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Apr 12, 2007 01:08 PM

Vietnamese dishes??

I am tempted to get Vietnamese food for the first from Pho Thanh Hoai II,(off Rt 9 between Sayerville and South Amboy), but have no idea what to order? I am not of asian decent but am open and willing to try anything so any reccomendations would be very helpful.

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      1. re: FoodDude2

        don't forget to get the soda chanh to drink. and stir the sugar until its all dissolved. you won't be dissapointed.

        1. re: FoodDude2

          I've been to Pho Thanh Hoa and I love them. The restaurant before them was boring because they didn't have all the varieties like this current restaurant does.
          My family and I usually order pho on a cold day. Any pho is usually good.
          We also order the banh cuon (I think, don't quote me on that). It's meat wrapped in soft rice sheets with shallots and some mystery pork (bologna). My daughter loves the pork. Frankly, I think it's bland.
          If you get a chance, you should get banh mi (even order it to go). It's vietnamese sandwich with all types of Vietnamese meats in there. I've never had it in there.
          If you do a search, there are alot of chowhounds searching for banh mi in Manhattan.
          Their fish in claypot is good. I usually order anything with lemongrass in it. I love lemongrass!
          Also, for a drink you should order the Vietnamese ice coffee. It's espresso with condensed milk.
          Another item that was good was stewed beef with curry sauce. They give you baguette to eat with that too.
          Enjoy that place! It's great!

          1. re: wench31

            Are you dipping the banh cuon in the nuoc cham? (fish sauce)
            that could be the reason why its bland.

            1. re: ceejoi

              Just the bologna part. My daughter eats that plain because it reminds her of bologna. The banh cuon (rice crepe) is tasty by itself. The restaurants here in NJ likes to serve it with Vietnamese bologna on the side. It looks kind of beigish. That's bland.
              I think they also put that on the banh mi as well. That's good because all the spices are added on top of it. MMM!!!!! I'm craving for a banh mi now.

              Ceejoi, one question. A couple of years ago, we went to Montreal to a Vietnamese restaurant with my cousins. One of them ordered this spicy beef stew soup. We can't seem to find it here. Do you know the name of it?
              That was really good! All this talk. I think I'm going for Vietnamese tomorrow.

              1. re: wench31

                can you describe what was in it? noodles? veggies?

                1. re: ceejoi

                  I spoke with my cousin and she said that it was some kind of round noodles (Rice stick) with beef brisket and a piece of pork hock on it with onions in the spicy soup. She didn't know the correct spelling. Bun bo hui (?). It's hard to find it out here in NJ! My hubby loved it and has been looking for it ever since. Would you happen to have the recipe? :)

                  1. re: wench31

                    Yes it sounds like Bun Bo Hue. I'll ask my aunt for the recipe and get back to you. (she's from Hue)

                2. re: wench31

                  Sounds like Bun Bo Hue to me. The traditional soup of the City of Hue is central Vietnam.

                  1. re: grubber4

                    I haven't tried it yet but Pho Thanh Hoai II has Bun Bo Hue on the menu. It is described as Hue's style beef with noodle soup on vermicelli rice noodles. I'm planning on going this friday with the family, so will lety everyone know how it is and what we ordered. Shall be interesting and hopefully delicious.

        2. FoodDude2, Did you ever make to Pho Thanh Hoai? I was just curious to find out what you had ordered and how it turned out.

          3 Replies
          1. re: wench31

            So we went to Pho Thanh Hoai last night and it was great!!! First, a side note. I have never eaten Vietnamese food before and had no idea what to order besides what I have gleamed off these boards for general ideas and recommendations.

            Walked in around 8:30 and it was still fairly busy but we sat down right away. On the table were the customary sauces-- Hoison, Chili sauce, Siriachi, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Also, numerous sets of reusable chopsticks and complimentary tea. We start looking over the menu and after maybe 10 minutes of discussion order our meal. Our waiter was extremely friendly and if we needed, spoke english well enough to assist us for sure. I can't express just how friendly they were and how welcomed we felt which is not always the case when you are one of the few white people in a restaurant (but usually a sign of the great meal to come : ) . An example was after we ordered the food, my brother says that he is going to ask for a fork when the waiter came back and before he even had the chance the waiter had already brought over 3 sets of utensils for us and said, "just in case you don't want to use chopsticks", which was both very nice and thoughtful. Just a way to make you feel welcomed and it was appreciated.

