Mild, spicy and not too pricey

Geographically, one might not expect the Burlington cuisine scene to offer a taste of Asian culture.

Yet just a few minutes from campus are restaurants with tasty Vietnamese and Thai flair. Tourists may flock to Church Street, but should venture out just a bit farther and try Burlingtons Pho Hong and Winooskis Tiny Thai for more eastern-inspired flavor.

Tiny Thai, located on Winooskis Main St., provides an assortment of reasonably priced dishes. From their appetizers to their many stir-fry, pad Thai and vegetarian dishes, it is manageable to leave feeling full without spending more than a student budget-friendly $15.

Tiny Thai serves most of the traditional Thai tastes but with their own added twist.

Ranging from mild to very spicy, there are many entre options that are prepared with chicken or pork, occasionally seafood and even Tofu.

The service was pretty good but the Spicy Tofu Pad Thai was unreal. Its not always easy finding good Tofu, first-year Leah Green said. I take my parents there every time they come to visit.

Because Tiny Thai does not have a liquor license, customers are free to bring their own alcohol from home, making a meal all the more cost-friendly.

While the dining room was busy and somewhat noisy due to the loud kitchen nearby, the atmosphere was livelyvery livelyespecially for the afternoon lunch hour.

Ive been going there for a while now with all my high school friends, and now that Im at Vermont I take my college friends there, first-year Emily Charland said. Theres a good chance youll run into someone you know. Its hard to beat.

A few minutes down the road in Burlington, Pho Hong is host to their own distinct Asian cuisine. With a menu influenced by local and international recipes, Pho Hong lies only a few blocks from Pearl Street.

The main theme is traditional Vietnamese with a little Thai flare, Pho Hong manager John Wick said. The owner is an amazing cookall the [Vietnamese] dishes are out of her head. A lot of the meals are from her family, and some are borrowed and tweaked a little from typical Thai dishes.

Aside from the appeal of being BYOB friendly, all the ingredients that go into crafting their Vietnamese-Thai menu are produced in the areaan effort that helps add to the local, family atmosphere of the restaurant.

We get our meat and poultry from Poultry Products Northeast and a lot of other stuff from Shadowcross Farm in Colchester, Wick said. Customers who like it tell their friends, and then their friends tell their other friends.

Aside from the convenience of the low cost, Tiny Thai and Pho Hong offer an uncommon combination of Vietnamese and Thai cuisine while keeping your wallet fat and your stomach full.

Take a short trip down Colchester Ave. or past Pearl Street and cleanse your palate with two of Burlingtons best-known Asian eateries. And if youre of age, just remember to bring your own beer.