Banh Cuon Tay Ho--Vietnamese chain
- Carb Lover Mar 13, 2006 11:53 PM
Looking for info on a different restaurant w/ a similar name, I stumbled upon the website for this small Viet chain called Banh Cuon Tay Ho. Their signature dish is pictured below, as well as a link to their locations. Eight locations are in CA w/ one outlier in OK. I believe the original is in Westminster, CA. Menu is also on their website.
Since I live closest to their San Jose branch, I'm most interested to hear if anyone has eaten there. However, I'm curious to hear about general experiences and impressions of this place at any location...this place is a complete mystery to me. Any info appreciated!
re: Carb Lover
I moved here from the Little Saigon. I went to the Banh Cuon Tay Ho on Bolsa all the times. Never had a chance to visit this one in Oakland, but heard so many good dishes serves in this restaurant. Finally, my friends and I went there for lunch. Parking is difficult here compare to South. Luckily they validated 1 hour from the China Town Parking Lot. It is a walking distance, but worth it. It considers large and roomy compare to the one on Bolsa, that only have five tables there. I know this place is well known for banh cuon, but wanted to try sometimes different. Most of the dishes serve large and small and only 50 cent different. I tried the Com Tam Suon Nuong add Ga Nuong. It turn out pretty good, not alot of places made their meat juicy and favorable. My friend had the Bun Rieu add OC. Oh boy, it tastes so good, can't find everywhere taste like this in Oakland. My other friend ordered the Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuong. They separated the veggie on a small plate. I think it is a good idea, because some people don't eat veggie. We also got this Bot Chein(rice cake pan-fried with eggs and dipped it with the special sauce), it taste exactly what I remember from Vietnam. I couldn't find it down South which taste like this either. I will go back again soon to try some others, I am sure it will surprise me again.
re: Ruth Lafler
After all that typing about banh cuon and banh uot, I had to go eat some, so I went here for lunch today. It was suprisingly good, considering it's a chain. I confirmed they make/steam the banh cuon wrappers in-house that morning.
I ordered a #7, the banh cuon rolls, topped with vietnamese "bologna" and a shrimp fritter, $4.95. I also asked if I could have a small portion of the banh uot thanh tri, and they gave me a small plate (without toppings) for $2.
The banh cuon is pleasantly soft and chewy, and you can easily cut it by criss-crossing your chopsticks so it's not overly chewy. It tasted freshly steamed, but might've been reheated since the rolls arrived warmish hot. The male server saw me writing notes when he placed my plate down so he admonished me to eat right away while it's still hot.
The filling to wrapper ratio is good (ie not paltrey). The banh cuon are piled over a big mound of blanched crisp-tender sprouts and under a generous amount of house-fried, still crispy shallots. YUM! I would've liked more herbs (but I say that everywhere); atleast basil is included (besides cilantro), which isn't traditional but I like it. The pork bologna was nicely not porky smelling. The fritter had a nice twist in that it was made of sliced sweet potato, and not doughy.
I really liked the banh uot thang tri (plain sheets). It reminded me of when I was small, I liked these better than the filled rolls. I can't tell if here, these are basically the banh cuon wrapper, just piled rather than filled. They were translucent, and had the same textures. Don't know why they're called banh UOT thanh tri on the menu, but what I ate, my family calls banh CUON thanh tri. Plus the server calls them banh chanh (WHITE banh), to confuse things even more.
Both the banh cuon and banh uot are only very slightly oily (like they placed the wrapper on an oiled plate before wrapping the rolls or piling the banh uot).
The nuoc cham sauce is available from a pitcher on the table. I could see the lime pulpy bits floating at the top, but the sauce didn't have enough lime sourness. It was sweet but not overly so, and had a good garlic flavor.
I would put these way above the banh cuon at Tay Ho, above Dac Phuc, and slightly under Quang Da. Or maybe better than Quang Da since I like that the sprouts are blanched here and you get a LOT of fried shallots. But I like the uniqueness of ruoc (shredded pork "lint") as a topping at Quang Da.
Sorry I didn't have my camera with me today, but my plate was pretty much exactly like the photos on their menu/website.
I've been to both the #4 branch in Westminster as well as the San Jose branch. The #4 branch (which I tried first) was MUCH better, though it's rather dirty and crowded. There was a write-up in Gourmet Magazine on the #4 branch which I saw on the wall there, which surprised me. But the food in Westminster was very light and tasty, whereas in San Jose the combo plates had fewer items in the combos, and the items themselves were heavier and greasier.
I think I'll check out the San Jose Senter Road location for lunch this week. I've been meaning to try it for a couple years now, I just never got enough push to actually do so. So stay tuned.
I have been going to the one in Okla. City for about two to three years. I have ordered several items, but mainly the banh cuon (rice sheet wrap) that is in your photo. They recently added the "ham and yam" toppings--the first time I was served it was this year, and I think it is a nice addition.
The rice sheet wraps are the best dish I have found at the restaurants. For other items I have found better examples in other restaurants in OKC's "Little Saigon" district. The rice sheet wraps are great though, particularly with the yams that I think add a nice flavor to the dish.
The hot tea made with loose leaves is excellent, and used to be on the house but on my last visit they charged for it. I don't know if it is just in Okla. City or at all the locations, but some changes have been made within the past year--not all good, but I do like the yams that have been added to the rice sheet wraps.
Overall this is probably the best Vietnamese restaurant in OKC.