            Something that we had not expected was that everything we ordered came out at once unlike a meal at a Japanese or Chinese restaurant where it comes in order of the courses. Certainly not a big deal but just a little heads up for others. Next time, We will order the soup first, eat it and then order everythign else, as by the time we got towards the end of the meal everything had cooled down, but honestly, not a big deal and was still delicious.

            We ordered 2 bowls of Pho-- Xe Lua--6 types of beef--Brisket, Tendon, Navel, eye of round, Frank, and tripe. I have no idea which pieces of meat were the "frank or navel" but everything was delicious. Tripe, I have realized I am not a big fan of but I still managed to eat it. It came in a HUGE bowl and for $6.00 is a meal in itself. The broth was brown, beefy, fragrant, and delicious. Soup spoons (same that are usually served at a Japanese restaurant) were on the table. Everything about the soup was great. They gave us 3 small bowls to split up the 2 huge bowls of soup we ordered. Came with a large side of bean sprouts, lemon slices (my only disappointment was they didn't serve lime wedges or slices of chilies, although I didn't ask if they had them either) and what I believe was a large portion of Thai Basil leaves. Started off eating the soup and then slowly added things to it as I went along. For me, I liked adding a little hoison and chili sauce to the soup along with some lemon juice. I think I am also in the camp that doesn't want the bean sprouts messing with the noodle texture and slurpage. I ate using the 2 handed technique, soupspoon in one hand and chop sticks in another. While I am not very proficient with the chopsticks, I still managed and it was so goood.
            We also ordered the Pho Ga Nuong, which comes with a large piece of grilled chicken on the side. This is a smaller bowl than the Xe Lua but still fairly large and was an example for the theme of the night as every piece of grilled meat was FANTASTIC. I ate some of it in my soup and some of it on the side dipping in the hoison and chili sauce. So good. The broth seemed the same as the other soup but might have been slightly different, Hard to tell.

            We also got the Cha Gio ($4.25 for 4, 7.95 for 8) which are fried Vietnamese spring rolls, which came out first actually, but were AMAZING. Perhaps my favorite part of the meal, might have been because I was so hungry and it was the first thing out. Inside was some sort of pork(most likely) or beef mixture, which was just delicious. Crunchy, tasty, and not too greasy, basically perfect. Came with a side of fish sauce with orange peel in it, which was great as well. Another note, I had never had fish sauce before and did not know what to expect. A very interesting condiment as it goes extremely well as a dipping sauce or topping on food but for an experiment, at the end of the meal I just poured a little on my spoon and took a taste, not a good idea. But when you pair it with food, it is great and I really enjoyed the little extra salty zing it adds to whatever you’re eating.

            We also ordered the Bun Bo 3 Mon, which is grilled beef 3 ways with rice noodles. AMAZING. The 3 different types of grilled beef were fantastic. One looked sort of like roasted pork as it had a nice red color to it--delicious, another was wrapped in seaweed and grilled--delicious, and the third was beef rolled around something soft and off white in color (could have been anything from a vegetable to fat) which was also grilled and delicious. Unlike Chinese cuisine, this dish was not heavily sauced so it still felt light but was great. Not a huge portion of meat (I think there were 8 or 9 pieces) but for $5.95 easily worth the price. Came with some pickled vegetable (not sure what it was) which was also good and some shredded carrots and cucumber all on top of a big portion of rice noodles, which were delicious.

