Along John R road in Madison Heights, near 13 mile, you might think that you've found Metro Detroit's Little Vietnam. Several Vietnamese restaurants, plus Saigon Market, a Vietnamese grocery, are tucked into the strip malls that line the road. (There's also a Filipino take-out place, as well as a Chinese bakery and a Chinese take-out BBQ place. It's a great neighborhood for Asian food generally.)
Que Huong is a small family run "hole in the wall" featuring great Vietnamese food at really low prices. The bulletin board just inside the door is covered in announcements written in Vietnamese, surely a good sign. The dinning room is clean and spare, and a TV plays a Vietnamese travel program in the background. For a shocking $2.50 you can get a delicious banh mi tay ("French bread") sandwich with Vietnamese prepared meats stuffed in a French-style baguette with julienned vegetables: a relic of colonialism. Fusion food, but good fusion food. One of these sandwiches is enough for me for lunch. Big appetites might want to order two, or get cold rolls to go along with it (the fried spring rolls were okay, but the cold rolls with shrimp and pork were better).
Or... if sandwiches aren't your thing, for just a bit more you can enjoy a large bowl of rice noodles with that same tasty grilled pork topped with chopped peanuts. Mmmmm... Note that in both cases, they're using barbecued pork, which is unusual for Vietnamese restaurants in our limited experience, but tasty.
We spent the weekend in Troy, so Que Huong was only a few short miles away. Between us both, we visited five times, trying a good range of the menu. I bought take-out pho. Delicious! And they put it in a wide styrofoam container that works reasonably well as a soup bowl if you are without one. (I tore off small bunches of noodles and dropped them in the broth, adding more when there was room.) They give a generous bunch of basil, even in the winter when basil is so much harder to find around here!
Joe gave their bun bo hue a try: rice vermicelli soup with beef, Hue-style. (Picture in the extended post.) It has a different flavor from pho; sweeter and spicy, even before adding hot sauce or hoisin.
Bun ho hue above, and take out pho below...
They also have a wide range of Vietnamese desserts — various fruits and gelatin in cream, flan, etc. If you don't know what things are called, you can point at them in the coolers up front. The clientele was mostly Vietnamese, but they're happy to help non-Vietnamese folks with the menu and you'll feel welcome.
Que Huong Restaurant
30820 John R Rd
Madison Heights, MI 4807
(same small strip mall as Lover's Lane — seriously, this is the easiest landmark to look for.)