Apr 2008

Phở Chay Như – Ho Chi Minh City


April 4, 2008
Cuisine: Vietnamese, Vegetarian

54 Truong Quyen Street
District 3, Ho Chi Minh City

Phone: 8242816
Website: none


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.

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13 thoughts on “Phở Chay Như – Ho Chi Minh City

  1. They do look very tasty and so meat-like. I have tried vegetarian dishes before but not pho chay, will put it on the to-eat-list.

  2. pho chay sounds interesting … I’ve never had it before. I had com tam bi cha, bi cuon chay and a few other vegie dishes in the u.s. and I loved them. I’m a fan of these vegie interpretations of the popular dishes. They’re as tastie as the real things and leave you guilty free and no heartburn! good finding!

  3. My favorite dish as a kid was “bot chien” can you investigate the best place to eat this dish in saigon? you should try “bot chien” yourself. It’s very refreshing from all the usual stuffs you eat everyday!

  4. Wow…been a fan of the blog for a while. Love the new digs!

    The fake beef in the pho looks incredibly…beefy! And the com tam bi cha thit nuong doesn’t look like a veggie version at all. I’m so amazed and jealous. And drooling.

  5. htran – I think you will definitely find pho chay palatable. It will provide a good break from eating lots of meat.

    Tia – My only guess is soy. With the exception of Tempeh, I think that all mock meats are made from some sort of soy formation. Incredible stuff!

    Hien – I totally love vegetarian alternatives because they’re so gosh darn healthy ;-). And I’ve tried bot chien and definitely liked it, but I wouldn’t call it refreshing. My version was tastily oily.

    Manda – Thanks! And beefy indeed. The broth even glistened with what looked like animal fat.

  6. hey, just want to recommend to everyone in here the famous “mi thay” (tossing noodle) from Vung Tau. It’s one of the memorable eating experience I had in VN. Just make a trip to Vung Tau and ask the locals. Also “Ga’nh Ha`o” Restaurant was one of my favorite in Vung Tau too.

  7. i been to pho chay nhu last month , the best veggie food i ever had in my life, highly recomned to all veggie eaters.

  8. I go back to Vietnam and go to phochayNhu in the Truongquyen street.It’s have delicious Pho!

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