            Our last dish was a total random pick which nobody had recommended but we are big seafood lovers so we ordered a shrimp dish. Tom Xao Xa Ot which is described as Shrimp with lemon grass. I noticed after I came home and looked at the takeout menu that the same dish under chicken is described as Chicken with lemon grass, green peppers, and onions in a Chili sauce which was more accurate of what the dish was than just shrimp with lemon grass. Don't get me wrong though, as it was also DELCIOUS. There were a bunch of shrimp, probably around 15-20 on a nice sized platter with green peppers (bell peppers) and onions in a red chili sauce. It was a little spicy (I love chilies but it was not too hot for sure as my mom even ate it) but extremely tasty. Came with a side of white rice. It was also fairly cheap, $7.75.

            We ate practically everything and could have polished it off completely but wanted to bring home a little something for lunch the next day even though I took a few bites at around midnight, lol. It was split between only 3 people, one of which is my mom, who while was very hungry, is not a huge eater. We ate a TON and were full, but unlike Chinese food, did not have that heavy bloated, I wanna sleep for 5 hours, kind of feeling. We all noted how good we felt as we walked out. As you could tell, everything we ordered was delicious. We were all extremely happy with the meal, the price, and the atmosphere. We are also excited to go back as we have become bored with regular old chinese food and now we have a whole new menu to explore and taste. While you may read this post as an advertisement, everything really was very good.

            Another note, the owner/chef (I believe it was him as it wasn't a waiter) came up to us as the meal came to a close and asked us if this was our first time here and seemed very happy that we had come and had a huge smile on his face. He didn't speak great English but we told him that it was and how delicious everything was and he was very happy and grateful. Just another touch of welcome ness and good feeling. All in all, a great meal and a great time. Will definitely be going back ASAP and certainly recommend it to any who might be interested.

            A question for those who might know---Bun Bo Hue---is that literally another bowl of soup or is it like a stew on top of the noodles? We were going to order it but since we already had 2 bowls of soup coming, decided to go in another direction.

            Also, I don't believe they serve the Bahn Mi sandwiches. They have 2 appetizers Bahn Mi Bo Kho and Bahn Mi Ca Ri Ga. I think they are more stew type dishes served with a side of bread rather than the sandwiches.

            Also, the table next to us got this GIGANTIC bowl of soup, that after looking through the takeout menu, realized must be Cahn Chua Ca/Ga/Tom-- Hot and Sour vegetable soup with Salmon/Chicken/Shrimp etc. They must have ordered the large, as it was probably twice as big as our big bowl of Pho which was huge in its own right. I think we might try that next time.

            1. re: FoodDude2

              I'm so glad to hear you had a great experience and a great meal. I'm having vietnamese today just from reading this.

              Like Pho, Bun Bo Hue is another type of soup. It has round rice noodles instead of the flat ones and the broth is more earthy. The Banh Mi Bo Kho is just a vietnamese stew that you dip a baguette into to soak up the broth and the Banh Mi Ca Ri Ga is a chicken curry with a baguette for dipping as well. Those are both worht is the Canh Chua. I suggest you order the Canh Chua Tom..(with shrimp). That's my preference for that soup.
              and you didn't mention any drinks? Did you get to try the Soda Chanh?

              1. re: ceejoi

                No we didn't have any speciality drinks. I just forgot about them and the waiter didn't ask about it either. I will be sure to try something next time for sure.

                Would you say the Canh Chua Tom is fishy tasting?? I was leaning towards the chicken because sometimes soup with shrimp in it can be a bit fishy.

                Also, have you ever had the Tom Ram Muoi or Tom Ram Man Ot Xanh?? What are they like and what exactly is "salty shrimp"

          2. So has anyone ever tried Vietnamese hoagies ?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Ve_ex

              Do you mean Banh mi? Pho Thanh Hoa in Sayreville has it. I also know of a couple of places in Edison. There's a Vietnamese place on Rte 27 and on Rte 1 that has it. I forgot the names of the restaurants.
              There's a few threads on search for Banh mi in NY. Somebody is also trying to start a thread looking for banh mi in NJ as well.


              1. re: Ve_ex

                I found a name for the one on Rte 27. It's called Bien Hoa 2090 Rte 27 in Edison.