April 4, 2008
Cuisine: Vietnamese, Vegetarian
54 Truong Quyen Street
District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Pho Chay (15,000 VND)
Com Tam Bi Cha Thit Nuong Chay (front – 20,000 VND)
Com Tam Bi Cha Thit Nuong Chay (back)
Bi Cuon Chay (3,000 VND per roll)
If you’ve ever thought to yourself:
“Man, I love com tam bi cha thit nuong, but I feel so guilt-ridden eating three types of pork in one sitting. I sure wish there was a vegetarian version…”
Head to Phở Chay Như immediately.
gas•tron•o•my reader Michael recommended this eatery to me months ago and I finally got around to trying it recently. Thanks, Mike!
The Astronomer and I started with the restaurant’s signature dish, pho chay (vegetarian pho). Up until this point, we’ve been quite disappointed with the vegetarian interpretations of our favorite broth and noodle dishes because they’re usually a little watery and worlds away from the real deal.
What sets the pho chay here apart from other versions is its spot-on broth. The essence of star anise and charred onions thoroughly permeates the soup, bringing about a very accurate and familiar pho flavor.
Although we came for the pho, we left enamored by the com tam bi cha thit nuong. All I can say is, I can’t believe it’s not butter!
Every element of this dish looked so real, crazy real. Taste-wise, the saucy slab of barbecued pork was the least believable. However, the bi, cha, and nuoc mam could have fooled me.
Lastly, we each had one bi cuon, which are spring rolls made with bi. Another excellent use of mock meat. Bravo.