the ocean.
  When that American urge to pig out returns:  Riot eyed the picture of the grilled pork over rice (8€) in the menu and the old memories came rushing back.  (Thank goodness for all the walking.)

  Sticking with something more manageable:  Nez got a small bowl of pho (6€) with just the rare slices and even then she could not finish.
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