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Vietnamese – Mai Lee

Unless you live under a rock, you know that Mai Lee’s Qui Tran is getting ready to open up a ramen shop this year. If you’ve never been to Mai Lee, you might laugh at the level of Qui mania that’s hit the city. If you’re a regular, though, you know what all of the hype is about. For more than three decades, Tran and his family have been dazzling diners with their traditional Vietnamese fare at Mai Lee. Tran, who grew up in the restaurant’s kitchen, has picked up all the secrets to his mom’s cooking — her anise-scented pho broth, mouth-watering noodle bowls and a repertoire of pork, beef, chicken, seafood and vegetarian dishes so extensive, it requires an encyclopedic knowledge to master. Mai Lee was the first Vietnamese restaurant in town, but it’s never rested on those laurels. Instead, the place serves consistently great food that leaves you wanting for nothing more — except maybe a second restaurant from the Tran family. Photo by Jennifer Silverberg.