Eating delicious cuisine at Ha Long Bay

Photo of noodle dish at Ha Long Bay.

Sherra Owino

Photo of noodle dish at Ha Long Bay.

Sherra Owino, Assistant Editor

Willy Street is a popular spot in Madison for lots of cultural options with shops, food and, of course, the Willy Street Co-Op. Local and international delights alike can be found the length of the street with one such restaurant being Ha Long Bay.  

A few Asian countries are represented including Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Fun fact! The history behind the name means “Bay of the Descending Dragon” with a Vietnamese legend of a dragon coming to earth to help humans against invaders. 

Set on a corner, this meek, stone structure doesn’t immediately draw attention. As you first enter the doors, you’re met with simple yet pleasing aesthetics with artistry and bright color schemes, common with Thai restaurants. A gold ship watches over the dining area, perched on the top of a wall like riding a giant wave under the high ceilings.  

My favorite piece of art was a painting of the backs of five women in a row, their beautiful long black hair falling down their backs with traditional hats on top. All were wearing white with the one in the middle, the only lady in red, making the picture pop. 

The dining area isn’t huge and only moderate sized. Because of the smaller space, there’s the potential for a louder dining experience if all the tables are occupied but, when I was there, only a couple tables were taken so the sound wasn’t too bad. For those looking for lots of distance from others, that would prove a challenge since there’s not a lot of square footage. 

Food wise, the culinary experience is wonderful! I’ve tried a couple different noodle dishes with Thai orientation that had a perfect blend of flavors and spice. You can choose your meat and the spice level that meets your fancy. The Vietnamese fresh spring rolls with shrimp appetizer are some of the best spring rolls I think I’ve had! And I’m not even a big shrimp fan! 

The wait staff were kind and obliging and the overall space was clean. The bathroom was simple and certainly nothing overwhelmingly fantastic that you might find in an immaculate big city restaurant but did the job. 

There were plenty of “ooo’s” and “mmm’s” from our whole table as we relished each amazing bite! 

All in all, I’d rate this gem on Willy as a 4.5 out of 5 stars!