Home » Restaurants

Kim Son

Posted by DID 29 Dec 2009 9 Comments


I was kind of shocked to scroll through the list of reviewed places on Carpe Durham and not find Kim Son. I remember venturing into Durham from Chapel Hill to get Pho at this place when I was an undergrad almost 10 years ago. In the years before Lime and Basil, Kim Son was the closest place to UNC to find the addictive soup.

Post our holiday gluttony, my husband and I were looking for something healthy and warm on Monday night. Kim Son is less than two miles from our house and they serve up steamy bowls of 12 different kinds of Pho, all priced at less that nine dollars. It was perfect, well the Pho was perfect.

Kim Son was quiet with only three tables occupied and one woman serving as hostess, waitress and busboy. The service was quick and efficient, but she could offer no advice on ordering and gave us a blank stare when asked about their extensive drink menu.


We ordered the steamed pork dumplings as an appetizer, which were tasty and came in a hearty portion of eight. I ordered the Pho Chin (Pho with beef) and my husband, in an adventurous mood, ordered #41, the Banh Cuon Cha Lua va Banh Cong (fresh thick rice noodles with pork sausage, bean cake, vegetable and fish sauce). The Pho was exactly what I wanted – steaming hot, overflowing with noodles and beef. I piled it high with bean sprouts, basil and jalapenos.


The #41 was disappointing, the “vegetable” turned out to be a handful of bean sprouts, the sausage had a green tint and the noodles were a bit overcooked.


I’m not sure if it was poor ordering on his part or a misstep on theirs, but there was more than enough Pho to share and we both left feeling full and happy.

Kim Son

2424 Guess Road

Durham, NC 27705



  • Beebs said:

    I’m a big fan of Kim Son; that said, I probably only go three-four times a year, and generally for take-out (Pho Ga, the chicken-based noodle soup, which I crave when sick; also the steamed pork dumplings, the best in the area in my opinion)….Every time I’ve been there, few tables have been occupied; not sure why as food is generally excellent. Is this another “location, location” situation? I hope the nearby hotels help flesh out their business…I’d hate to lose them, but I don’t eat out enough to support them fulltime!


  • sarah (ghost world) said:

    AHHH i used to live right there and love kim son! i’m so sad you didn’t like the thick noodle — we used to order the vegetarian version (i think it was #40? or #42?) and loved it. the other favorite was the omelet. my husband always enjoyed the bubble tea, too.

    thanks for the reminder about this place. i’ll be headed back there!


  • Phil said:

    I’m very sad to report that Kim Son fails on far too many quality counts. The spring rolls were droopy, the hu tieu tasted like they didn’t drain the noodles for one second before slopping them into the bowl, and the tofu and fresh tomato shared the same shade of pink (what the heck?).

    It’s back to Saigon Grill for me — every time, until something really big changes at Kim Son and twelve people verify it.


  • Sus said:

    I used to go to Kim Son occasionally when there was no where else to go for Vietnamese. It was never great – the thing that really got to me were the canned mushrooms – but every now and then I needed a bowl of pho. Once we took a large party of people there who were craving Vietnamese and it was pretty disappointing all the way around so we haven’t been back since. I really wanted to like it more than I did. Now that we have Saigon Grill in Durham I’m with Phil on this.


  • Amy said:

    Kim Son was excellent when it first opened, but was sold into new ownership about 5 years (?) ago and has declined since then. Saigon Grill for me too these days.


  • metro305 said:

    It has been about 2 years since I went to Kim Son. The interior seemed old and depressing and the food was not remarkable. I would go back and try it again to see it has changed. For now I will stick with 9N9 in RTP for Pho.


  • van said:

    I have never been there but I am pretty sure the green tint around the sausage is from where it has been wrapped and steamed inside banana leaves.


  • Jesse said:

    This place is closed now. A new Thai restaurant is in its location.


Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.